View From Lodi, CA: John Lennon, Deportation, and War

[VDARE.com
note: If it seems sometimes that VDARE.COM is
anti-immigrant, this piece may dispel that impression.
We`re making an exception for John Lennon, for


sentimental reasons
: he must have been a Good
Immigrant, he came from


Lancashire.
]

When I

read
that

Bruce Springsteen,
John Mellencamp, James Taylor and
the

Dixie Chicks
, among others, will be touring to raise
money to help defeat George W. Bush, I took note of the
precise game plan.

Starting in Pennsylvania on October
1st, the rockers will travel to North
Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri,
Wisconsin and Florida. Audiences in those key states
will be able to choose from as many as six daily
“Vote for Change”
concerts.

The shows are presented and funded
by the political interest group,

MoveOn.Org

The first thought that occurred to
me about Springsteen, et al is that it is a lucky thing
for them that they are U.S. citizens and can`t be

deported
.

Deportation is exactly the tactic
another unpopular Republican president–Richard
Nixon—took against anti-Vietnam War activist John Lennon
when the one-time Beatle became a constant critic of the

Southeast Asian conflict.

Nixon was probably never much of a
Beatles fan. But he was certain to have looked askance
at Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono`s political activism.

Shortly after Lennon and Ono
released their

“Two Virgins”
album in 1968 that featured a
cover with a

naked photo
of the couple, they began using their
celebrity bully pulpit to oppose the Vietnam War.

As the war escalated so did
Lennon`s protest of it. In 1969, he recorded

“Give Peace a Chance,”
a clear statement of his
views on war and peace.

By 1971, Lennon and Ono had moved
from London into the historic Dakota apartments in New
York. Lennon, who had aligned himself with a

radical crowd
that included

Jerry Rubin
and the Chicago Seven, was now agitating
on US soil.

When Lennon`s album “Imagine” hit
number one on the charts in the fall of 1971, Nixon saw
that Lennon`s popularity and influence was at an apex.
Lennon, like the “Vote for Change” performers, wanted to
raise money, register new voters and give anti-war
rallies at his concerts.

And Nixon understood too that
Lennon`s message was getting across to the war-weary and
divided nation.

Nixon, ever the prescient
politician, realized that Lennon and his peace message
could be disruptive at the 1972 Republican Convention in
Miami Beach.

Working with Attorney General John
Mitchell, Republican Senator

Strom Thurmond
and the director of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation,

J. Edgar Hoover
, Nixon

hatched a plan
to deny Lennon`s visa renewal
application and to ultimately

deport
him.

Hoover felt that the government had
a strong case against Lennon since the singer had been
charged in 1968 with

“moral turpitude”
stemming from an

arrest
for

marijuana possession.

In a classified memo dated
February, 1972 Thurmond agreed with Nixon that Lennon
was a danger to the Presidents` 1972 reelection
campaign. Thurmond wrote "if Lennon`s visa is
terminated, it would be a strategy counter-measure."
He further

advised
"caution must be taken with regard
to the possible alienation of the so-called
18-year-old-vote if Lennon is expelled from the
country."
(The

1972 election
was the first in which

18-year olds
could

vote
.)


Files
made public in 1997 under the

Freedom of Information Act
indicate that Lennon was
under constant FBI surveillance from 1971-72.

A 1972 memo from Hoover to his
agents ordered them to:


"…promptly initiate discreet efforts to locate subject
[Lennon]   and remain aware of his activities and
movements. Handle   inquiries only through established
sources… Careful attention   should be given to
reports that subject is heavy narcotics user   and any
information developed in this regard should be furnished
  to narcotics authorities and immediately furnished to
bureau in   form suitable for dissemination."

Although Lennon was eventually
ordered deported, his lawyer Leon Wildes appealed to the

Board of Immigration Appeals
. After four appearances
in federal court, Wildes prevailed. The Lennon case had

dragged on for five years

Lennon ultimately prevailed. In
1975, both Lennon and Ono became

legal United States residents.

By the time Lennon`s case concluded, Nixon was no longer president. And after five years of public furor, the INS chief counsel also stepped down. In a statement, the former counselor announced that the Republican Party had spent millions of tax dollars in its failed effort to deport Lennon.
 
We know what happened to Nixon. What awaits Bush is unclear. The president has not commented directly about “Vote for Change.” While traveling with Bush in Iowa, his spokesman Danny Diaz said that Bush feels “the heart and soul of America is found in places like Davenport.”
[VDARE.com note: and
elsewhere.
] The inference is that Davenport is good; Hollywood is bad.
 
We`ll soon know. The “Vote for Change Tour” has three performances in Iowa: Dave Matthews in Ames; Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt in Des Moines and James Taylor and the Dixie Chicks in Iowa City. All are scheduled during the first week of October.
 

The turn out at those shows should indicate whether Iowa
voters have as high opinion of Bush as he

claims to have
of them.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the


Lodi News-Sentinel
.