Hudson Institute historian and political scientist John Fonte
includes among his focus subjects such critical aspects of immigration as "patriotic
assimilation," meaning not just adaptation of immigrants to American popular culture and economic arrangements but also
the assumption of what might be termed "civic ownership," i.e. taking responsibility to aid in the preservation and even flourishing of our institutions and literally thinking of themselves as "Americans."
(With independent statistical consultant Althea Nagai, Fonte co-authored an April 2013 study for Hudson on the collapse of patriotic assimilation among recent cohorts of naturalized U.S. citizens: America’s Patriotic Assimilation System Is Broken
[PDF]. Also see John O'Sullivan's memorable foreword
to Fonte's 2010 book Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or Be Ruled by Others?
It's no surprise, then, that Dr. Fonte is an enthusiast for "America's senator
," Jeff Sessions [R-AL; and soon, we hope, U.S. Attorney General]. In a current piece at Laura Ingraham's Lifezette
website, he exercises themes that border on patriotic assimilation. He doesn't call Sessions a "patriotic senator"—in my view, most U.S. senators are at best flaccidly, or pro-forma, patriotic—but he might as well, writing:
[In the context of 2013's disastrous "Gang of Eight" immigration-capitulation bill,] Sessions urged Republicans to say “no” to “certain business demands and powerful interests who shaped the immigration bill in the Senate.”Instead, immigration policy, Sessions insisted, with its “lasting social, economic, and moral implications” should serve the interests of the American people as a whole, not the “financial interest of a few CEOs.” Republicans should “make an unapologetic defense of working Americans” which would be both the right thing to do (“prevent the implementation of a disastrous policy”), and be politically effective (“begin a larger effort to broaden our appeal to working Americans of all backgrounds.”)[Sessions Will Bring Record Fighting for All Americans to DOJ, January 30, 2017]
First and foremost, on the issue of immigration in particular, Sessions has articulated a moral vision of patriotism and economic opportunity. Most significantly, he declared, "We are a nation, not [just] an economy … we have a responsibility, a moral duty, to our citizens to make their lives better." When President Obama urged Silicon Valley CEOs to increase their efforts to promote mass low-skilled immigration, Sessions retorted "America is not an oligarchy … A republic must answer to the people."On the contentious issue of immigration, Sessions has done what no Republican before him has ever done: He has (as promised) "flipped" the moral and political calculus of the debate. Today, a large group of Republicans are championing the interests of the workers, middle class, and the nation as a whole, and almost all Democrats are favoring the mass importation of wage-reducing, low-skilled labor and thus are in league with elites that have benefited from cheap labor for the past 20 years, as average American wages have stagnated. Moreover, between the immigration debate of 2013 and the presidential campaign of 2016, Jeff Sessions' moral clarity paved the way for Donald Trump's successful appeal to the forgotten American worker.
According to Dictionary.com, a "tribune
" is "a person who upholds or defends the rights of the people." It's no surprise, then, that Dr. Fonte concludes with:
In the polarized conflict in early 21st century America, while Chuck Schumer assumes the role of leader of the elitist patricians, Jeff Sessions has made his mark as the "tribune of the people," the champion of the American working and middle class of all ethnicities and races — and he will soon become the attorney general of the United States.