Wednesday, August 25, 2010

America In Retreat

America is losing ground, literally and figuratively. For decades, I’ve taught young people how the United States was born - and how it expanded to the configuration on the maps I use to teach - the lower forty-eight with Alaska and Hawaii scrunched in alongside. The maps don’t indicate how tenuous our hold on the territory within that familiar shape is becoming, but it’s getting weaker. That’s ominous - not only for us, but for the whole world.In spite of several warnings not to, I drove to the Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona last June, right after school got out. (See previous articles here and here.) Ordinary people I met in Tucson told me it was dangerous down there, but I went anyway and stopped when I got to the pathetic border fence where I pulled over and parked on a Monday afternoon. Half the signs were in Spanish. Hispanic men were sitting in groups of three or four on the sidewalks watching me get out of my car and walk around. The first several people I tried to talk to didn’t speak English - and I was still in the United States.I walked into the Nogales Historical Society next to a pawn shop. The man behind the desk in the office didn’t speak English. Another man came in and he didn’t speak English either. Exhibits favorable to Mexican bandits and revolutionaries proliferated.Seeing a McDonalds on a hill nearby and knowing they had wifi service, I drove up. Nobody spoke English there either and it was surrounded by a chain link fence topped with razor wire. Remember, I was still on the US side of the border, which I could see from the parking lot.Private homes in the area had bars on their windows.Those, and the security fence reminded me of traveling in the West Bank three years ago.

I left my car and walked across into Mexico. There were no clerks to challenge me, just a one-way turnstyle because nobody tries to sneak into that godforsaken country, and no wonder: A week later 21 people were massacred just 12 miles away. I didn’t feel safe in a country where the government is as corrupt as the drug lords. Two blocks in was a hotel outside of which were heavily-armed soldiers guarding government officials meeting inside. After an hour of being accosted by men selling viagra and prostitutes, I turned around.

I stood in line for another hour looking at pictures of Barack Obama and Janet Napolitano, waiting to get back into my country. I showed my passport, walked back across, then drove up International Street alongside the pathetic border fence where overworked US Border Patrol Agents in white-and-green pick up trucks drove around frantically trying to catch the thousands of illegals who jump over it every month.One told me to get out of there because it was “too dangerous.” I asked if he needed more help from our government to control the border, but he got nervous and referred me to his superiors at headquarters.

Last week, interviewed Cochise County Arizona Sheriff Larry Dever, who said: “And you frankly have Border Patrolmen--and I know this from talking to Border Patrol agents—who will not allow their agents to work on the border because it is too dangerous. Now what kind of message is that for crying out loud?”


Also last week, Jim Couri reported at that: “On the heels of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents' 258-0 ‘vote of no confidence’ against their superiors, U.S. Border Patrol agents [in Tucson] are slamming President Barack Obama's administration - especially Attorney General Eric Holder.”

US National Park officials are warning Americans about the danger of Mexican drug smugglers inside the US. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said most illegal aliens are smuggling drugs.

Just the other day, An 18-year-old American woman was kidnapped in Texas, taken across the Mexican border and held for ransom. “U.S. authorities did not contact their Mexican counterparts because they did not know whether they were corrupted or connected to the girl’s captors,” San Juan, Texas Police Chief Juan Gonzalez said.

Drug cartels see America full of addicts and their own country in anarchy. Peasants see America as paradise with free medical care and education, and their own country as non-functioning. Our government and Mexico’s “government” pretend all this isn’t so. Working together, they pretend Arizona is the problem for trying to protect itself from invasion by millions of violent foreign drug dealers and illiterate campesinos.

The violent anarchy that is Mexico is spreading north, enabled by our federal government. We’re losing ground. Most of our fifty states are effectively bankrupt or chafing at escalating power in Washington. Some are talking nullification - even secession. We’re in danger of boiling over.

America saved the world from fascist and communist dictatorship in the 20th century and it’s the only obstacle to the chaos of radical Islamic terrorism in the 21st. Our enemies, however, no long fear us.They see us as a paper tiger governed by a president who apologizes for our past greatness while running us into bankruptcy.

We’re losing ground on many fronts.

