Here we are, in the thick of a general presidential election, pitting Barack Obama against John McCain, and there is almost no talk about immigration.
Did you watch the debates? In the three McCain-Obama debates, and the Palin-Biden debate, the topic was scarcely mentioned. As Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times sums it up, "in the general election, the issue [immigration] has all but disappeared." [Immigrants hear mixed messages, October 16, 2008]
In the English-language U.S. Presidential campaign, that is.
But it's absolutely not true in the Spanish-language U.S. Presidential campaign.
Yes, that's right. The English-language U.S. Presidential election is no longer the only game in town. There is now a parallel Spanish-language political media in the United States, which is growing and gaining strength and influence. Candidates of both parties run TV and radio advertisements in Spanish and have Spanish websites.
In the primary season, candidates of both parties flocked to participate in a Spanish-language debate hosted by Jorge Ramos of Univision, a resident alien from Mexico who openly boasts that the U.S. will become Hispanic.
On June 30th, the Huffington Post reported that this election was set to surpass the 2004 record of Spanish-language campaign propaganda. In that election, Bush and Kerry together spent nearly $9 million dollars in pandering to American citizens in Spanish. By now, the record has probably fallen.
A common language is a critical asset for any nation and is closely related to national identity. What we now know as the U.S., ever since its origin, has been an English-speaking entity. Furthermore, fluency in English is (allegedly) a requirement for citizenship. By pandering in Spanish, the parties are reinforcing the trend to linguistic enclaves.
Not only that, but the ads in Spanish are not necessarily even saying the same things as they are in English. But the mainstream white majority of our country is blissfully unaware of most of this.
I wrote about this in 2002, ["Nuestra Gente" and the National Question in Texas] referring to the 2002 Texas gubernatorial election in which Democratic candidate Tony Sanchez was portrayed as a conservative in English ads and as a Mexican-American leader in the Spanish ads.
But don't politicians always appeal to different constituencies with different emphases? Yes, of course. But at least if they are talking the same language, the electorate has a better chance to keep up with it.
It's preferable to have politicians lying in one language than in two languages.
As for Barack Obama and John McCain, the two con artists currently running for president, their voting records on immigration are nearly identical. Both candidates have contempt for the historical American nation. Both favor a mass amnesty for illegal aliens. But that amnesty is not popular with the electorate. So they shut up about it.
In English…but not in Spanish. A recent AP article entitled "Obama and McCain´s Spanish Language Ads Short on Facts" describes the situation thusly,
"Apparently both presidential campaigns feel less constrained by the facts when they're speaking in Spanish."
The article goes on to report on two such Spanish-language ads aired last month:
"Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are making the same claim—that the other is responsible for the failure of immigration reform [AP-speak for amnesty], in two 30-second commercials airing on Spanish-language television stations in New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada."
What we have here is a slugfest between McCain and Obama, each attempting to prove to the Spanish-speaking electorate that he is more likely to sell out the country than his opponent.
First, Team McCain came out with the "Whose Side are they On?" ad. Its message was that Obama and his allies ruined the amnesty. Here's an English translation of the message that was delivered in Spanish:
"Obama and his allies in Congress say they're on the side of the immigrants. But are they? News reports say their efforts were like 'poison pills' that caused immigration reform to fail. The result: No to the guest worker program—to the path to citizenship—to secure borders. No reforms passed. Is that being on our side?"
"On our side?" Shouldn't we suppose a prospective candidate for U.S. president would be on the side of Americans? So whose side is McCain on?
Even if you don't know Spanish, it's worth watching the video here.
Well, Team Obama couldn't let that one pass. So their rapid response was "Dos Caras", "two faces." You can watch it here . Here's a translation of the "Dos Caras" ad:
"They want us to forget the insults we've put up with, the intolerance. They made us feel marginalized in a country we love so much. John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One tells lies just to get our vote, and the other, even worse, continues the failed policies of George Bush, putting the interests of powerful groups above working families. John McCain, more of the same Republican deceptions."
This is the ad that McCain mentioned in one debate—he complained that Obama had "distorted" his immigration position. Which he had—by making McCain look like a Republican.
Ironic—that the ad whines about the marginalization of Hispanics but its very use of Spanish contributes to their separation from the English-speaking majority. And, just like the McCain ad, it implies that Hispanics have separate interests from other Americans.
And, as with the previous ad, you also ought to view this one to get the emotional impact. "Dos Caras" also includes a picture of Rush Limbaugh, quoting him as calling Mexicans "stupid and unqualified" and telling them to "Shut your mouth or get out!" (Regarding the Limbaugh quotes, see this video for a refutation).
Of course, the McCain camp couldn't let that one go unanswered, either. So on October 1st, they followed up with "Fraudulent".
You can listen to "Fraudulent" here. Here's a translation:
"So what's worse? That Barack Obama and his allies in Congress killed immigration reform? Or that their immigration attacks were called 'unfair,' 'absolutely and directly wrong' and even 'fraudulent' by the press. Or that Obama and his liberal allies think the U.S. has an immigration problem because Mexico is a quote, 'dysfunctional society''? They've said no to us long enough. This election, let's tell them no."
The "dysfunctional society" quote (with which some Mexicans would agree) was from none other than Joe Biden, Barack's V-P candidate.
Well, needless to say, the Obama campaign didn't wait long to respond to that one either. Its response was called "Otra Vez con lo Mismo", literally "Again with the Same" or more colloquially, "There he goes again".
Here's what "Otra Vez" had to say
"McCain is up to the same distortions and lies on the immigration issue. He wants to hide the fact that he's the one who turned his back on us. McCain caved to the anti-immigrant crowd, and with the Republicans, turned his back on our community. If John McCain is not willing to stand up against his own Republican Party, how will he stand up for our community in the White House?" [Youtube]
"Our community"? Aren't American voters part of the American community with American interests?
And so it goes.
Any day now, McCain will no doubt be coming out with a new Spanish ad.
I can't wait.
It's not the purpose of this article to get into the details of the ads, pointing out the distortions of each side. What counts here is the intention—which is the same for both campaigns.
The Spanish ads of Obama and McCain are campaign propaganda, delivered in a foreign language, to a sector of the American electorate. The ads are designed to appeal to Hispanic voters, not on the basis of their American citizenship and American interests, but on the basis of their perceived identity as Hispanics, not as Americans.
Did I mention that fluency in English is a requirement for naturalization?
Notice that in these ads, Obama and McCain are competing with each other as to who is better equipped to deliver an amnesty to illegal aliens. But they don't like to tell that to the mainstream electorate in English.
This is bad stuff. And it's likely to get worse in future elections. Of course, if present trends continue, when the U.S. becomes part of Latin America, it may be English ads that get phased out.
But in the here and now, despite all the pandering by John McCain, he's still losing among Hispanics. And that's highly unlikely to change come election day.
You'd think McCain would learn his lesson. But don't hold your breath.
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) resides in Mexico, with a legal permit issued him by the Mexican government. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here and his website is here.