Last Wednesday, May 16, I eavesdropped on the Treason & Anarchy Lobby's weekly conference call. (OK, that's my name for them!) The dominant theme was horror at the harshness of the Senate's comprehensive-capitulation-to-Mexico bill. (If they'd try to visualize the dysfunctional, Balkanized mess the country will turn into if they get their wish, one wonders if they'd have second thoughts—or, as Thomas Sowell would say, "perhaps first thoughts".)
While noting the speaker's conflation of anti-immigration with "anti-immigrant," I thought to myself, "Oh, sure". After all, poll after poll shows that Americans want immigration to be, in Brenda Walker's words, "legal, controlled, and reduced". (For the results of last fall's comprehensive poll commissioned by the Center for Immigration Studies, see here.)
"Many Senators are telling staffers and other Senators that they are inclined to vote for the giant Kennedy/Bush amnesty bill (S. 1348) next week [i.e. the week of 5/21] because they say they have been surprised at how few phone calls of protest they've gotten during the last two months of highly-publicized negotiations to create the amnesty.
"They are concluding that the citizens of their states just aren't all that worked up about granting an amnesty. And they're interpreting that as a green light to give corporations the huge new supplies of legal foreign labor they desire."
In short, most of our beloved senators seem to have a death wish for our country. By now we're used to this kind of nonsense.
But it's still startling to reflect upon: Why should they need massive phone calls from the grassroots to do the right thing? After all, the U.S. Senate is often described as the "world's greatest deliberative body". They deliberated on this??
Anyway, it's the kind of nation-wrecking irresponsibility that advocates of immigration sanity are familiar with and that we must compensate for with the power of our numbers. But in that same email, Roy went on to say,
"I know that most of you have never made a phone call. Your faxing totally dominates the written communications in offices. But our phone presence just isn't powerful enough. We need far more phoning to give more weight to the piles of faxes they are getting."
So where are all our missing-in-action troops? In these days of peril for the American future, we want the forces of immigration-sanity to be functioning smoothly, all cylinders firing.
Note that if those 320,000 Numbers participants are divided uniformly among 435 congressional districts, that's 735 per district. (Uniform distribution probably is a reasonable first approximation — recall former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's announcement last summer that "Every state is a border state, and every town is a border town … everywhere I travel around this country, illegal immigration is a top concern".)
Thus Arizona's Senator Kyl, who's apparently leading the capitulation cadres, should be hearing from about 5,900 people, since the state has nine districts. And 24,000 faxers/phoners from 32 districts should be hammering Texas's wishy-washy-or-worse Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison. And the staffs of Georgia's senatorial weasels Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson (see photo—I apologize to all genuine weasels for this odious comparison) should be begging for surcease from the attentions of about 8,800 enraged NumbersUSAers.
So we in the immigration-sanity movement are big in number. But, per Roy Beck's plaint, apparently we're acting small.
Well, yes. And Roy's is distressingly far from being the only example. Here's another: A good friend is active in one of the San Diego Minutemen groups. Every Saturday for many months, he and about half-a-dozen other stalwarts have been picketing at day-labor pick-up sites and generally "showing the flag," in an area where the atmosphere is becoming increasingly hostile and tense for such actions.
"It's always the same six or eight of us", the friend told me. "People drive by and give us thumbs up or toot their horns in approval. But do any of them stop and join us? Almost never. Yet having merely another half-dozen people with us would make a big difference".
VDARE.COM's Patrick Cleburne has remarked on the "articulate ferocity" of online comments that attend spineless op-eds on immigration in venues like Townhall.com and OpinionJournal. Indeed, the phenomenon is widespread—though not universally "articulate"! Any article having to do with immigration in, say, the Billings Gazette spurs a barrage of readers' input, with the vast majority of it on our side. For example, Saturday's article on the capitulation bill (Senators take dubious view of immigration bill, [ By Noelle Straub] scroll down for comments) had attracted 54 comments by 6 p.m. Sunday. Even if the article has nothing explicitly to do with immigration, immigration comments appear. See the second comment here.
But when our cause needs bodies or bucks, where are all these people?
"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case; you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves."
Los Angeles talk-radio host Terry Anderson says it in his own way: "There's no practice, America. This is not a drill".
And Terry practices what he preaches, big time. In the fray since his south-central Los Angeles neighborhood became an illegal-alien magnet in the early 1990s, he's been doing his one-hour Sunday night radio show [Listen to it here]on the immigration invasion since the fall of 2000. Closing in on 350 shows, he's never missed a week (so never had a full week's vacation in all that time), through sore throats, allergies, and existential tiredness. Doing the hour-long shows can be physically draining, and that's on top of 40-plus hours per week spent preparing, assembling materials and thoughts, answering emails from listeners, and on and on.
But Terry's famous now and makes big bucks doing all this, right? Ha ha. He and helpers burn a lot of energy raising funds to keep the show on the air, and they've never taken a dime in recompense. Not even gas money for the weekly drive to KRLA's studio in Glendale.