That’s ominous for us - and for the rest of the world as well. Who else but America has the courage and the might to keep chaos at bay? The UN? After us, the deluge.


Anonymous said...

Writing from Texas, I can see that a lot of your comments may be true. I do, however, trust the American people to use their votes in November to begin the turnaround back to sanity...otherwise your predictions may well become reality; God help us all.

Anonymous said...

This is not a new problem and your implication is that the current administration is to blame. The problem of illegal entry has been going in for a long time. Ask the so called 'Native Americans'. We overwhelmed them with our military might and now we think we can control the world with that same force. Its time we brought the armies home and let the rest of the world take its chances. We are incapable of policing ourselves at home. What arrogance to believe we can control the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

Great column; the problem is the pitiful response to one of the two or three main problems we now face.

The bigger picture is that if we fail it will mark the end of the so-called Anglo-Saxon Hegemony which has been in place for over 200 years. If this occurs who will replace us? Only one name comes to mind, China, and then God help us.

We will have to face the fact that the alternative will be to throw our weight behind powering up the UN.


Tom McLaughlin said...

They're out there. Don't doubt it. Got this via email:

Subject: America saved World from Fascism?
Date: August 26, 2010 5:52:36 PM EDT

Really? What about our allies the Soviets? No role there at all? Well, fascism is alive and well in America and we are going to extirpate that cancer from the face of the earth once and for all when the final struggle comes. That struggle is very near and you are scared to death...


Sent from my iPhone

My response:

Our allies the Soviets could not have won without the USA. Arguably, we might not have won without them either, but they made a treaty with Hitler which he broke. They were our "allies" only under the principle "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." I'd have let Patton go ahead and take care of them in 1945 as he wanted to. The Soviets were bigger scumbags than the Nazis anyway. Stalin murdered more people than Hitler did.

The final struggle? No such thing, unless you're talking about the Apocalypse. There will always be struggles. Do I fear the coming "boiling over"? Not looking forward to it, but I see it coming. It's inevitable because too many Americans are unaware how many people who think like you are out there, but they're waking up and speaking out. They're called the Tea Party now, and they're opposing your agenda. What are you? La Raza?

What does "Muera El Fascio" mean?

I'm posting this on my web site under comments.

Anonymous said...

I stopped responding to Tom’s sophomoric ramblings several months ago for a variety of reasons and over the summer I saw a couple of different studies that validated my reasons. The first was a study done by the University of Michigan that suggests that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with the facts -- and often become even more attached to their beliefs – which nails Tom squarely on the head. Talking sense to Tom is futile. Facts proving him wrong just make him more angry and mean-spirited in his arguments.

The other article I saw was a poll in which 84% of Tea Partiers actually think that their spin on reality is shared by the majority of Americans. They are blind to the fact that to most people they are just a small group of wackos trying to force their extremist positions on the public.

Tom’s latest piece is just another example of hysterical, Chicken Little bellowing about Mexicans taking over the USA. I laughed my ass off picturing him bumbling around the border like Mr. Bean, getting in peoples way.

Anyway, I guess I am writing to encourage rational thinkers to simply ignore Tom’s rants and to just leave this site to his little group of a dozen or so followers. Once they’ve drunk their Kool-Aid there is no saving them by using facts and rational logic. Might as well let them have their little forum to whine and complain about the USA.

Anonymous said...

I see your point in ignoring the fool, but he is such an easy, irresistable target...

Take his quoting that loony Brewer! Most illegal aliens are drug runners!!!!

This was such an exaggeration that the labor union representing the nearly 20,000 border patrol agents called her on it.

T.J. Bonner of the National Border Patrol Council told CNN that Brewer's comments don't "comport with reality -- that's the nicest way to put it."

That's about as nice as I can put it for Tom as well...he just doesn't comport with reality


This site is funnier than Saturday Night Live!!!

Go on Tom, tell us - do you believe Brewer?

Anonymous said...

About the comment that it is impossible to have rational, fact based discussions with people who have drank the Kool-Aid...

That saying is now out of date. The new saying is people who have drunk the TEA.

