Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Immigration Rhetoric

Recently I heard the following on a clip from The John and Ken radio show from LA, broadcast on May 1, 2006 (starts at the 8:45 mark, but the whole ten minutes is very interesting):

Tony Valdez (Fox 11 News reporter): “…There is a group in Los Angeles that’s called Culture Clash, and they do some very interesting things, satirically and with comedy, and one of the things they say is, ‘We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.’ What I would suggest that these gentlemen [John and Ken] and everyone else who is watching do, is look at your own history, 1846, and see how the United States invaded the country of Mexico…”

Whoa. That is some fiery rhetoric you’re spouting there, Mr. Valdez.

Consider what he is saying: “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” Oh, really? So you (or even your family) have been living here in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, or New Mexico since 1846? When the border truly did move? Since I doubt there are any illegal immigrants that fit those criteria, this statement is invalid--both legally and morally.

Tony Valdez: “…Remember the last [indistinguishable] you took this country, you killed people in order to take this country for yourself.” (at the 10:03 mark)

Interesting choice of pronouns: “you” and “yourself”. Is Mr. Valdez 100% pure indigenous American Indian? If not, his ancestors, at some time, be they Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, British, etc, did the exact same thing--killing people to take the country for themselves. Is his argument based on how long ago it happened? So anything that happened 160 years ago is fair game, but anything that happened 300 years ago isn’t? That’s pretty darn arbitrary, and pretty darn indefensible.

We have to do something about our immigration problem here in the US. Reasoned debate is useful and has helped inform me of different points of view. Impassioned, illogical, inflammatory rhetoric like Mr. Valdez’s does nothing to further the debate. In fact, it alienates those he is trying to convince.

(Hat tip to Ryan at Blogger of Jared for pointing me to the audio clip--he discusses another part of the same reporter's rhetoric here.)


Reach Upward said...

History is history. We have to deal with today. We have a sovereign nation with borders and laws. Everyone has to deal with that fact. There never was any real sovereign nation around here prior to the culmination of the current situation, despite claims to the contrary. Any outposts of other nations that once existed are now part of the U.S. Deal with it.

I always get somewhat purturbed when reading Mosiah 10:10-18 where King Zeniff is recapping all of the Lamanite gripes with the Nephites, most of which are based in events that happened 500 years earlier. I feel like saying, "Get over it! That was then. Deal with the current situation." I feel like saying the same thing to people today.

Anonymous said...

1. The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo allowed all Mexican nationals living in the ceded territories to remain there, and let them keep their land. So almost none of the people now crossing the border are "returning" to "their land." As the joke goes, they're ticked that we "stole" the best half of their land: the half with all the good roads.

2. Review the history books. How many Mexican settlements were there in Utah when the Mormons arrived here? None that I can recall. The same goes for most of the other states. At the end of 1849, California had a grand total population of about 90,000 people. That's it, though it may not include Indians.

What Mexico had, for the most part, was a CLAIM on the land. Sure they had explored it (Dominguez, Escalante, et al). But they hadn't formed many settlements.

3. So after those rather pertinent facts do you still believe we stole it? Fine, so be it. We stole it fair and square. And we have every right to keep it. Show me a piece of land - one single piece of land in the world - that hasn't been fought over. It's happened everywhere. Period.