For those of us in California who fear we may be losing the culture that was handed down to us from the Enlightenment of Hobbes, Locke, and Smith and of course, our founders, men such as Jefferson and Madison, the rise of Cruz Bustamante may bear some alarming parallels to the career of the fifth century Vandal warlord, Odoacer. By the middle of the fifth century, the citizenry of the Western Roman Empire was exhausted due to their long endurance of unremitting Gothic invasions and more and more burdensome taxes levied to support their besieged armies and bloated government. But the Vandals, Huns, and Goths kept coming across the Rhine, invading, pillaging, and then settling inside the Empire’s borders, oblivious to Roman law and culture. In their desperate attempts at appeasement, the Roman Senate made many of the invading warlords generals in the Roman Armies, ceded new lands to their hoards, and even made several Master of the Soldiers, the Emperor’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Then in 476 A.D. the “Vandal Pirate King,” Odoacer, deposed the boy emperor, Romulus Augustus, a date and event marked by most historians of the period as the official end the Western Roman Empire that had ruled most the western world for nearly 200 generations. (The Byzantine eastern Roman Empire continued for nearly another millennium, until it fell to the Islamic armies, those practitioners of the “religion of peace” who in 1453 renamed the former capital, Constantinople, Istanbul.)
Published in 1997, in what many believe is a very prescient book, Samuel Huntington begins The Clash of Civilizations, with the following passage,
“On October 16, 1994, in Los Angeles, 70,000 people marched beneath a sea of Mexican flags protesting Proposition 187, a referendum that would deny state benefits to illegal immigrants and their children. Why are they marching with Mexican flags demanding this country give them a free education,” an observer asked. Two weeks later more marchers did carry the American flag-upside down…Proposition 187 was passed by 59 percent of the California voters.”
His supporters celebrate Cruz Bustamonte as the first Hispanic to hold a statewide office in California since Romualdo Pacheco who was elected governor in 1875. (Presumably, racism wasn’t an industry then.) As of this writing, Bustamante still seems to have a distinct advantage in next week’s recall election because he is the lone career Democrat on the ballot to appear below the recall-Davis line. While many even in his own party fear that his openly tax-more-and-spend-more policies render him not ready for prime time, he could become the next governor of the nation’s most populous, most Democrat-dominated and most fiscally mismanaged state. (Our deficit exceeds nearly all other statewide budgets.)
To continue the Odoacer corollary, Bustamante outspokenly not only defends perennial Democrat constituencies like big unions, but also the radical Hispanic separatists who promote the ongoing invasion (more accurately stated, the redemographication) of the American Southwest, its metamorphosis into a hybrid culture, and its ultimate repatriation to Mexico.
The operative questions this article seeks to answer are, given the current $38 billion deficit crisis we Californians already face, Who is the Hispanic far left?…How many are they?…What do they want?…And how grave a danger do they and their patron, Cruz Bustamonte, pose to those who wish to retain the prevailing culture that is inherent within U.S. sovereignty?
For those Westerners who fear a loss of culture and a resulting kind of balkanized, tyranny of the majority, a brief look at the Golden State’s rapidly changing demographics would confirm their disquiet. For one thing, the state is rapidly becoming Hispanic. Now home to 34 million people, the percentage of Latinos legally living here has quadrupled since 1950 to 38% of the population or roughly 13 million. No one knows definitively how many additional illegals are here. Estimates are another 2 to 4 million. Many migrate back and forth across our porous, lightly defended border. Given the current immigration policies or lack thereof, by 2020 or sooner, Hispanics will become California’s majority group, surpassing white Europeans and all others combined.
Based on 2000 election polling data, Latinos represent 15% of California’s voting population. But with a fellow Chicano on the ballot next week, that percentage is likely to increase. And given that the presidential election of 2000 was decided by a margin 500 votes in Florida, the Hispanic swing vote, those occupying the middle 50% of Democrats, could easily be pivotal in capturing the country’s largest Electoral College state in next year’s presidential election.
It’s important also to note that California’s Latino voters are not static or monolithic. Based on 2000 election polling data, 30% are conservative and voted for Bush. Roughly the same percentage today support proposition 187 referenced above and are against providing drivers licenses even to their illegal countrymen.
