With immigration smothering California, it tells us
something about the state of American democracy that not
a single major candidate for governor ever mentions the
There are minor candidates, like the intrepid
columnist, who grasp what`s going on in California
and don`t hesitate to tell voters about it, but few seem
to pay much attention.
One who seems to have paid no attention to much of
Linda Chavez, the Republican Party`s Professional
Hispanic Female Neo-conservative. In a column in the
San Diego Union last week she virtually endorsed the
GOP`s favorite musclehead, Arnold Schwarzenegger, at
a time that almost all other conservatives were rightly
insisting that Arnold is
no conservative at all.
Well, OK, Mr., Schwarzenegger did support
California`s Proposition 187 back in 1994, the ballot
measure that denied public benefits to illegal
immigrants and their children, but virtually the only
conservative position he is known to have taken is
precisely what Miss Chavez tried to explain away.
“I am no fan of `Prop. 187`," she writes.
"I spoke out against it at the time and agreed with the
opinion of a federal court that declared the measure
The reason it was struck down was the same sort of
phony constitutionalism that real conservatives have
come to know and despise – Prop 187 would have denied
the children of illegal aliens access to public schools
in California, and the
courts had already
decided that such children have a constitutional
right to being educated at the taxpayer`s expense.
Even so, Prop 187, as Miss Chavez acknowledges,
won with some 59 percent of the popular vote in
California. It also resuscitated the political career of
Gov. Pete Wilson, who campaigned for it, and carried to
victory at least five Republican congressional
candidates, which helped the party win a congressional
majority in 1994.
So what should the Republicans do? Repudiate it, as
Miss Chavez and most neo-cons (Bill Kristol, Jack Kemp,
William Bennett) at the time demanded, and
shut up about immigration control forever.
So much for the neo-con
contribution to the GOP majority.
So now, Miss Chavez is back with more advice for her
party. Mr. Schwarzenegger, it turns out, was on the
board of a group called
U.S. English, which believes immigrants should learn
the English language. Miss Chavez used to be the group`s
president but resigned because its founder wrote what
she calls "a private memorandum that was both
anti-Hispanic and anti-Catholic."
"The memo," she writes, "alleged that the
influx of so many Catholic immigrants from Latin America
and Asia was going to alter the demographics of the
country because of their higher birthrates, so that, in
his words, `For the first time in history those of us
with our pants up will be caught by those with their
So what is either "anti-Catholic" or "anti-Hispanic"
Why is the sentiment expressed false or
More importantly, why did Miss Chavez resign from
U.S. English because of what was written in a "private
SPLC, which considers
almost everyone racist
has posted this private memo – from the heroic Dr. John
Tanton – on its website, readers are invited to
see for themselves how
inoffensive it is. And while you`re at it, you can read
Dr. Tanton`s reply to the SPLC
More important still, why does anyone pay any
attention at all to this dingbat?
Miss Chavez is worried that California`s voters might
actually think Mr. Schwarzenegger supported the
memorandum`s views, but she grants him the favor of
Since she was president of the organization at the
time and resigned because of the memo and Mr.
Schwarzenegger was on the advisory board and didn`t
resign, she`s probably wrong about that too.
No doubt, but the main reason we should want
immigrants to learn English is not because it helps them
be successful but because English is the language of the
country and a major part of the
cultural heritage from which the country and its
core population come.
Indeed, whatever it is
she does grasp is probably not what the Republican
Party needs to hear much about.
She misses the point of the single most important
issue of the last decade and still doesn`t get either
its intrinsic merits or political importance.
She resigns from the leadership of a group because an
internal memo expressed ideas both true and important
but which she both misunderstood and feared.
It would be well advised to pay her no further
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
[Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,