In the summer of 2014, a “surge” was on at the southern border, particularly in my home state of Texas, stimulated by the Obama administration’s signals that it was planning a mass amnesty and had no intention of enforcing immigration laws. It became painfully obvious that the border crisis—the near total collapse of any controls or security at the U.S./Mexico border, especially in South Texas—was manufactured by the powers that be as a means of forcing through a mass amnesty, either via Congress or by executive fiat. Legalizing millions of illegal aliens resident in these United States was the immediate goal, but the strategic aim of stimulating an “humanitarian crisis” at the U.S. border was what Obama has described as his mission to “fundamentally transform” the country—that is, to overwhelm and effectively marginalize the historic American nation. Once that is accomplished, there can be no going back to anything resembling the America of historical memory.
In the summer of 2015, another “surge” was on, and another manufactured crisis—that of “refugees” from the Middle East and Africa—became the latest ploy by the Masters of the Universe to overwhelm Europe and the United States with aliens from distant and often hostile societies. We are seeing a crisis unfold before us of world-historical significance, a threat to what remains of our admittedly degraded civilization, but a threat that has to be repelled as we would repel a foreign military invasion.
Around the time of that summertime border “surge,” then Texas attorney general, now governor, Greg Abbot committed what is commonly called a political gaffe when he said what every thinking person this side of the Rio Grande already knew: Mass immigration from Mexico means the importation of Mexican corruption and the steady erosion of law and the social trust too many Americans take for granted. Abbot spoke of “creeping corruption” and “third world country practices” that “erode the social fabric of our communities,” a process that is quite advanced in South Texas, which is already well on its way to assimilation of a kind no sensible Texan can abide: They are not becoming us; we are becoming them.
With “Anglos” having already lost majority status in the Lone Star State, the siren call of racial solidarity grows harder to resist among Mexican-Americans, many of whom have close relatives in what Texans used to call “old Mexico.” Add to the steady drumbeat of politically driven anti-American propaganda a chorus of Hispanic triumphalism, the practical disappearance of celebrations of traditional holidays like Texas Independence Day, and the corporate promotion of Cinco de Mayo as their replacement, and it’s not hard to see why a “flight from white,” a rejection of all things connected to Texan, Anglo-American identity and cultural norms, is growing among Hispanics. Sheer numbers matter. Cultural cues matter.
The territorial bounds of reverse assimilation will not—and have not—remained static; the reach of Mexican-style problem-solving is steadily encroaching on North Texas. In May 2013, for instance, Mexican attorney Juan Jesús Guerrero Chapa, later identified as a narcoabogado (a lawyer for drug dealers), was assassinated in broad daylight at a shopping center in affluent Southlake, a Dallas-Ft. Worth suburb that had not recorded a homicide since 1999. Like many other wealthy Mexicans, Guerrero and his family had taken up residence in Texas, seeking safety in what media reports described as a “highly secure gated community.”
In the period after the execution of Guerrero, reports made it clear to anyone who was paying attention that his story was only the tip of a very large iceberg. Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw subsequently called Mexican drug cartels the greatest organized-crime threat to the state, while a DEA official described Dallas-Ft. Worth as a major “command and control” center for the operations of six major drug cartels using the North Texas transportation hub as a link in a supply chain that is spreading across the United States. Mexican gangsters operating in the U.S. have also branched out from drug and human trafficking to extortion, contract murder, kidnapping (practically an industry in Mexico), oil theft, money laundering, and auto theft, with telltale corruption following in their wake.
They are not becoming us; we are becoming them.
It was not always so. As I live and remember, the sweet, painful recollections of another time and what seems like another place come back to me more and more often.
In that other time and other place, my father was a trim carpenter by trade. His car, a souped-up ’56 Ford that doubled as a work vehicle, usually had a transistor radio sitting on the dashboard. Most often, that radio was playing what was in those days called “Country & Western” music. The twangy, sad, rollicking, soulful tunes of my youth were sung by performers with names like Hank, Webb, Merle, Ferlin, Faron, Kitty, Tammy, Jim Ed, and Porter. It was not many miles from our home in Spring Branch on the outskirts of Houston to fields covered by bluebonnets in the spring, or a hunting or fishing trip traveled on roads that were not jammed with traffic. At Spring Branch Elementary, there was Go Texan! Day, the students and faculty dressing in hats and boots to watch the Salt Grass Trail Ride pass by on its way to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. There was a San Jacinto Day celebration, and Alamo Day and Texas Independence Day were bigger than the Fourth of July. There were dances at Tin Hall, an aluminum-topped building in Cypress that did not allow men to wear their hats inside, shuffleboard at icehouses, and guns in practically every home.
The people were rough edged and unrefined, and brawls, family drama, Saturday-night drunks and Sunday-morning sermons were all part and parcel of that life. The people weren’t especially “sensitive,” and they liked an off-color joke here and there. They could be harsh and tough and generous and loyal. Life was good. It was ours. It was cheatin’ songs and drinkin’ songs and songs about a good boy gone bad, but it was also “Peace in the Valley” and “The Old Rugged Cross” and “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”
We were singing our song, admittedly a wild and woolly one at times, but most of us turned out all right in the end.
My great-grandmother was a Seventh-Day Adventist who made Poppa, my great-grandfather, keep his beer in an old icebox out in the wooden garage behind their home on Malone Street in Houston’s West End. Aunt Pearl went through four husbands, causing my great-grandma and Poppa no end of alarm, before she married Chick McDowell. They spent over five decades together. Uncle Ted battled alcoholism, as did Uncle Johnny, who never quite adjusted after the war. Uncle Ron spent some time honing his bull-riding skills in the Huntsville prison rodeo. He was, for a time, one of those folks who figured that if he still had checks, he still had money. But he straightened out, had a family, and I had the pleasure of seeing him one more time in a rest home in Roswell, New Mexico, before he passed on a few years back. Cousin Jo Jo was a classic good boy gone bad, the bad part coming after he bought his first Harley and wound up a member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang. He did a stretch in a Georgia pen, but he got a cameo appearance in The Longest Yard out of it. Jo Jo, the son of two of the kindest and gentlest people I ever knew, eventually straightened out, too.
