Saturday, April 01, 2006

No more St. Patrick's Day?

Lou Dobbs of CNN had this to say last Monday about immigrants waving the flag of their country of origin:

"I don't think that we should have any flag flying in this country except the flag of the United States."


When it was pointed out to him that he could not condemn Mexican immigrants for waving the Mexican flag unless he also criticized Irish-Americans for waving the Irish flag on St. Patrick’s Day he said, "But let's be clear. I don't think there should be a St. Patrick's Day. I don't care who you are. I think we ought to be celebrating what is common about this country, what we enjoy as similarities as people."

Celebrating being American and all the things we have in common as Americans is a good thing and we do that a lot, especially on the Fourth of July. But why should that be the only kind of celebration allowed? Why can’t Irish-Americans celebrate being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day? Why can’t Mexican immigrants celebrate being Mexican on Cinco de Mayo and why can’t Polish-Americans celebrate Polaski Day?

A lot of Americans, apparently not including Lou Dobbs, enjoy the ethnic and cultural diversity that America enjoys as a result of being a nation of immigrants. Lou Dobbs seems to think our diversity is a weakness rather than a strength. No wonder he feels so threatened.

My wife just received a letter from Congressman Lane Evans in response to an email she sent him about the immigration issue. Picking out a few sentences from the letter, "The history of the United States is infused with the contributions of millions of immigrants. Far from being a detriment to our country, this blending of cultures has produced a mosaic of peoples that make America the strongest nation in the world."

Those are the kind of sentiments that make me want to wave an American flag.

5 comments:

paladin said...

Did Evans have anything concrete to say about his stand on the immigration issue? If so, what? (That is, if Mrs. Maverick wants to share) This Lou Dobbs thing has been getting quite a bit of buzz. Somewhere I read about one cynic who complained that having all these national nationalistic holidays (St. Patricks, Cinco de Mayo, Pulaski, etc.) was just an evil plot by the breweries so that the nation would consume mass quantities of beer! hee!hee!

Dave Barrett said...

paladin,
My wife is Mrs. Barrett. Both of us believe that if you are willing to state your opinion publicly you should attach your name to it.
I don't want to type in Lane's entire letter. He discusses the existing immigration bills pending in Congress and finds fault with all of them. He then says:
"On October 31, 2005, along with several of my colleagues, I sent a letter to the Speaker of the House requesting he consider immigration proposals that focus on comprehensive reform, including a smart border strategy that maximizs the use of vital resources and no-nonsense enforcement. Our letter also encouraged support for a system that reunites families and crates workable solutions for undocumented workers already in the U.S. We simply do not have the resources, nor would it be wise, to deport the approximate eigth to eleven million undocumented workers."
Lane's position seems to be very close to mine. Secure our boarders and treat the immigrants already here fairly and with compassion. Guest worker programs that do not provide a path to eventual citizenship create a disenfranchised under-class which would undermine our democracy and the idea of a government by and for the people.
Anyone who proposes that we deport all of illegal immigrants in the US, as Senator Frist does, is blowing smoke. If we do not have enough buses to evacuate New Orleans we certainly do not have enough to send 11 million people back to Latin America.

jcb said...

All the celebrations of individual heritages have in common that everybody's welcome to join the fun, and do so. Melting pot at work.

Dave Barrett said...

jcb,
That's right. Everybody's more than welcome to celebrate St.Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo. More holidays and celebrations are good.

paladin said...

Dave, I meant no disrespect to either you or your wife. Obviously, I know your name is Dave Barrett, but some women do not take their husband's name upon marriage. So rather than refer to your wife as "Mrs. Barrett", in the event she preferred to be called "Ms. Smith" (or whatever), I chose to go with amusing (I thought) Mrs. Maverick. In hindsight, I should have stuck with the safe "your wife". My apologies for any offense. Also, my thanks to Mrs. Barrett for sharing her Evans email or mail, or whatever.