Perspective

Violent Revolution

This past spring, while Congress was engaging in its usual mock debate about tightening immigration, hundreds of thousands of Mexican-Americans took their case to the streets.  In the first round of demonstrations, Chicanos, waving Mexican flags, demanded rights for illegals and declared that all those who favored enforcing the law were racists.

We all heard and read the same arguments.  Mexicans make an indispensable contribution to the American economy, yet they are treated with disrespect and hostility.  The same propaganda appeared in the Mexican press.  It had a common source: the speeches of President George W. Bush, who has been widely cited in Mexico as an advocate for the illegals.

Although conservative commentators criticized the demonstrators, they were far more hard on the members of Congress who wanted to criminalize illegal entry into the United States.  Across the country, however, rank-and-file conservatives and even some liberals deluged talk radio and newspaper editorial pages with complaints.  “Doesn’t anybody care,” argued the conservatives, “that illegal aliens are in fact illegal?”  Between the rhetoric of the demonstrators and the rhetoric of their critics, there was and is a broad gap.  Part of the gap is the result of the basic disagreement of the two sides; part of it derives from the different loyalties of the two groups—conservatives...

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