American Proscenium

La-La Land Reacts to the Immigration Protests

In a sane world, the sight of more than a half-million immigrants—many of them illegal—flooding the streets of downtown Los Angeles and waving Mexican flags would have been something of a wake-up call for Southern Californians.  It wasn’t.  No matter how in-your-face the protesters have become, conventional wisdom argues that these nice folks are simply fighting against oppression and injustice and really want to become Americans.

After the original protests, thousands of students, not just in Los Angeles but in suburban school districts, ditched school, blocked freeways, took down the U.S. flag from public-school poles, then raised the Mexican flag and put the upside-down Stars and Stripes underneath it—all the while chanting, “Mexico! Mexico! Mexico!”  In the days that followed, the protesters—stung by criticism of their Mexican flags—brought along mostly American ones, but the real message had already been sent.

Other cities across America faced similar demonstrations, but, being Ground Zero for Mexican immigration, Los Angeles endured particularly big and unruly ones.  Few people here in La-La Land got the point: Our region is home to millions of unassimilated aliens who are defiantly proud of the country from which they came and view America as little more than a place to earn money.  I had always worried about the possibility of Balkanization,...

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