against immigration, but I’m not anmeanie. Moreover, in practical termsnthere’s really no reason to oppose Lowery’snbill. For one thing, Michael’s alreadynbeen here 12 years. What’s thenalternative to giving him citizenship?nKicking him out? Truth is, there’s angood reason for any lawmaker to cast hisnvote for Michael: Christian charity.nAnd Michael VVu, really, isn’t thenproblem, leaving aside for now thenprecedent his case would set (his specialneducation teacher wants to “removen[immigration] barriers for the learningndisabled”). The problem is immigration.nThe time has come for our na-,ntional leadership to stop conferring citizenshipnto every Tom, Dick, and Wunwho wants it. True enough, on the margin,nMichael Wu’s mere presence innAmerica won’t affect the body politic.nBut Down’s Syndrome aside, there’snmore than one Michael Wu.nHis brothers and parents are here too,nalong with the rest of the Chinese immigrantsnwho flooded California overnthe last century or so, not counting thenThais, Cambodians, Vietnamese, andnLaotians who landed ashore after our illfated,nill-conceived venture in SoutheastnAsia, or those from Mexico, El Salvador,nand Honduras coming across the RionGrande in droves, and the many othersnfrom the Third Wodd who desire Americanncitizenship. Unlike Michael Wu,nthese folks don’t want to change for us.nThey want us to change for them.nA hundred years ago, someone whonmade it to the United States, a difficultntask back then, wanted American citizenshipnfor the right reasons: to becomena member of a unique civilization thatnhad sprung up from an unsettled, virginnland; to adopt that civilization’s moralsnand values, its work habits and pastimesnand its language and customs and heritage.nThat isn’t true anymore, exceptnmaybe in this special case. Michael, younsee, will never be a millionaire. He isnsimpleminded, with an IQ of 60, andnhe wants to be a citizen for one reasonnand one reason only. It means somethingnto him. He doesn’t value Americanncitizenship for material gain.nNot so for the many aliens in ourncities who see the United States as a vehiclento personal prosperity and nothingnmore. They’re here for the welfare payments,nschools, and free lunch, and theynhave no more intention of shucking thenThird World they’ve lugged across thenborder than they have in going back aftern8/CHRONICLESnthey make their millions. Once here,nthey’re here for good, disrupting our institutions,nlike public schools, with foreignnlanguages, pagan religions, andnoddly spiced foods. Cheek out NewnYork City, and you’ll find a public schoolnsystem that will hire one language expertnto teach one child from Ouagadougou.nA recent story in the Washington Postnillustrates the problem. An enterprisingnreporter found a Mexican immigrant,nnot a citizen, who said he had no intentionnof teaching his kids English andnmaking them Americans. But thatnwasn’t going to stop him from using thenpublic schools and getting the benefitsnevery other American citizen gets: SocialnSecurity, Medicaid, food stamps,nand everything else. ABC’s 20/20 recentlynbrought attention to the multitudesnof pregnant Mexicans who sneaknacross the border to bear their childrenn(oftentimes with the help of immigrantnmidwives) because the children get citizenship.nThat means mama and papancan return when young Paco hits 18,nbecause he is, you understand, ann”American.”nSure, Michael Wu is preferable to thentype of immigrants discussed above, andnhe’s preferable to Willie Horton and thenrest of the alienated underclass seethingnwith resentment toward the rest of us.nThe question, however, is where wenshould draw the line. Drawing it for thenbenefit of the American nation wouldnexclude the hard cases like Michael Wu.nBut we all know, as the cliche goes, hardncases make bad law.n—R. Cort KirkwoodnPOLLSTERS and pundits seem tonthink our American malaise is an economicnillness that will be cured whennthe recession ends. I spent my State Departmentncareer deeply involved withnthe Shah’s regime and revolutionary Irannand I smell deja vu. In the past fournyears, I’ve seen stronger expressions ofnpolitical discontent here than in the oldndays in Iran—at least until crowds demandingnchange began to assemble bynthe millions. Citizens in large numbers •nin this country are, like their counterpartsnin Iran, simply fed up with thosenwho rule them. The complaints are similar.n”Traditional values are eroding. Thenmiddle class is being squeezed out. Politicsnare reserved exclusively for a smallncircle of incumbents. Only moneynnncounts. They’re all corrupt. There arenno real choices. Politics is hopeless, sonwhy bother with the charade of participation?”nIn Iran voting was meaningless;nin the United States close to a majoritynseems to agree.nThe good news, I suppose, is thatnthere doesn’t seem to be any Ayatollahnfigure in view—Pat Robertson and JessenJackson having faded. The bad news isnthat we in the Foreign Service and ournfriends in the Iranian establishmentndidn’t see Khomeini coming either untilnhe was about to jerk the Persian carpetnfrom under the Shah. In our country,nhowever, extreme discontent may notnend in revolutionary change. It may onlynproduce a prolonged period of revulsionnagainst politics among increasinglynunhappy constituents and rigidity in thendecisions of their timid power-preservingnmasters, who are fearful of risks thatncould jeopardize their jobs.nThis stalling of the political systemnoccurs as the United States faces thentough challenges of a quickly changingnworld. Rigidity in policy may be the endnof us. We suffer now from a delayed,nineffective reaction to the economic risenof Japan and the Asian “tigers.” Hownmuch official thought is now being givennto the new challenge of an economicallynunified Europe?nThe Soviet Union has disappearednwhile we remain rigidly certain that NA­nTO and the huge defense budgets thatnserved us for decades continue to be required.nWe grope for policies in ethnicallynfragmenting Eastern Europe andnhave largely given up in despair the tasknof promoting development and stabilitynin the Third World. The Middle East,nhardly the same region it was forty,ntwenty, or even five years ago, madenwhat could be a new beginning with thenMadrid Conference. But is there anynindication that Congress will respondnwith anything but the same tired, and—nfor the members—politically profitablenformula? We have no useful formulasnfor dealing with the global challenges ofnAIDS, debt, and the environment.nTo deal with the causes of our crisis ofnrevulsion and rigidity, activists proposento limit campaign financing, enliven debate,nimpose term limits. Citizens propose,npoliticians dispose. Only if thennoise level gets much, much higher willnthere be a reaction from Washington.nThat’s reason enough for everybody tonoffer proposals of whatever merit. Accordingly,nI suggest three ideas thatn