Don't drink the tea, it will cause severe cases of pseudo-patriotism, delusion, ill will towards others, and incoherent babbling.

Anonymous said...

Here is the opinion of another educator, Professor Bill Hing of USC when asked if he thought illegal immigration was a big problem in our country:

"No! I think the so-called immigration problem is not even in the top 100 problems facing the United States. If what we’re concerned about as a country are things ranging from National Security to the economy to health care to the environment etc., etc. The fact there are people in the United States with undocumented status, that is not a direct correlation between that and any of the four or five things I’ve mentioned. Of course, what anti immigrant folks will say is, “How can you say there are no connections between undocumented workers and national security?” In fact, all one needs to do is look at the 9-11 Commission report to find that there was no connection between so called “illegal immigration” and the perpetrators of the attacks. Those are all people who came to the country legally, they were well vetted by Al Qaeda in terms of their backgrounds; they all appeared squeaky clean. They did not come across the Mexican border. Illegal immigration, to me, is not even a problem when I say it isn’t in the Top 100. The people who are the topic of the complaints are decent, hardworking people, law abiding people. People with strong family values. They respect the environment. They love this country. They are conservative in many ways. If people only took the time to get to know them, then they’d realize how it’s really not a problem."

Yet the chicken littles remain -

The Mexicans are coming! The Mexicans are coming!

Anonymous said...

You repeat the same tired old statement that our president has apologized for the USA being great. I know you were called on that a while ago to. You were never able to come up with the quote in which he did so. Yet you repeat it, showing perfectly that the previously mentioned study was right - facts don't matter to many people. I do remember a poster showing several direct quotes from Reagan and Bush apologizing for American acts though.

Truth is a pesky thing, huh?

Anonymous said...

Here is an excerpt from the Washington Post that perfectly describes Tom and his hysterical ilk:

The right-wing, blinded by its own hysteria

By Eugene Robinson
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When did the loudmouths of the American right become such a bunch of fraidy-cats and professional victims? Or is it all just an act?
The faction that likes to portray itself as a bunch of John Waynes and "mama grizzlies," it turns out, spends an awful lot of time cowering in the corner and complaining.
Look at the hysteria over illegal immigration. Facts don't matter -- for example, that the flow of undocumented migrants has decreased, or that border enforcement under President Obama is much tougher than under George W. Bush, or that illegal immigrants are not responsible for any kind of crime wave. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), has gone so far as to sound the alarm about alleged "terror babies." The idea is that undocumented pregnant women would cross the border so that their children could have U.S. citizenship, then take the babies away to be raised as terrorists -- who would be able to come back in 20 years or so, with legitimate U.S. passports, and presumably wreak untold havoc. No, I did not make that up.
Is the far right really afraid of its own shadow? Do these people really have so little faith in our nation's strength, resilience and values? I hope this is all just cynical political calculation, because there are genuine threats and challenges out there. We'll be better off meeting them with a spine, not a whine.

DAWN said...

wow. It is true. The tea parties are having an effect on the liberals. They are definitely feeling left out.

My liberal friend went to a Democratic meeting last week. She said they spent most of the meeting trashing the tea parties.

I'm not a tea partier but I can see from observation that the left is scared stiff right now and seem to be getting more and more desperate in their rants, insults, contradictions and heresay even more than before.

As far as I'm concerned when it comes to attacking someone's character instead of the issue at hand, you've lost not only the argument but also all credibility.

Anonymous said...

Scared stiff of the Tea Baggers??!!??


Good one, Dawn.

It's funny having non-liberals declaring how liberals feel. I know how I feel and I agree with those other liberals over at the Huffington Post who celebrate the tea party because although "the Democrats are going to lose seats in Congress this November, thanks to the Tea Party, the losses are likely to be smaller than they might otherwise be.

Tea Partiers are certain to push Republican candidates to the right. In the Republican primaries, moderates will lose against more hard-line conservatives or be forced to take more conservative positions than they might otherwise like. Those more conservative Republicans and right-leaning stances will have less appeal to the independents and moderates who usually cast the decisive votes in the general election. Democrats will be the beneficiaries."