Mexican-Americans (we just called them “Mexicans”) were scattered around us and among us, and we boys were told to be careful if you got in a fight with one, because he probably had a knife, but our neighbor Mrs. Lorrera always brought us homemade tamales on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Life in pre-p.c. America was a bit more complicated than the America-haters want us to believe.
The people seemed larger than life to me, big enough to cover their good points—loyalty, bravery, endurance—and their many sins. They were very much like Flannery O’Connor’s “Christ haunted,” if not always “Christ centered,” people. A real life, one that has the “authenticity” that hipsters long for, is always accompanied by the baggage of those real lives, real virtues, and real sins. As in any genuine community, there was a certain stability, certain things you could be sure about in those pre-“diversity” days. You knew your neighbors and knew they believed pretty much what you did. Beliefs and the whole spectrum of folkways and customs people usually call “values” were reinforced in various ways at home, by neighbors, at church, in school, and intangibly in the very air you breathed.
It was an authentic life, one that was more human, more interesting, more tragic, more worth keeping and remembering than the postmodern narrative would have it.
Maybe your community was different. Maybe it was a more idyllic, middle-class world like that of Ray Bradbury’s fictional Green Town, Illinois. Maybe your people had a different set of virtues and a different set of faults, but they were yours, and you were theirs, and the place was a real place—the people Midwesterners or New Englanders or Southerners, but real Americans, all.
I know the world I have described is gone and can’t come back as it was. But maybe the past isn’t really past and you can go home again, in a sense, if you have something left of the world you knew to go home to. And that’s what patriotic immigration reform is or should be really about. If we are to have a chance, even a small one, of building something new that draws on the better parts of what came before, we have to preserve a people and a place to come home to, an environment where that new something can thrive and develop.
There are lots of reasons to oppose mass immigration. There are solid economic reasons, and good environmental reasons, and good security reasons. I’ve written about all of those things in these pages and in other places. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the working class and rural people I so fondly remember, for example, are being driven into the underclass by masses of foreign low-wage workers, undermining our people’s ability to make a livelihood. The sometime dysfunctions I’ve recalled are commonplace and much deeper, much worse now. What used to be called “urban blight” is now found in rural counties and small towns.
We hear a lot about “model minorities,” immigrants who are not welfare recipients, criminals, or plotting to bring Islamic law to America. I have some “model minority” neighbors, for instance, who are very grateful to America. They are solid Christians, dependable, and altogether preferable to others who could have moved into my neighborhood in Keller, Texas, which is nevertheless taking on the appearance of an extension of the United Nations. As that process progresses, the town ceases to be Keller or Texas. The simple fact is that we are not interchangeable with them. Numbers matter; cultural cues matter. One “model minority” family can be a blessing; millions will be the end of us.
It’s true that our historic Anglo-Saxon legal traditions and European heritage are in many ways superior to other civilizations. Our tradition has produced greater wealth, more stability, social trust, and the rule of law, for instance. America at the zenith of her power and wealth sent men to the moon. The world wants to move here, defying the Cultural Marxist myth of America as a hellhole of “white supremacy,” while some cheerleaders for mass immigration shake their pompons and stroke our collective ego with shouts of “See, they love us!” and appeals to “American exceptionalism.”
But even if America were not a seat of great wealth or hadn’t gone to the moon, or had forsaken becoming a “superpower,” my home is here, and what I love is here, and what we have to correct and fix and nurture is here. “Model minorities” often are nice people, sometimes nicer than some of my own relatives, but they are not my people. To paraphrase celluloid philosopher William Munny, nice’s got nothing to do with it. My “model minority” neighbors may even vote Republican and profess “American values,” but they will not feel a shiver in their spine walking Cemetery Ridge or entering the walls of an old chapel that is the shrine of Texas independence.
We immigration patriots are often accused of “racism.” Since race is an important element of identity, it does matter a great deal, but it is not the only thing. Some of my English friends, for example, lament their country being overrun with foreigners, and those foreigners are not all Arabs or Pakistanis; some are Eastern Europeans. An English village cannot remain English if it is overwhelmed by strangers, even if the strangers are fellow Europeans.
My professional career has been spent largely on studying and analyzing the politics of Russia and the former Soviet Union. As in many cases when one group encounters the technologically advanced “other,” there is resentment and envy and a love/hate relationship that develops in the former’s view of the latter. So some Russian nationalists indulge in national ego-stroking that will sound familiar—they will say it was a Russian who really invented the airplane or the telephone, or that Russians are the real heirs to Rome and Greece, and it was a Russian who was the first man in space. But some Russians will occasionally say that they simply desire that Russia remain Russian, even with that country’s many well-documented shortcomings. They understand that the foibles and the flaws are part of the whole package, along with the virtues of their people. You don’t get the one without the other.
Even if we end mass immigration, that would only be the beginning of rebuilding. Our culture is in a state of severe degradation, our country in decline spiritually. But winning that battle means having a chance to win others.
So wrote the poet:
Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land! . . .
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim; . . .
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.
Our aim is not only to survive but to rebuild our culture and the kind of deep loyalties to real places and real people that earlier generations had. It is my sincere hope that they can be reborn, fostered, and cultivated.
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