Foreign Thoughts

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

Editor’s Note: These passages are drawn from recent articles on The Corner.

Mexifornia, Quite Literally!

“I love this country, it has given me everything that I have, and I’m proud to be part of it,” said Victor Sanchez, a 37-year-old Monrovia resident wearing a Mexico jersey. “But yet, I didn’t have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be.”

That’s a quote from a Los Angeles Times story on the booing of the US soccer team by an overwhelmingly Latino audience during a US–Mexico match at the Rose Bowl. Examine the odd logic: Mr. Sanchez is booing the country that gave him “everything” while cheering the country that apparently gave him very little. “I didn’t have a choice to come here,” he says; one immediately thinks, “But you most certainly do have a choice to return to the nation where your ‘heart will always be.’” Can Mr. Sanchez not even offer symbolic thanks to the country that blessed him, perhaps a clap or two at the Rose Bowl when the United States is mentioned? And if the immigration service arrived at the Rose Bowl to bus spectators without legality back to Mexico, where his “heart will always be,” would he boo or cheer?

He reminds me of a former student who, during the anti–Prop 187 marches years ago, was marching with a group waving Mexican flags — that is, the flag of the country he did not wish to return to, as a Mexican national — but desecrating the flag of the United States, the country that he most certainly wished to remain in.

That schizophrenia is what confuses so many about illegal immigration — the simultaneous furor over even the suggestion of compliance with federal immigration law and the occasional symbolic expressions of dislike for the United States in public fora, whether booing at the Rose Bowl at mention of America, or walking out of a California high school en masse at the sight of an American-flag T-shirt on Cinco de Mayo.

When a foreign nation is treated as the home team, and when the home team is booed in the Rose Bowl, I think we can see why the entire open-borders, non-enforcement, ‘La Raza’ paradigm of tribal chauvinism based on ethnic solidarity has been proven an abject failure — summed up by one word, “hypocrisy.” Of course, if America asks nothing of the would-be immigrant — no legality upon entrance, no knowledge of the English language or American customs, no proof of autonomy and independence from government entitlement — then tens of thousands of American residents booing the very mention of America is logical and would, of course, continue until and unless fundamental ideas about illegal immigration, assimilation, and national identity change.

Greece Bewilders

I have lived in Greece and visited it over 20 times, and it still bewilders. The current strikes at the height of the tourist season will only curtail one of the few remaining Greek opportunities to earn scarce foreign capital. I organize and lead a lecture tour every year for 50–60 Americans interested in visiting the monuments of Western civilization, especially those pertaining to military history and wars of the past. We have not gone back to Greece for two years and won’t next year either — given the chance that a bus, hotel, or air strike could derail the enterprise.

Millions must be thinking the same thing, which raises the now surreal question: What do Greeks in the street want? Simply to renege on the $170 billion debt and claim someone other than themselves borrowed the money, or that their elites borrowed it and squandered it and alone should pay, or that the Germans owed them that much anyway for reparations from 70 years past? Is there any self-reflection that the current standard of living and infrastructure in Athens do not seem to be a product of the Greek GDP, but make sense only in the context of 30 years of northwest European money loaned to Athens?

And finally, if Greeks feel the terms are unfair, or the proposed austerity measures not to their liking, it is of course their choice simply to go deadbeat and not pay the capital back; then they can issue their own currency, craft their own laws apart from EU oversight, and have no need to daily scream at their German bankers. But as it is now, we are witnessing teenagers who demand the use of their parents’ credit card in the manner they see fit. It is long time past to move out, and set up house on your own.

Live and Die by Hype

In Al Gore’s latest diatribe — lamenting how his climate-change crusade has been undermined by self-interested skeptics — he seems weirdly unaware of the role of imagery in our media-driven society — weird because he himself used to be the past master of the sound bite, the bombastic phrase, and the multimedia publicity campaign that, in part, won him a Nobel Prize and hundreds of millions in green profits.

He deplores the Climategate e-mail fraud, but it was as understandable as it was an enormous setback — just as would have been Sarah Palin’s leaked e-mails had they revealed commensurate and conscious efforts at deception.

Gore himself took on prophet-like status and wished to equate the global-warming/climate-change religion with his own godhead, and yet he now seems surprised that his movement suffers bad publicity, oblivious that it might be, at least in some small part, also related to his own public hypocrisies, whether the multiple energy-gorging luxury houses he owned, the private jetting and yacht, or the “crazed sex poodle” charges.

©2011 Victor Davis Hanson

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