And the thought of the Tea Party pushing Palin to the Gop nomination in 2012 is a liberal’s wildest fantasy, a guaranteed Obama reelection!

Scared of the Tea Party? Pretty hard to be scared of something when you are busting a gut laughing at it!

Tom McLaughlin said...

To the last Gutless Anonymous:
We agree that:

"Tea Partiers are certain to push Republican candidates to the right. In the Republican primaries, moderates will lose against more hard-line conservatives or be forced to take more conservative positions than they might otherwise like."

That's a good thing.

We disagree on:

"Those more conservative Republicans and right-leaning stances will have less appeal to the independents and moderates who usually cast the decisive votes in the general election. Democrats will be the beneficiaries."

The Dems will be out because their votes are bankrupting the country and violating the Constutution. Those concerns will trump any other stances conservative Republicans may take on social issues like abortion or homosexual "marriage."

Prediction: Dems will lose both houses of Congress.

Future generations and the United States itself will be the beneficiaries.

Clark said...

So Mr. Spineless apprears only to avoid the question of whether he believes Brewer's moronic statement and doge the matter of his goofy lies about apologies.

Who is the gutless one?


Anonymous said...

We all know what happened the last time that the GOP took control of both houses under Bush.

Hopefully our country can withstand another disaster like that. Obama will certainly have his work cut out for him keeping the ship righted.

Something has to be done about the pitiful state of BOTH political parties. It needs to be made easier for true independents to make serious runs.

DAWN said...

"Scared of the Tea Party? Pretty hard to be scared of something when you are busting a gut laughing at it!"

ahhhh say what you want but no one was laughing at the last Democratic meeting held here.

The Dems spent most of their meeting time trashing the tea party. You don't usually pay that much attention to something that's not serious. There wasn't too much laughter going on.

Tony said...

still waiting on the gutless wonder to respond!


Rich said...

How hilarious that after Tom's Chicken Little act about America "losing ground" on illegal immigration, and talk of our "tenuous hold getting weaker", that studies come out proving that in reality illegal immigration is on the DECLINE!

If Tom had an ounce of integrity or self respect...

Kevin said...

Let's give Tom the benefit of the doubt and just say he is simply a very bad investigator and a bit low on the intelligence scale. The alternative would be that he is a lying scumbag who cares not at all for truth.

Perhaps he really does believe some of his nonsense and has been spending the last several days dtrying in vain to find any evidence of his crazy crowd estimates, his fantasy apologies by Obama, the "growing" illegal alien problem, and evidence that most illegals are drug runners.

Give up yet, Tom? Still researching?


Kevin said...

Tom's silence is deafening!

Remember Curt Schilling's quote about how great it was to pitch in Yankee Stadium and get 80,000 New Yorkers to shut up?

I say how great it is to get one insincere blowhard to shut up!!!

Tom McLaughlin said...

Well guys, I've been working on this week's column which I'll post tomorrow. If you didn't like this one, you won't like that one either.

I've written what I think and you've written what you think. I'm confident that most readers will agree with me. I believe they'll vote out Democrats in November as well for the same reason. Then they'll get rid of your hero, President Obama, in 2012.

Unfortunately, the only alternative to Democrats so far is the Republican Party and I agree: they didn't do very well either when they controlled the White House and the Congress. The best we can say about them is that they weren't as bad as Democrats.

Liberal Republicans are losing in the primaries (witness Murkowski, Bennett, Crist), just like liberal Democrats will lose in the general election come November. I suspect you know this and I sense your panic.

When you feel those panic attacks coming on, take deep breaths.

Kevin said...

I don't like dumbocrats any better than I do republicans. Ok, maybe just a little bit better because they don't leave our country in quite the disastrous state as republicans. But they certainly don't impress me.

What good is taking sides and blindly trying to defend our choices (neither which are good) with misinformation and outright lies? (which are indefensible, as you have shown)

By stating we won't like your new column I can only imagine it is like your others - full of malarky that you can't, and therefore won't even try, to defend.

Just throw your garbage out there and hide like a chicken when corrected and given the facts.

Try just once to write a column that you can be proud of, that you can defend. Self-integrity is a good feeling. I hope someday you evolve to see what it feels like.