uralization process—was ignored resolutelyrnby the candidates and their spokesmen.rnRumor had it that Jack Kemp acceptedrnthe Number Two spot on thernRepublican ticket after exacting arnpromise from Numero Uno that immigrationrnwould not be made a campaignrnissue by the Republicans—somethingrnthat Numero Uno had absolutely no inclinationrnto do anyway, hi the spirit of bipartisanshiprn(easily confused with therncoming one-party system) Clinton andrnthe Democrats played along with the fullrncooperation of the media, which chosernto aid and abet both parties in their conspiracyrnof silence.rnImmediately following the electionrnthe word went out on Washington’srnmean streets that the new Congress,rnconvening in January, would return tornthe problem of immigration. In the interim,rnhowever, consternation within thernRepublican Party was sparked by LorettarnSanchez’s victory over Bob Dornan andrnfanned to a small firestorm by immigrationistsrnLinda Chavez and Paul Cigot,rnwhose joyful warnings that the GOP isrnnow perceived by Asians and Latinos asrnthe anti-immigrant party has made itrnnervous as a racehorse confronted by arnmouse. Senator Jon Kyi of Arizona, a restrictionist,rnwaived his seniority to permitrnSenator Abraham to assume thernchairmanship of the immigration committee,rneven though his own state is sufferingrnan invasion of immigrants fromrnMexico. An immigrant backlash againstrnthe Republicans may or may not be a reality:rnwhat matters is that few, if any,rnAmerican politicians require a validrnexcuse to shut up about immigration,rnexcept to mention it in positive terms.rnSo here come the positive Republicanrngovernors, led by Jim Edgar of Illinoisrnand George Pataki of New York, demandingrnthat Congress amend the WelfarernReform Act of 1996 by restoringrnbenefits denied to legal immigrants byrnthe new law. The Republicans are supportedrnin this effort by the Democraticrngovernors and by the National Congressrnof State Legislators, now that the electionrnyear Reign of Terror by the voters isrnpast and a politician is able to speak outrnagain for compassion and the dignity ofrnman without fear of reprisal. Moreover, ifrnthe federal government doesn’t pick uprnthe tab once more, the governors will bernrequired to impose a tax hike on their nativistrnconstituencies in order to supportrnimmigrants who were supposed to bernsolvent when thev arrived here. You can’trnfind a more positive argument thanrnthat,rnGigot’s attempts at haymaking seemrnto have had one unintended result, however.rnIn his January 24 column in thernWall Street Journal, he ridiculed the editorsrnof National Review for having forgedrnan alliance with “neo-Malthusian”rnrestrictionists. These remarks elicitedrnin short order a defense of the magazinernby William F. Buckley, Jr., in his ownrncolumn—the first he has written onrnthe subject of immigration in 30 years.rnMr. Buckley expressed impatience withrn”Ellis Island cultists” and “free-marketrnpurists,” derided the idea of totally openrnborders as “libertarian fancy . . . but notrnvery good national policy,” and concludedrnthat, “There is a case to be made forrnreducing legal immigration.” Mr. Gigotrngot more than he bargained for, and inrnattacking National Review he may haverntarnished the immigration mystique inrnthe eyes of conservatives.rn—Chilton Williamson, jr.rnJAMES DICKEY, one of the stars inrnthe American firmament, died this pastrnJanuary. Eor certain of us, he was thernmost powerful, the most loved, poetrnfrom the 1960’s onward. By the time Irnmet him in ’67 or ’68 he had brought outrnPoems 1957-1967, which included Buc^-rndancer’s Choice, winner of the 1966 NationalrnBook Award. He was on his way torna reading somewhere, and his plane hadrna layover in New Orleans, so I droverndown from my farm in central Louisiana.rnI was fox-hunting back in those days andrnknew his poems about the same. Werntalked some about that, and I listened tornhim play his guitar. It always went withrnhim then, just like any troubadour’s.rnHe struck mc then and later as someonernwho felt intensely and wanted yournto feel the same way. The poem, hernthought, is the poet’s gift to others, thernfeeling that “through poetry you are actuallyrnenabled to live more, to participaternmore deeply in your own existence.”rnAbove all else, he celebrated the naturalrnworld. He said that the natural world wasrninfinitely more important to him thanrnthe man-made world, and he did notrnwant, nor did he want others, to lose therndeep and necessary intimacy with naturalrnprocess, the great wheel of existencernwith its birth and death of plants, animals,rnand men.rnFor all his exultation in the physicalrnworld, he was a very literary man. Immenselyrnintelligent and widely read, hernwas a complete man of letters, which includedrnan insightful and wide-rangingrncritic and, of course, a novelist. It is mildlyrnironic that if you ask the average Americanrnwhether he has read Dickey, he actsrnpuzzled, but if you mention the manrnwho wrote Deliverance, he smiles andrnagrees—confirming what many know,rnthat a novelist is almost unknown inrnAmerica unless a book of his is made intorna movie. As Nicole Kidman says in TornDie For, “You’re nobody unless someonernsees you on TV.”rnHis poems were very accessible, and Irnthink that was why he had such a largernpublic. Many of us had been reared onrnEliot and Dylan Thomas, poetry thatrnseemed to need an interpreter to comernalong with it to explain the Sanskrit orrn”Abaddon in the hangnail cracked fromrnAdam,” etc. It was Dickey’s belief that atrnleast on a “first level,” any literate, reasonablyrneducated person ought to bernable to understand the poem. He said hernwanted to be simple without being thin;rnsomething for a child and something forrncritics that they had not had much of.rnThe dramatic or narrative frame wasrnstrongly evident, never some disembodiedrnvoice.rnDickey’s public performances hadrnmuch to do with the reinvigoration ofrnyoung people’s interest in poetry. A manrnof large physical stature, he was of heroicrnproportions otherwise; fighter pilot withrna hundred missions, star football player,rnmusician, canoeist, archer—just name it.rnHe was instrumental in insisting on higherrnfees for readings, and many poets havernbenefited. He said if the university canrnafford to give a football coach two thousandrndollars a talk, it could do the samernfor poets. Panache, yes, but he believed arnpoet was worth something, not just a surrogaternfor real action.rnA presence such as Dickey’s, and presencernit was, looming so large on the nationalrnlandscape, was bound to draw outrndetractors: other strong personalities, butrnalso the sissies and neuters. He could notrneasily be ignored. Like the cracking of icernwhen spring comes, or a fresh breeze inrnthe houseplant wodd of Eastern taste arbiters,rnsuch energy could be threatening,rnand occasionally the little animals wouldrnpack-up to try to bring the big animalrndown, but they did not succeed. In thernbeginning I said a star had died, but asrnwe know, its light keeps on coming. Asrnfar as we know.rn—William Millsrn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn