Pat Buchanan really pisses me off.
Not because of his frankly 1950s outlook or his frequent backslides into outrageous bigotry — but because there are times, not many but a few, when he’s able to make a lucid, valid and relevant point, and I find myself, against all my best judgment, agreeing with him.
He rails pretty regularly against Bush and the Iraq invasion, and comes up with little gems such as this:
Iraq today appears as an exposed salient, a bridge too far, a war against a dispossessed Sunni minority, that we can neither win nor walk away from without its becoming the haven for terrorists it never was before we invaded. Half our army is now either in Iraq, has been through Iraq or is on the way. U.S. Reserve and Guard units, which have provided 40 percent of the troops for the war, are no longer meeting recruitment goals.
This is a very nice piece of articlate, clear polemic, and it makes me feel respectful. But then he comes up with stuff like this, and it makes my skin crawl:
“The Mexican government is consciously pushing the[ir] people into the United States to get rid of their poor and unemployed and have the Americans take care of them and the Americans employ them.” As Media Matters for America recently noted, Buchanan has said he “think[s] that the Mexican government has a direct program basically to push its poor, unemployed, and uneducated into the United States for a variety of purposes,” adding that the “reconquista,” a term associated with the movement to recapture the southwestern United States for Mexico, “is well underway.”
This was transcripted (and amplified) from a recent Buchanan appearance on Neil Cavuto’s bully pulpit by Media Matters, a non-Fox friendly website, but I saw Patty Boy make almost precisely the same comments on Joe Scarborough last night. To his credit, Scarborough questioned a lot of Buchanan’s assertions. The video’s worth watching (“Immigration: A State of Emergency?”), though it’s not work safe.
“Not work safe” in the sense that it might make you shout things you shouldn’t say in a public place. Things about Buchanan’s parentage, and actions he might or might not perform with pastoral ungulates.
On Scarborough Buchanan actually made the claim that the Mexican government was aware of and complicit in illegal border crossings. Further claims were made that there is a theme park where visitors can pretend to cross a border wall illegally, complete with simulated gunfire and masked men representing “la Migra”.
Buchanan is of the opinion that illegal immigration is almost more important to most Americans than Iraq, which may be true — and if it is, it’s a shameful misapplication of focus. Buchanan alleges that by 2050 there will be “100 million” Mexican immigrants in the US, most of them centered in the southwestern US, and seems to think Americans should somehow find this alarming.
In order to make it alarming he brings up anecdotal claims of “machete murders” or the stat — substantiated in no clear way — that “1 in 12″ illegal immigrants has a criminal record, presumably in Mexico. (The stats for extremely poor people in the US are actually much worse, yet no one seems to be declaring a war on poverty.)
But Buchanan started his piece with Scarborough by claiming the US is an empire in decline, just as Rome once was. And, damn it, I ended up agreeing with that statement — but not the reasoning. According to Pat, the reason Rome fell was undefended borders.
Wrong, dead wrong.
Rome’s downfall was actually brought about by infiltration of the Roman government by Christians, who pretended to be non-Christian long enough to gain power, then gutted the empire from within. That’s what killed Rome. And that’s what will kill the US, if the right-wing loonies have their way.
I don’t want an imperial America (though we seem to be stuck with it for now); but I also wouldn’t like to see the US collapse into degradation and chaos as Rome did. What Buchanan fails to understand is that it’s the very capacity the US has to absorb immigrants and synthesize their cultures into a great and cohesive whole that is its strength. The real danger lies in listening to those who yearn for a past that simply never existed, the past fictionally depicted in all-white and accent-free TV series such as Leave it to Beaver and Dick van Dyke. (I Love Lucy is an exception since it featured an immigrant — though, strictly speaking, you could call Arnaz a Cuban exile, and as we learned with Elian Gonzalez, there’s nothing the US loves more than a photogenic Cuban exile.)
In closing, Buchanan also made the claim that the US was built up “without immigrant labor” — which should show precisely how out of touch he actually is with the realities of history. In 1620, for instance, the nascent US was being established by nothing but immigrants.
I’m not saying let’s open the borders to everyone, but I am suggesting this teapot tempest is getting a little out of hand. Settle down, Pat. There are still plenty of all-white gated communities for you and yours to withdraw into, and I’m sure your pool boy and housekeeping staff will all have green cards.
No related posts.
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.