Idiot alert! Idiot alert!
I’ve been a journalist for almost 10 years, and I finally got my first “idiot alert.” No, no one was trying to warn me about the presence of an idiot. They were warning others to the presence of my lunacy. And no, the alert didn’t come from Managing Editor Don Rogers. It came from a Web site run by one of the apocalyptos of the anti-immigration set. The idiot alert warned visitors to the Web site that there was a “pro-invasion crackpot” (me) at work in Vail, Colo.The invasion the Web site refers to, of course, is the Mexican invasion – what one e-mailer called “a de facto war by Mexico.” “The war is about to start,” another e-mailer wrote. Yes, the anti-immigration crowd is protecting Uncle Sam from our friends from south of the border who are clearly hellbent on destroying our red-white-and-blue way of life.I was surprised to learn about these diabolical schemes. I thought Mexicans, legal or not, were big baseball fans. I thought Mexicans – like Jews, Asians, the Irish and so on – come to America to share our way of life. I thought I saw in a recent edition of the Daily a story that described 11-year-old Andrew Romero chanting “USA! USA!” while rooting on the U.S. ski team. I must have been, like many of my detractors have suggested, “smoking something.”
Those savvy anti-immigration scouts have uncovered a plot: The Mexicans have infiltrated our schools (American kids are speaking Spanish, no less!) and our culture. (Did you know there’s a very popular fast-food chain called, gasp, Taco Bell?!) There are even entire U.S. states with Mexican names. Oh, why couldn’t Colorado have a nice Anglo name, like New Hampshire or Rhode Island? When did all this infiltration happen? And just who invited those Mexicans to share their rich heritage with us? Did they get permission from the Minutemen? Maybe the Minutemen should get out of their beach chairs on the border and find out how other foreigners have contaminated American culture. I mean, the Pilgrims didn’t bring sushi with them on Mayflower. And the southern colonists were too worried about their slaves to spend all afternoon making Peking duck.When I said in a recent column that American culture is a constant reblending process of local traditions and ideas brought by foreigners, one helpful person e-mailed me that the culture of the United States has “never depended upon the imposition of Third World values, attitudes and behaviors. If such had been the case,” the e-mailer argued, “the United States would be a lot like Mexico and other Third World nations.” Thank God for that. Thank God American hasn’t been tainted by such low-class Third World values like those held by Nelson Mandela, Mohatma Gandhi or Mother Theresa. Thank God American culture has the cojones to rise above that wimpy nonsense about peaceful resistance spewed in the developing world. We’ve got no time for fancy talk, we’ve got big bombs to drop on countries that aren’t threatening the Home of the Brave.
In a recent column, I also criticized immigration hawk Rep. Tom Tancredo for decrying the “cult of multiculturalism” that’s ascendant in American art and education. I thought that by understanding the worldviews of our neighbors, we may establish a richer and more harmonious homeland. But again, the anti-immigration group showed me the error of my ways. They made me realize, as one letter-writer put it, that I’ll only be satisfied when “American is a Third World cesspool torn by racial tensions.” Yes, I guess I was hoping my country goes to hell in a handbasket. I guess was hoping for a more horrible future for my unborn child. I guess I was hoping to lose my inalienable rights to freedom of speech and freedom of thought and freedom of expression. And I had thought the anti-immigration set was blowing hot air when they reminded me that they don’t hate foreigners. Many letter writers pointed out it’s an anti-illegal-immigration movement. I am so glad they showed me – no, proved to me – that they haven’t an ounce of racism or xenophobia in their patriotic bones. In a series on illegal immigration to be published in the Vail Daily later this month, Colorado state Rep. Dave Schultheis told reporter Alex Miller that illegal immigrants are dangerous because they carry diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy. But Schultheis, who’s waiting for an illegal-immigrant-borne bomb to go off in Denver, couldn’t outdo the e-mailer who wrote: “See how you feel when you must use home schooling or private school for your children as they aren’t learning in public schools or because it’s just too dangerous for them to even be there.”Or the one who wrote: “Will you proudly proclaim the ideals of being an American.? Have (you) been subjugated to the idiocy of embracing diversity to the point of national suicide?” And this one, best of all: “The only solution is first close our borders to this insanity and then mass deportation back to their home countries. We will pay far less in tax dollars to rid ourselves of this mess then to keep paying for Mexicos major export – poverty.”Now I see how the anti-immigration set is spreading understanding.
I erred when I said there was such as a thing as a law-abiding illegal immigrant. My patriotic detractors – because they follow the law so rigidly – rightfully mocked me. These flag-loving Americans never cheat on their income taxes, smoke the occasional joint, take the occasional unprescribed painkiller, share alcoholic drinks with minors or speed through school zones. Never.So, with my secret membership in the liberal “treason lobby” exposed by one e-mailer, I’ll throw my support to building a fence along the border to stop the flow of Third World culture and the other scourges brought by illegal immigrants. We can no longer abide them living next door, rooting for the Broncos, picking a majority of the vegetables us unhealthy Americas don’t eat as much as we should, or building many of the mansions that keep the real estate market booming in the Vail Valley. Because real patriots know the Iraqis are quite ready for freedom, while those undocumented Mexicans have the audacity to ask to have the Bill of Rights translated. City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14620, or firstname.lastname@example.orgVail, Colorado