Ron Unz On The California GOP’s Incredible Folly Over Over Bilingual Education
Ron Unz has a piece in the Unz Review about the incredible folly of the Republican Party over Bilingual Education:
After almost seventeen years history may be about to repeat itself in California politics, though perhaps with a strong element of farce. Late last week, the Senate Education Committee voted 8-to-0 to place a measure on the November 2016 ballot repealing Prop. 227 and restoring “bilingual education” in California public schools. The long-dormant Language Wars may be returning to American politics, and based on the early indicators, the G.O.P. may have totally abandoned any support for English in the schools, with not a single Republican casting a No vote on the proposal.
Although many might be surprised by this political alignment, I am not. When I launched my “English for the Children” initiative effort in 1997 to replace California’s failed system of Spanish-almost-only “bilingual education” with intensive English immersion, I sought to avoid the political partisanship that could easily taint a project touching upon delicate ethnic issues. As matters turned out, I got my wish, and our campaign was among the most bipartisan in state history, being opposed by nearly every prominent Democrat and also nearly every prominent Republican.
Requiring that English be taught in public schools was opposed by the Chairman of the state Republican Party and the Chairman of the State Democratic Party, as well as all four party leaders in the State Senate and Assembly. President Bill Clinton came out to California to campaign against us. All four candidates for governor, Democrat and Republican alike, denounced the measure and together starred in a powerful television spot urging a No vote, ranked by many as the best advertisement of that election cycle. We were opposed by every California union, every political slate, and almost every newspaper editorial board, and were outspent on advertising by a ratio of 25-to-1. But despite this daunting array of influential opponents, our initiative still passed with one of the largest political landslides of any contested measure in state history, winning over 61 percent of the vote. [More]
This reminds me, once again, about Sam Francis’s line that “There is the stupid party. And there is the evil party. I am proud to be a member of the stupid party.Periodically, the two parties get together and do something that is both stupid and evil. This is called–’bipartisanship.’ ”
Unz’s epic 1990S struggle to fight bipartisan bilingual ed is chronicled online at his own OneNation.org website, and Steve Sailer wrote about about it here at the time in Bilingualism-Bipartisan Blunder, March 23, 2000:
Voters across the nation loathe bilingual education. A national Zogby poll in 1998 found that 84% of Republicans and 72% of Democrats favored requiring schools to use English immersion. A winning issue for some political party, yes? The professional politicians don`t seem to think so. In California, both gubernatorial candidates opposed Proposition 227. George W. Bush presents himself as the candidate of bilingualism.
Unfortunately, opponents of bilingual education tend to squabble needlessly among themselves over irrelevancies. For example, Unz wrote a 9,000 word article in the November, 1999 issue of Commentary called “California and the End of White America” explaining how his anti-bilingual education initiative was an integral component in his tripartite master plan for Republicans, along with pro-immigration and anti-affirmative action stances. While interesting as an ideology, and possibly useful as a political strategy, Unz`s lumping together three separate issues distracts from the simple point that demolishing bilingual education is a Good Thing, in and of itself.
I’m afraid Unz still believes in his pro-immigration conservativism–his Unz Review article ends:
In reviewing the last twenty years of domestic policy battles in America, the replacement of bilingual education with English immersion in our public schools may rank as just about the only clear success for policies traditionally advocated by conservatives and Republicans—at least no other obvious example comes to mind. Meanwhile, the disastrous political choices made by California Republicans during the 1990s have placed what was once the most powerful Republican state party in America on the very edge of irrelevance and a descent into minor-party status.
For California Republicans to back the restoration of failed bilingual education programs would probably mark the final nail in their coffin, and rightfully so.
We can agree that the California GOP is suicidal, but Unz’s link on “the disastrous political choices made by California Republicans”goes to his 14 year old Wall Street Journal article How the Republicans Lost California | The Golden State isn’t too liberal for the GOP. Its leaders simply scared away immigrant voters, By Ron Unz, August 28, 2000, which blames the GOP’s California troubles on Pete Wilson and Proposition 187.
As we’ve said repeatedly, this is wrong. Immigrants were never going to vote for the Republicans anyway. The GOP has simply failed to mobilize the white vote–which is massively opposed to bilingual education.