PERSPECTIVErnRedeeming the Timernby Thomas FlemingrnHie Davs are EvilrnThe human universe, we arc told b optimists on the editorialrnpages, is contrachng into a gra and insipid doughhall,rnpasted over with brighri’ colored labels adcrhsing the onl ethnicrnrialrics that persist: the struggles between Nissan andrnDaimler, Pizza Hnt and Taeo Bell. llnfortnnateK’, there arernpeople around the world who do not read the Wall Street Journal,rnand some of them are hurling themselves into the bloodyrnconflicts that regnlarh dominate the headlines, hi the MiddlernKast, the eleehon of Ariel Sharon has predictabl’ intensified thernstruggle between Arabs and their Israeli neighbors, who arernmo.stly immigrants or the children of immigrants. U.S. supportrnfor Israel has cast American citizens in the role of enemies of Islam,rnand Muslim hatred of America reached a fccr pitch onrnSeptember II, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Centerrnand the Pentagon. In tlie Balkans, Albanian immigrants inrnSerbia and Macedonia hae been continuing their gcnocidalrnwar against their Sknie hosts, and last spring, the “internationalrncommunifv” was dismaed to learn that a U.N. employee is anrnaccused Rwandan war criminal —really, just the perfect personrnto help with humanitarian dexelopmcnt in the midst of an ethnicrnci il war.rnTire comedy continued in Mav, when a Rwandan accused ofrnplanning the genocide of a half-million Tutsis was found workingrnin Tanzania as a defense incstigator for the war-crimes tribunal.rnThe ver- next day, John Ashcroft was in Mexico, promisingrnPresident F”ox that Cieorge W. Bush would send C^ongress arnprogram granting Mexican immigrants guest-w orker isas. I’nlikernpreious administrations, howeer, the Republican WhiternHouse would not be demanding, in return, any concrete Mexicanrnproposals to reduce illegal (much less legal) immigration.rnIt is a simple fact, so obvious that it should not need stating,rnbut it does: All ethnic conflict is the result of migration, w hetiierrnof Albanians into Koso o, 7nglo-Saxons into the Indian lands ofrnNorth America, the forced migration of .Africans to tiie UnitedrnStates, or the comparatielv recent (18th century and earlier)rninasion of Tutsis into Hutuland. Ethnic diversit}’ almost alwa)rns means ethnic conflict, which can be rcsoKcd b- genocidern(the solution devised b tiic English to answer tiic Tasmanianrnquestion), subjugation (die Norman Conc[uest of tiie Anglo-rnSaxons and of tiie Irish), or absorption (the fate of most NorthernrnEuropean ethnic groups in the United States), or somerngruesome combination. Wdicrc arc the Celts of esterear?rnAmerica, as we know, is an exception to eer- rule. Here, allrntire various ethnicities have blended into an harmonious multiethnicrnnationalit- that defines itself ncitlier b- blood nor religion.rnWe are, as one Canadian immigrant who has spent hisrnlife making trouble for his adopted homeland puts it, “a propositionalrnnation.” Robert E. Lee. A,sk W.E.B. Dubois. A.skrnDawCrockettor Jesse Jackson or Abe Foxman. A,skGeronimo.rnThe realih of American life is that this nation has been dominatedrnh ethnic conflicts throughout its histor—some of tiicnirncarried out opcuK- in tiie form of Indian wars and race riots, othersrnmore coertK, as in the repeated attempts to keep Catiiolicrnimmigrants in their place. Inexitably, both political parties ha crnused etimic tensions as a motive force for building coalitionsrnand holding power.rnIn the ISSO’s and I(S60’s, tiie Know-Nothings and their successors,rntiic Republicans, wanted to unif the countrx againstrnimmigrants (nK)stofwhom were Catiiolic) on the basis of cthnicihrnand religion, just as tiic Republican strategy toda- is tornbind future generations of Mexicans, on the basis of class andrneconomic interest, and use them as a counterweight to .African-rnAmericans, who -ote Democratic.rnThe ethnic focus of the two political parties became cr)rnsharp in tiie ears after the War Behveen tiie States. ‘Plie Republicansrnw ere the parh of tiie Union —that is. the GOP representedrntire members of the non-Soutiiern middle classes whornwere Protestant and Anglo (or also, after a time, assimilatedrnGermaus and Seandiuaians). Mter tiie end of Reconstruction,rnblacks liardK counted politicalR-, because they had so littlernmouex and ecn less t)p]3ortuiiih to ‘ote; tiie were, nonetheless,rnclients of tiie GOP, iiiueli as riie- are clients of tiie Democratsrntoda.rnI’hc Democrats were stigmatized as tiie jjarh’ of “Rum, Romanism,rnand Rebellion”-that is, as a coalition of SoutiiernrnWASPs and wine-bibbing and wliiske-sw illiiig immigrantsrnfrom Catholic Ireland. ital, Poland, and Hungary. The coalitionrnalso included coinparatiel small numbers of OrtiiodoxrnGreeks and Slavs and some Protestant etimicities, but tiie linesrnw ere fairK- clearh’ draw n. Alidw estcrn WASPs, w hose ancestorsrnhad once looked toward the Soutii and to the parh of Jeffcr.son,rnwere stauncliK Republican, while Soutiiern WASPs, whosernfamilies had been Whigs and unionists, became cllow-dog Democrats.rnThe Democratic Part-, outside tiie Soutii, w as the part- of excludedrnminorities and “forgotten men.” Finnish socialists otedrnDemocratic (when there was no Marxist candidate running),rnand Sontiieni and Eastern European ethnics supportedrnthe parh of minorities against the W.SPs w ho went to Yale andrnowned tiie conntrw I’he Democrats’ strateg was clear: to cooptrneach arriiiig immigrant group b’ proiding faors, organizingrntheir neighborhoods, and getting out tiie ‘ote. The samernstrateg- almost ga’e tiicni Florida and tiie White House in tiiern2000 election. I’he Republicans, on the otiier hand, relied onrnthe farmers and tiie business classes and hoped, gradualh, tornconxert the more assimilable ethnics, as tiiex bought |3ro])crhrnlO/CHRONICLESrnrnrn