Maryland, Multiculturalism, and Mass Immigration

For most of this month, while the rest of the country worried about what was happening in Iraq, the state of Maryland had other concerns—namely, whether its governor, Robert L. Ehrlich, is too insensitive to the Tower of Babel into which mass immigration has helped convert his state and the nation.

Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican whose major effort so far has been to push for legalizing slot machines, spouted off on a recent radio talk show in Baltimore about the theory and practice of what is known as "multiculturalism"—the idea that immigrants from non-Western cultures should not assimilate to Western and American cultural norms. The state—or at least the self-appointed and often taxpayer-funded multiculturalist mafia—has been jabbering about what he said ever since.

"I reject the idea of multiculturalism," the governor said. "Once you get into this multicultural crap, this bunk, you run into a problem. With respect to this culture, English is the language. Should we encourage young folks here to be assimilated, to learn the culture and values? Of course." The governor was defending a remark made by former governor and current Comptroller, the curmudgeonly 82-year old William Donald Schaeffer, who was grousing about not being able to be understood at a local McDonald's. "I don't want to adjust to another language. This is the United States. I think they ought to adjust to us," the Comptroller said. ."[Transcript, Listen]

Well, now, a tip of the sombrero to Gov. Ehrlich and Mr. Schaeffer, though not everyone is tipping. The Montgomery County Council immediately passed a resolution [PDF] expressing "deep concern" over Mr. Ehrlich's remarks (Mr. Schaeffer, a Democrat, was not mentioned), and professional Hispanics around the state soon chimed in as well with various recommendations as to how he should be punished.

The Washington Post reports that state Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, herself a Salvadoran immigrant, believes the governor needs "diversity training." Miss Gutierrez says "I think what the governor said absolutely is offensive" and "It's also a dangerous comment." Montgomery County Councilman Thomas Perez, son of Dominican immigrants, prefers a different fate for Mr. Schaeffer. "He said Schaefer should return to that McDonald's to sit down and have lunch with the employee who served him. 'He'd learn that person is no different than anyone else in this country.'" How Mr. Schaeffer could learn that when the employee doesn't speak English is not entirely clear. [Ehrlich Calls Multiculture Idea 'Bunk' | Radio Show Remarks Offend Latino Leaders By Matthew Mosk Washington Post, May 8, 2004]

The very idea of these two gringos going around claiming that immigrants should adapt to the country they've chosen to come to and even learn its language. Whose country do they think it is, after all? Someone should explain to them the real meaning of mass immigration, which new Americanoes like Miss Guttierez and Mr. Perez understand perfectly well.

That meaning is this: Mass immigration means revolution, the displacement of one people and its culture by others, and anyone who still thinks immigrants should assimilate to the old culture has missed the whole point of the last 30 years. Sadly, among those who have missed the point is Mr. Ehrlich himself.

In the inevitable clarification the governor had to issue, he did not back away or apologize for what he said—to his immense credit. He did, however, try to clamber onto safer grounds by invoking the traditional idea of immigration and the duty of assimilation.

"In America we have a singular culture, common values and a common language," the governor explained. "It's a common history, it's a common culture…. We should not separate ourselves. This is a melting pot society. ... I think we need to get back to our roots, which is to celebrate the melting pot."

Unfortunately, that's not quite good enough. The "melting pot" metaphor may have been appropriate when immigration came largely from Europe, with similar languages, religious beliefs, political cultures, and moral and social values. Today it doesn't.

Today not only do the fragments in the pot not melt into the common history and common culture, they openly and deliberately reject them —as "racist" and exclusive. Immigrants, in particular Hispanics, who make up the largest component, now have the numbers to thumb their noses at the common history and common culture and the very suggestion that they should assimilate to it. Soon they will have the numbers to kick the common culture into the gutters.

To old Americans nothing either Mr. Ehrlich or Mr. Schaeffer said is offensive or wrong, but what their remarks and the governor's later explanation tell us is that neither understands the inexorable logic of mass immigration: When you let an alien people invade your country, sooner or later your country will lose its culture and its identity. Those who continue to defend them will find themselves consigned to diversity training—if they're lucky.

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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control. Click here for Sam Francis' website. Click here to orderhis monograph, Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American Political Future and here for Glynn Custred's review.]