Here's a New Year's resolution to add to your list:
If "I resolve to be more aware of the efforts of well-organized, well-funded and influential organizations whose mission it is to destroy the United States as I know and love it. I further resolve to become more active in fighting back."
This is a column I would not have written five years ago. I may not have written it two years ago. But after studying immigration and language issues closely, it is obvious that those who want to change America beyond recognition have the access, the influence, the money and the power to do it.
Those who want to preserve America—what's left of it—are sinking into the quicksand.
My first columns appeared in the Stockton Record, as it was then known. In those editorials, I commented on how federal immigration policy really worked. My perspective came from an insider's point of view based on my Lodi Adult School experiences.
I saw immediately that everything was wrong with U.S. immigration policy. And I also knew exactly where we were headed.
In my naiveté I thought that when others learned what was so abundantly clear to me, then reform would follow. Surely, I reasoned, change was inevitable.
I was wrong.
If you had said to me in 1988 that fifteen years hence California would have a $35 billion deficit and preparing to fire policemen, teachers and park rangers while still providing education, medical and a host of other benefits to illegal aliens, I would never have believed it.
But that's where we are.
I could write 800 pages on this subject but I am limited to 800 words. That small amount of space permits only two brief overviews of how those who want to crush us are succeeding.
First, the recent ugly incident at the Lawrence School by non-English speaking parents demanding more bilingual services and greater respect for their Hispanic culture was most certainly not the work of a handful of concerned Moms and Dads.
The National Council of La Raza or the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, both of which are generously funded by the Ford Foundation, have played an active role in organizing demonstrations to relentlessly press for more bilingual education. Their involvement—directly or indirectly—is probable.
Or more ominously the National Limited English Proficiency Advocacy Task Force might have orchestrated the protest. The newly-created task force has one purpose: to sue those who aren't complying with Executive Order 13166.
The E.O., signed into law as one of President Bill Clinton's last official acts, states that any organization that receives a dime of federal money for any purpose must provide free interpreting services.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the American Immigration Lawyers Association are gearing up to enforce E.O. 13166. Looking off into the horizon, those lawyers see nothing but dollar signs.
(For a more comprehensive look at the litigious activities of these various groups, go to Ho Ho! This Inverted Santa Clause Wants Your Money (In Any Language).)
Second, you have doubtlessly read about a group of so-called "vigilantes" or an "armed militia" patrolling the border between Arizona and Mexico. These individuals have been widely denounced in the mainstream media and generally portrayed as loose cannons. Some are "reported to have links to hate groups."
On a trip to the border (coincidentally on 9/11) I met several of them and listened to their stories.
What you have not read is that the ranchers pleaded for years with the federal government to help them protect their land and their families. They have written, called, e-mailed and FAXed. Some have traveled to Washington, D.C. to beg the government to enforce the law.
One rancher told me that he became so frustrated when Senator John McCain wouldn't reply that he got on a plane and went directly to the Senator's office.
Over the course of several days, McCain repeatedly refused to speak to his constituent.
Given that these law-abiding, taxpaying citizens have been ignored for years and given further that there is no end in sight to the trespassing and destruction that takes place on their property, I'm not surprised that the ranchers are now policing the border themselves. What recourse do they have?
And by the way, as part of your new resolution, the next time you read the phrase "linked to hate groups," may I suggest that you contact the reporter to demand the specifics of what "hate" activity took place and when and where it happened.
We now live in an era where "rights" are extended to those who have no "right" to be in the U.S. The rest of us are dismissed as racists or kooks. We're marginalized or, the most effective weapon, dismissed.
But with public awareness on the rise, 2003 represents a brief window of opportunity to lay the foundation for meaningful change prior to the 2004 election year.
The trend since 1988 is well defined. And what the next 15 years will hold is certain - unless concerned citizens speak out.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.