Gluten-Free, Borders-Free
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For a lunch escape from the office, I headed for a local fast-food joint with a copy of the Washington Post's Super Tuesday roundups, complete with an appetite-destroying picture of a victorious John McCain on the front. Unfolding before me in the line was a scene typical of the new multicultural America: A trim, expensive-but-casually dressed white male in his late 30's or early 40's was demanding nutrition information from the Hispanic woman behind the counter.

I didn't catch all the details, but it had to do with corn-based versus wheat-based, or something like that. From the words and tone, it sounded like a persnickety yuppie health concern. As you might expect, the woman behind the counter spoke practically no English. The man angrily demanded a manager. No manager here, the woman said. The man huffed, turned on his heel, and stormed out.

It was a small vignette, but so telling about our times. Here was this obviously well-educated white man, likely liberal-leaning, with concerns about food ingredients that would baffle any resident of the Third World, happy as they would be to get any food, much less gluten-free food. I'll guess he's not concerned about immigration, legal or otherwise (but even if he is, let's more safely assume there's a huge body of liberal whites out there with big concerns about carbon footprints and glutens who simultaneously denounce as bigoted anyone concerned about immigration). His little food concern evaporates in the world of non-English-speaking people. Does he—or those like him—make the connection? That precious little world of expensive coffees, L'Occitane and Saabs is but a delicate flower crushed under the heel of an advancing onslaught.

Could this be a new rallying cry? Save liberalism: stop immigration.

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