Take My Wife… Dammit

…and take my kids, and my brother, and my Aunt Rosita.

In what may be one the most telling developments in the ongoing immigration debacle, Mexicans, living in Mexico, are calling for a Mexican boycott of American companies, goods, and services in Mexico. Stay home from your jobs at American factories, don’t eat KFC, and don’t watch American TV.

On the one hand, this is somewhere between stupid and ironic. American business has been advocating and lobbying hard for the illegal immigrant amnesty program, and against stemming the tide of incoming aliens. They are the last organizations the Mexicans should want to punish.

But that’s not the telling part. We now have a separate country demanding that we adopt and embrace their citizens as our own. Not that the Mexican government has instigated the boycott, but they certainly haven’t spoken out against it. And the people are the ones demanding adoption. This is not an asylum issue. The Mexican government is not an oppressive one. But clearly they are not creating a society people want to live in.

To my mind, this cements as valid one of the strategies I proposed in a previous post. America should not stand in such contrast to Mexico that their people long to be here. We need to stop being such an attractive target. This means that pressure needs to be applied to the Mexican government to improve the economic situation in their own country. They also need to take their part in border control, and also need to inspire a sense of cultural and national identity in their citizenry.

And I also think Americans need to begin to contrast the cultural differences between the countries. Yes, we’re a melting pot. And no, I don’t dismiss the value of any other culture, or reject the adoption of other cultural nuances into the American culture. But maybe it’s time that we recognize that there is an American culture. And maybe it’s time that we insist that if you want to be an American, you need to adopt our language, our values, our behavior, our culture. Not because it’s better, but because it’s part of what makes us American.

That’s not to say that any of us can’t celebrate and preserve our cultural heritage. My great-grandparents were Irish. And while I still recognize and take pride in that heritage, I also recognize that they had to work hard to assimilate into America when they got here. They didn’t demand or expect that America would conform to them. They knew when they left Ireland, that they while they were bringing some things with them, they were leaving much behind.

I think it’s important that Mexicans begin to adopt that same attitude. If they want to be American, fine. There’s a process for that, and we welcome you. But if you want to be a Mexican living north of the border, that’s a different situation altogether. It doesn’t make you bad, but it doesn’t make you American, and it doesn’t give you all the rights and entitlements that go along with being American. To be here, to be one of us, you need to leave something behind. Life is full of hard choices. And maybe if that choice was harder, fewer would be rushing to make it… at least illegally.

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