Polling data suggests that an additional 50% of Latinos are middle-of-the-road Democrats. Predictably, those within this camp vary from moderates to liberals.
And those who roughly make up the final 20% of California Hispanics, are typically but not always members of organizations like La Raza, LULAC or MECHA, are those who call themselves Chicanos or in the case of Bustamante’s old fraternity, Mechistas (MEChA stands for Moviemiento Estudiantil Chicano de Azatlan). They are the separatist, ethnocentrist, far left and are perfectly welcome inside the Democrat electoral tent. The party of John F. Kennedy, the president who said that we would pay any price and bear any burden to preserve freedom, today knowingly welcomes openly seditious secessionists, such are the depths to which it has sunk .
In answer to the querie, “What do they want?” California’s far-left Hispanics are the most fervent supporters of a free and open border with Mexico, unfettered migration, affirmative action for Latinos in hiring, lower subsidized college tuition rates for Hispanic Americans and even illegals, and of course, higher taxes on the rich and corporations to fund government programs that aid Hispanics in acquiring housing, medical care, education and other sundry needs.
Unprecedented in modern California politics, Bustamante makes no attempt to distance himself from his association with Mechistas or from the broader separatist, Hispanic far left. MEChA members form a very large network of student organizations at universities across the country, most with their own websites. A web search of their founding documents like the Islamists’ call to jihad, what seems to most animate the Latino far left is their brand of “cultural nationalism” also called “Chicanismo” and the quest for reunification of “Azatlan” with Mexico. They essentially reject the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ceded to the United States those northern lands and are fervently resistant to assimilation into what their websites refer to as the “brutal imperialist gringo” culture.
As one studies the various MEChA websites, one will notice positive references to but no direct links to their founding documents written in the late 60s, El Plan de Santa Barbara and El Plan Espiritual de Azatlan. This is undoubtedly because, to varying degrees they read like early Marx or Trotsky or worse. They are calls to secessionism, racism, anti-Semitism and implicit violence.
I spoke to some experts to help answer the questions: Who makes up the Hispanic far left? How great a threat does it pose to Californians who wish to retain the civilization formed around representative government, and most importantly, tolerance toward all who wish to live in fealty with the U.S. constitution? Make no mistake; the prime movers behind the Hispanic far left envision no such Jeffersonian egalitarianism. Quoting Miguel Perez a senior MEChA advisor at Cal State Northridge, “The ultimate ideology is the liberation of Azatlan…non-Chicanos would have to be expelled…opposition groups would have to quashed.”
Mark Krikorian, of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington D.C. states flatly that minus major reductions in new immigrants and major policy changes, California’s cultural preservationists are losing the culture war because we are failing to provide an environment where new immigrants become deeply assimilated. “Sure,” Mark says, “through mass communications they will learn English fairly well and drive on the right side of the road.” But because of two other factors, they are failing to see our history as their own. “One of those factors,” Mark states, “is that the reigning ideology of multiculturalism, that is the ambivalence toward patriotism and the worth of our own society, has taken root every school, in every church, and in every human resources department in the country. And then you add to that the fact that virtually all of the country’s Latino elites, are uniformly hostile to a traditional conception of what America is…”
“And by elites, who do you mean?” I asked.
“Almost everyone who is the head of an organization and that speaks as a Hispanic. (or who has Latino, Hispanic or Chicano in front of his her job description). “The head of the Latino Democratic Caucus, Hispanic labor leaders, religious leaders, (Chicano Studies Professors and government affirmative action beaurocrats, etc.) are across the board hostile to the kind of assimilationist model that has guided American immigration for two centuries. And those elites matters because they are the filter through which the immigrant forms his opinions and judgments.”
I also spoke to Dan Stein who heads another D.C.-based immigration think tank called F.A.I.R. (Federation for American Immigration Reform) and asked him if he thought that we, in the West were losing the struggle to retain our American culture.
“Certainly. But what confounds all logic is why a group of politicians, in this case the non-Hispanic left out there would want to admit vast numbers of people who threaten the organizing principle of their own society.”
