Thanks to the open invitation from the possibly former illegal immigrant Arnold Schwarzenegger, those lovable Minutemen are now trickling into the Golden State to defend our deserts. One of my favorite things about the anti-reconquista brigades, besides a brooding paranoia that recalls the best of mid-'70s cinema, is how they can barely complete a sentence without insisting they're not racist. Here's the first lines from Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado), the Lou Dobbs of the House of Representatives, writing in a special L.A. Times opinion section on immigration:
People who say it's racist to want secure borders are insulting the intelligence of the American people, and such charges betray an empty arsenal of serious arguments.
Of course, his opponents aren't saying it's "racist to want secure borders" (because of course it's not); we're just saying, and probably not often enough, that the secure-borders crowd includes many who are rather peculiarly obsessed with the devilish nature of The Other. Take this e-mail from the Second Amendment SIG, forwarded to me approvingly last night from the California Coalition for Immigration Reform:
You BETTER be involved in this issue – the way Bush is letting in ARMED ILLEGALS the need for all of us to be ARMED and to known how to use those arms is of the utmost importance. We have those Latino GANGS EVERYWHERE. They love to take over small towns (Decatur, AL is FILLED with them) near major highways as refueling stops for the HOARDS of other ILLEGALS who are freely entering America with thanks to the BUSHITES (McCain – Frist- Cheney).
How will you protect your family when these GANGS decide they want to move into your house after they have taken control of your town.They can do this because the police are either too fearful to take them on or the PAYOFF for not enforcing the law is better pay than that paycheck from tax funds. It all boils down to MONEY &CONTROL. If your police force isn't grabbing these criminals then you better ask WHY THEY AREN'T.
The best thing is to have your own protection – your own *Social Security* – and know how to hit what you aim at. If your aim isn't that good – get a good scatter gun – hard to miss with one of those.
The CCIR website includes such sober public-policy observations as Meet the Mechista Weasel who Wants to Be L.A's Next Mayorista. At AmericanPatrol.com, we are urged to "Help keep this Mexican nationalist out of the L.A. mayor's office," a reference to Antonio Villaraigosa, who was born in the United States and doesn't even speak very good Spanish. Over at anti-Villaraigosa HQ, we are told that re-electing Mayor Jim Hahn will "stop the takeover of L.A. by Mexico City."
And this ain't cherry-picking — that is the widespread sentiment, and the emotional fuel, within the anti-illegal-immigration movement. Tancredo and his rag-tag army want us to admit that securing the borders isn't racist, and that immigration is a difficult and pressing public policy issue. He'll get no argument from me on either point. But to pretend that race-based hysteria is not a factor in this movement, and to ignore that such hysteria has led to shamefully illiberal and overtly racist policies in the past, is to bury one's head deep in the desert sand.