Fifty years ago this week Teddy Kennedy and the Democrats passed legislation that moved America from being a predominantly European ancestry, to a nation that looked more like the rest of the planet (other than Europe) -- predominantly non-white.
The fact of the legislation having the effect of changing American demographics and thereby culture is not in question -- "The Party" (TP-D) would say that "we were just unaware what would happen". Ignorance is always possible, but it was certainly willful ignorance if so, Customs and Immigration Services knew what was going to happen.
In 1965, the political elite on Capitol Hill may not have predicted a mass increase in immigration. But Marian Smith, the historian for Customs and Immigration Services, showed me a small agency booklet from 1966 that certainly did. It explains how each provision in the new law would lead to a rapid increase in applications and a big jump in workload — more and more so as word trickled out to those newly eligible to come.
In any case, it produced the country that used to be America that now sits between Canada and Mexico. A country with no identifiable people, culture, religion or shared values. A country whose only definition is geography and the fact that it is divided.
Republicans should be sweeping the country, but they aren’t, because of Kennedy’s immigration law. Without post-1965 immigrants bloc-voting for the Democrats, Obama never would have been elected president, and Romney would have won a bigger landslide against him in 2012 than Reagan did against Carter in 1980.In 1965, TP was in total control of the country. I consider myself pretty well read, but I never understood exactly why my old home town is heavily Somalian, why the Twin Cities and even Rochester have large Somali populations, nor why every small town in IA has a decent Mexican restaurant. I thought it was somehow "unavoidable" given very long term US immigration policy -- as if the same laws that brought Germans, Swedes, Irish, etc just naturally allowed the Mexican, Somali, etc immigration we have seen in the last 50 years.
It wasn't, it was a specific decision made by specific people -- the Kennedy's being chief among them. Like a lot of TP actions, it was promised to be completely different than what happened, but in a rational world, we would evaluate politicians by what actually happens rather than what they promise will happen.
Here is what LBJ had to say when he signed the bill.
"This bill that we will sign today is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions," Johnson said at the signing ceremony. "It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives or add importantly to either our wealth or our power."I guess he was right about it not adding to our wealth or power!
TP firmly tells us through media and education that there is nothing that can be done about this now. It is over -- what was once America is dead and gone, and they and the people they have selected as voters are fast creating whatever they want to call the new nation. The culture will be what they say it is -- atheist, Muslim, totalitarian, 3rd world -- whatever. Those of us anachronisms that remember the old America need to just sit back and accept it.
They may well be right -- but at least it is good to know exactly who it was, and when it was that they decided to stick the knife in the eagle.
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