Saturday, April 08, 2006

BACK AGAIN -- Family health crisis averted for the moment.

Nearly recovered from Total Exhaustion arising from Massive Lecture Prep on modern church architecture. (Weird, weirder, weirdissimi)


For the first time I listened in to an mp3 interview with my personal Household God of Journalism, global commentator, Mark Steyn conducted by Hugh Hewitt on his radio show. (I have only read transcripts previously.)

I associate Steyn with (1) his Montreal childhood, where (like my own spousal unit) he grew up an Anglophone in a largely Francophone society; (2) his long-time residence in rural New Hampshire, a landscape with which I became familiar over the four years that I had a kid in college there (who returned there to marry last December); and (3) his regular foothold in England, where he churned out regular columns for several publications (until recently, when two of them dropped him, probably out of genuine Islamofascisticophobia).

Now I have finally heard the Voice coming down from the Mountain, and he’s, like, a limey! I have always imagined his words issuing from a fairly ordinary Canajun hoser-hole, all “How’s aboat a donut, eh?” and “Go Habs, eh?”

Where in his bio is the part where he picks up this estuary twang? I must probe this question—it changes everything.


Both major parties in the United States, as based in Washington D.C., tend to accuse their opposite number of stubbornly marching in lock-step on every issue, to the detriment of the people who sent them to the District to govern. I would maintain that the evidence, objectively sifted, could not do other than demonstrate that this lock-step mentality has overwhelmingly prevailed among the Democrats, and has been regularly absent among Republicans, for whom lock-step unity is something they can only dream of!

The President’s party has shown itself often in disarray and dissension (especially since Tom DeHammer DeLay was sent packing—and good riddance!). On occasion it has also been divided in ways that show independent, principled thinking, such as regards the manifest unfitness of Harriet Miers to waddle her way into the nation’s highest court. (Could there be any more potent evidence than the collapse of the Miers nomination that the religious right lacks anything resembling a stranglehold on Republicans or the conservative movement?)

On immigration, though, both parties are fractured into factions – with real solutions, partial solutions, and variable recipes for pandering to the ’06 electorate. There’s insight, courage, and sincerity to be found here and there, smatterings of genuine concern about real problems among the mushies on both sides, and the usual pockets of moral vacuum, all pretty evenly distributed. There are polls to show that the average American thinks immigration is the Number 1 priority issue for the next election—or the Number 2, or the Number 6, or anything you want.

However, on immigration as a security and law-and-order issue, it is more clear than ever that any suggestion of serious thinkers and commentators on the right being mere shills for the President is absolutely laughable. For some time now many on the left have refused to notice the amount of intelligent criticism to which right-wing bloggers and journalists have subjected the embattled Mr. Bush, but NO ONE could fail to see the irate conservative criticism of his ongoing handling (or non-handling) of the border problem.

Example? Click here and watch Michelle Malkin go absolutely POSTAL about the evidence of immigr
ation corruption, cronyism, and incompetence she has been amassing for a considerable time. I suspect she doesn’t have much in common with CNN’s Lou Dobbs, whose Broken Borders/Exporting America” has become television’s dripping-faucet water-torture on the subject, but I’d bet their respective readings on the Pissed-Off-O-Meter would be very close.

Speaking of pissed off, congratulations to whichever mob of geniuses encouraged their millions of companions to wave those Mexican flags at the pro-undocumented-illegal-immigrant-alien-wetback-whatever rallies held in the past month across the United States. No telling how many nice American folks with fuzzy sympathies for hard-working border-jumpers you have now, as it were, alienated. I believe that may have been what the pundits call a “tipping point.”

The sharpest divisions on this issue for many Americans are internal—we are the descendants of immigrants, and many of us have not forgotten how our families have benefited from
entry into the Promised Land.

My little bio sketch at the right of the this site is the real thing: in addition to the old Greek who spoke so eloquently about the vision of Lady Liberty in New York Harbour and who throughout his life was American first, there were also the Bavarian farmers who settled in Minnesota and looked somewhat askance at the beautiful daughter who married the man from Greece; and on my other side were the Irish teachers and boarding-house keepers whose Celtic blood went undiluted from arrival in the 1840’s until a century later, when the post-war generation began to mix it up with the Croats and Germans and Greeks, made mobile by the upheavals of global war.

My family in Texas is well-disposed towards the Hispanic neighbours who have enriched their cosmopolitan city. (We have one in the family now.) But none of us can forget that we came from people who endured miserable sea-voyages and waited their turn in line; who were palpated and probed and whose eye-lids were lifted with button-hooks to be checked for signs of disease (early-stage trachoma, leading to blindness, reason enough for them to be turned back and sent home again, lest they become handicapped drains on the public purse).

The Irish Catholics entered into an American society where they occupied a lower social status than freed slaves, and who, excluded from participation in many aspects of American life, built a parallel social structure of schools, hospitals, colleges, and brotherhood associations, now long-since assimilated into the mainstream. As their heirs we have this kind of schizoid sense that we owe America everything, but we don’t owe nobody nuttin’.

America—the global terrorist, the greedy exploiter, the oil whore, the tyrannical empire, the materialistic plastic-action-figure of a nation—cannot keep up with the flood of people who want to live and work here, on the run from idealistic populists like Hugo Chavez, spiritual purists like the Saud family, enlightened planners like Hu Jintao and his gang of suits. We children of immigrants can relate to that, having the only “hyphenated” citizenship that means anything: “Mongrel-Americans”, and proud of it. Mutts.

At age 10, my Greek grandfather was shining shoes all day on the streets of St. Louis— for no pay, just tips. At night he and some other kids were taught English by an Irishwoman—no teaching degree, just a skill for sale. America will take much better care of its immigrants today—in return they should be ready to put up with such bureaucratic button-hooks as we think necessary, and take a cue from the old Greek,
After all the 36 days and nights on the ocean... I was very happy to see the Statue of Liberty, the light. That meant that we come to United States. And that was my ambition -- happiness -- to come to America.