Tom Tancredo At American University: Maybe It Is About Race
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Former Congressman Tom Tancredo delivered a speech to an overflow student audience at American University February 24, sponsored by a promising new collegiate organization—Youth for Western Civilization.

Tancredo is rightly a hero to all immigration reform patriots. But at American University, in a clumsy attempt to appease the overwhelmingly unsympathetic studentsidealistic American proponents of a multicultural, multiracial, pluralistic society; a sizable contingent of young non-Westerners—Tancredo, flustered at times, struggled to define his message.[Watch YouTube clips here and here.]

Tancredo's central point, namely that Western Civilization is worth preserving, simply fell flat. Any concern that Western societies will be unable to assimilate mass immigration was fundamentally anathema to the audience. In particular, the non-Western contingent obviously prefers to remain unassimilable. They understand that blood is thicker than water and that ethnic and racial heritage is worth preserving.

Tancredo's urgent call for "assimilation" employs a catchphrase that too many patriotic immigration reformers, intent on saving their nation and local communities from alien annexation, have failed to carefully assess.

Do we really want a massive influx of non-Westerners to "assimilate", in a rather superficial way, into our communities? Do we need non-Western refugees from Third World countries settling in vast, largely homogenous areas or Michigan, Maine and the upper Northwest, currently stable, safe, highly livable, neighborly communities? 

"It is not about race", the soft-spoken Tancredo said at the outset of his speech. He asserted his steadfast opposition to diversity, multiculturalism, and (in this speech, mostly illegal) immigration. But he also repeatedly emphasized that his concerns about assimilation, citizenship, and Western Civilization had nothing to do with race or ethnicity.

Tancredo spent a great deal of time awkwardly trying to reconcile the irreconcilable: that the issue of mass immigration has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. He even went out of his way to stress that race and ethnicity should be immaterial criteria for legal immigration and citizenship, although it was quite unnecessary to do so.

Tancredo claimed that the issue of citizenship and nationhood is merely one of language and cultural assimilation. Adopt the language, customs, and folkways of Western Civilization and America will remain, well, American.

But this is the equivalent of believing that, yes, the leopard can indeed change his spots. Massive waves of Third World refugees will enhance American democracy—if they can recite the pledge of allegiance!

Tancredo was repeating the familiar neoconservative refrain that America is not about peoples, demography or ancestral heritage, but is simply a "proposition nation" of "values" and "ideals", open to anyone willing to give them lip service.

Tancredo cited the late Samuel Huntington's contention that our national identity is grounded on a core set of values, overwhelmingly Protestant and European.

This is completely anodyne, given Tancredo's explicit non-racial emphasis. But it didn't stop the Southern Poverty Law Center telling its donors that he "expressly advocated a white nationalist point of view" anyway. What the $PLC most objected to: a quote from Tancredo that appeared in a student newspaper: "Throughout history, people who are not white Anglo-Saxon have become American by adopting a white Anglo-Saxon culture." Apparently even white Protestant values are unacceptable—let alone actual white Protestants.

And the AU audience, overwhelming multiracial and multicultural, wasn't buying it. When Tancredo said that he couldn't accept the rationale for a black student or Hispanic student association and asked the audience rhetorically if they would approve of a white student association, many in the audience applauded.

I sensed at this point that I may have more in common with the multiculturalists—those willing to acknowledge the significance of heritage and ancestry—than with a well-meaning but ineffectual advocate of assimilation.

Tancredo's apologetic tone and his harping on the necessity of "assimilation" exemplify why immigration patriots have won only short-term defensive victories against mass immigration, diversity and multiculturalism.

The long-term prospect—the type of country our grandchildren and great grandchildren will struggle to live in—should drive the programs, policies, and objectives of our leading immigration-reform organizations. And the type of country future generations of native-stock Americans will inherit rests on this maxim: demography is destiny! (If for no other reason than that the races vote systematically differently, and current immigration policy is driving the U.S. further to the left.)

Opposing  mass illegal and legal immigration, multiculturalism, and diversity while disregarding the role of race and ethnicity—above all in establishing the criteria for immigrant selection—is largely why we're in the mess we're in. It is the equivalent of not only misdiagnosing a patient but prescribing the wrong treatment—treating someone who has advanced throat cancer with Listerine.

The way out of this mess (if there is a way out) will depend on a multifaceted long-term strategy. A sizable increase in white birthrates; stripping out the incentives for non-traditional immigrants to relocate to the U.S.; reversing the cultural pollution of our "entertainment industry", which promotes diversity, multiculturalism and white demoralization—all would make for a good start.

Tancredo should have been more forthright about the necessity of preserving our Western heritage and emphasized the following measures to accomplish this objective:

  • First and foremost, the elimination of key government agencies and programs.

For starters, let's shut down the Department Of Education. The Department of Education is the single greatest promoter of multiculturalism and eliminating the department would terminate a number of multicultural initiatives.

  • Second, enforce border security.

Build a high-voltage electric fence with concertina wire, a concrete barrier, and an alligator and diamondback rattlesnake-stocked trench complete with quicksand that sends a message: cross at your own peril.

(OK, that's a joke. But you get the point.)

  • Third, strengthen our immigration laws and enforcement.

We need a second "Operation Wetback", regardless of the cost. Deport those who are here illegally; give ICE more enforcement authority to shutdown businesses who hire illegal aliens. This should have been a major part of Obama's "stimulus package".

Let's finally recognize it as the snare and delusion that it is.

Once the perverse incentives are removed, once the U.S. is no longer receptive to populations that seek to displace native-stock Americans, once the risks of relocating to America outweigh the incentives, then we can begin to reverse the destructive impact of diversity and multiculturalism.

If we make America an undesirable place for undesirables, then we can be well along the way on the long process of rescuing our nation's heritage and re-establishing a robust majority culture.

Tom Tancredo's contributions to his country and the cause of patriotic immigration reform have been invaluable. But unfortunately, he still seems clueless about what really matters when it comes to keeping America American.

A Hispanic student quoted by the University of Maryland student paper was, inadvertently, much clearer:

"Lidia Rosas [Email her] said despite Tancredo's insistence, it is very hard to separate supporting anti-immigrant politics from being prejudiced against the immigrants themselves.

"'He said he's not being racist, but just look at the people he's railing against,' a student called Lidia Rosas told the University of Maryland Student paper. 'What color are they? You can't separate the two issues.'['We need to make our voices heard', By  Marissa Lang, Diamondback Online, February 25, 2009]

"You can't separate the two issues". I second the motion.

Cooper Sterling [email him]  is a freelance writer in the Washington, DC area.

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