Once Hispanic immigration achieves critical mass, Dan envisions several scenarios, too lengthy to describe here, where Mexico, a third-world military power, and the Hispanic American intelligentsia realize their goal of repatriating portions of the Southwest to Mexico. “The bottom line,” he says, “Is that, in order to control territory, you have to populate it with people who are loyal to the national enterprise. And when you have loyal citizens leaving a portion of the country (as have several million Californians recently) and ceding it to people whose primary loyalty is to a foreign (bordering) power, by definition, over time, that land will eventually come under the control of that other country.”
Victor Davis Hanson also warns in his new book, Mexifornia, we are losing the culture war because there are simply too many forces both within and outside the Hispanic American community that have vested interests in discouraging Mexican assimilation. He and Dan Stein also point out, the U.S. has never had to absorb so large a group of immigrants who are not only unwilling to assimilate but that have also come here with a prior territorial claim.
I spoke to Rubin Navarette, an author and syndicated columnist with the Dallas Morning News who often writes on Latino issues, is the grandson of Mexican immigrant, and coincidentally is from Sanger, a small town near Fresno, California where both Hanson lives and Bustamante grew up. I asked him to assess whether or not he thinks that the American culture in his home state is in danger of morphing into a Hanson’s hybrid Mexifornia or being lost altogether. His view is in direct contrast to those of Mark, Dan and Victor.
“The average Mexican college kid belongs to MEChA as a support group because he’s homesick and knows nothing about the dusty old manifestos on the websites. And, bad news for Democrats, he likes Bush; he speaks only English; he’s proud of what we’ve done in Iraq and Afghanistan; his Dad served in Vietnam; has a white girlfriend; shops at the mall, and he’s as assimilated as all get out….”
“…Two generations and three wars have taken place since the MEChA manifestos were written and things have changed. Ironically though, the dream of a new Azatlan still may come to pass, not because these college kids are leading a revolution but because we are hiring them to be our nannies and gardeners. The revolution, little “r”, is not due to radicalism its due to capitalism.”
“So if none or very few are really trying to repatriate the American Southwest back to Mexico, what is their agenda?” I asked.
“Good news for the Republicans. New polling data is showing that first generation Hispanic immigrants who are coming here from the corrupt government of Mexico, one which was always telling them it will do everything for them, you know, the fabled socialist paradise, and are connecting that message with the Democrat party in the United States. And this new trend suggests that these newest immigrants who, by their nature have a strong work ethic and optimism about the future, are gravitating toward the Republicans now.”
Navarette contends that the concepts of America, economic opportunity and freedom and even old-fashioned patriotism and are too powerful and are winning out as they always have over foreign allegiances and loyalties. “I’ll go on the record, in predicting that California Hispanics will vote against Bustamante and for the Republican in a much higher percentage than any of the liberal media has predicted” he says.
I met Maria Aguilera and Gavino Morales, current MEChA members of Bustamante’s former chapter at Fresno State University. (Their advisor didn’t return my phone calls.) They told me that their organization was not political but was nevertheless one of the sponsors of an upcoming campus rally voicing opposition to proposition 54 (the initiative that would prohibit the State from gathering race information). They were also solidly behind Bustamante. And while they were clearly not young Republicans, neither did they appear to be revolutionaries either.
It was somewhat telling however, that Maria, the primary student spokesperson for the chapter and a senior at the university, admitted she was not a U.S. citizen. I asked her, “Because MEChA’s founding documents clearly state that the American Southwest should not be part of the U.S. Do you think it should be repatriated to Mexico?” I asked. Her answer didn’t exactly shout love of the old red white and blue.
“We don’t look at it that way,” she began carefully, “because we are mostly indigenous. We are Mexican and in that, we are part European but we know that mostly we are indigenous. And in that sense we know the land is not ours. Our ancestors were the caretakers of the land. We don’t own it. Wherever we are, we take care of that land.”
But Gavino echoed Navarette’s sentiments exactly, “Times have changed and things have changed. And we at MEChA are going to embrace the culture that is here.”
In summary, if Navarette is right in his contention that Hispanic anti-assimilation and separatism is waning not growing, then we should see that trend in the exit polling from next week’s recall election and in next year’s presidential election. We should be able to observe that larger numbers and a larger percentage of Hispanics in these two elections are not being radicalized but instead are leaving the Democratic party that must nurture grievances and requires of its Hispanic American members a resentment toward the U.S. government, that as their elites contend, has made them foreigners in their native land.