So Terry's independently wealthy? Ha ha, again. He used to do body and fender work, until illegal aliens flooded the Los Angeles market, driving jobs that had paid $20/hour in the early 1980s below $10/hour today. He's now self-employed — spottily — doing custom electric work on classic cars.
Of course, Terry's sacrifices on behalf of a livable American future, while heroic and exemplary, are far from unique.
In a recent conversation with a NumbersUSA registrant who teaches in a southern California public school, I learned that while she'd done some faxing, she'd never made any of those phone calls:
PN: Let's see. Offices in DC are open from about 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. California time.
T: My work starts before 8 a.m. and runs until about 3 p.m. …
PN: They're open from about 5 a.m. though …
T: But that would mean I'd have to get up earlier.
PN: Well …. yes.
Several years ago, Roger Clegg, in one sentence, explained most Americans' habitual complacency. In a brief article (Madison Memory) about our Constitution-writing Founder, James Madison, Clegg wrote:
"[P]erhaps it is a measure of Madison's success that he helped create a republic in which most people don't have to worry much about politics, and can take freedom for granted, and don't worship the authorities."
Yes. Taking freedom for granted. We are a very spoiled people, probably unique in human history. Will enough of us get "unspoiled" in time?
So, reader, what was it you were saying about being unable to get up early to make phone calls to Capitol Hill or about being loath to use a few hours of accrued vacation to make an in-person impression in your senators' or representative's district offices or about sending (say) $100 to (say) Terry Anderson to fund five minutes of airtime?
You object that you did make some phone calls and donate some money a few years ago, but now you're wearied by the struggle? Sorry, but that's not going to cut it, either. We're all weary.
Or perhaps your weariness is intellectual: When are enough other Americans going to get it?
Here I draw on some pithy wisdom, third-hand, from—of all people—Richard Nixon. In a long New York Times Magazine article (Master of the Game, 10/31/1993, pay archive) about political chameleon David Gergen, journalist Michael Kelly wrote
"[Gergen] learned the importance of saying the same thing, over and over and over: 'Nixon taught us about the art of repetition. He used to tell me, "About the time you are writing a line that you have written so often that you want to throw up, that is the first time the American people will hear it."'"
Alright, so what can you do?
First, forget about fix-it-in-a-day blitzkriegs for immigration sanity. This is a LONG struggle. Instead of cooking up grandiose plans that can never amount to anything — like boycotting every company that does business with Mexico –- do something real, like attending a public meeting and speaking out, even though you don't feel comfortable doing so. Do so, especially, if it involves standing up to cowardly bullies like John McCain. Go put your body on the line with the Minutemen, locally or at the southern border. Cough up some bucks, even if it means a bit of sacrifice.
And, darn it, make Capitol Hill's switchboards melt down with your phone calls.
Tom Tancredo laid it out clearly in his Lincoln Day speech on April 14th in Des Moines:
"People say to me: 'What can I do now, you've got me all riled up about this issue. What can I do?'
"And I always say, 'Well … everything! Everything that you can do.'
"If it's the people you influence around the watercooler, if it's the people you influence when you write a letter to the editor. Or if you run for city council. Or anything. Whatever you can do is what you have to do."
Congressman Tancredo, first elected to Congress in 1998, has been at it for a LONG time, too. A correspondent recently wrote to me:
"A few years earlier (in the late 80s), I had met Tom Tancredo at a school choice conference at the Mackinac center in Saginaw, Michigan. We walked the mile back to the hotel together. I wanted to talk about my great cause: introducing market competition in K-12 schooling.
"Tancredo said words to the effect: That's a big issue all right, but there is an even bigger challenge: out-of-control immigration. Even then he could see the trouble coming.
"I thought he had his priorities mixed up, to get sidetracked on a secondary issue.
"I would learn."
To close, I'll remind you of what's at stake with more words from Churchill …
"We must recognize that we have a great inheritance in our possession, which represents the prolonged achievement of centuries; that there is not one of our simple, uncounted rights today for which better men than we have not died on the scaffold or the battlefield. We have not only a great treasure, we have a great cause. Are we taking every measure within our power to defend that cause?"
… and with this startling rumination from Thomas Sowell in his May 1 column:
"When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can't help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup."
OK, you want to know what I do, besides writing occasional pieces, gratis, [VDARE.COM note: we've tried to pay him!] for VDARE.COM?
Last year I donated more than $11,000 (tax deductible) to the various organizations fighting for us and more than $5,000 (non-deductible) to political candidates who were focusing on immigration sanity. I'm on track for similar levels in 2007. No, I'm not rich, and I content myself with driving a trashed-out 1984 Mazda truck.
This year I've made half a dozen 200-mile round trips to Helena to testify on Montana bills aimed at combating illegal immigration.
Since the start of 2006, I've submitted about 85 letters to newspapers (with about 25 published), ghostwritten several published op-eds and letters, and had two op-eds published under my own name.
I also send every NumbersUSA fax (n.b. after customizing them) and make most of the requested phone calls—the latter being a distinctly non-favorite activity.
I'd much rather spend my time thinking about physics! But Madison's creation has been undone. Today—and especially this week—patriotic Americans are being forced to worry about politics.