It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Friday, August 19, 2011

Immigration - A Southern Catholic Approach

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: When we look at the topic of immigration one of the problems he have is we tend to focus on the details rather than the big picture. I'm talking about such things as legal vs. illegal, green cards, deportation, etc. What we often fail to do is stop and consider the whole history of North America and the United States.

Long before people were called "Americans" on this continent, they were called Christians. Three European nations colonized this great wilderness called North America - France, England and Spain. It was a epic period of exploration and evangelism. From the Southern tip of Florida, to everything west of the Mississippi River, the mountains, plains and waterways were named after Catholic Saints, sacraments and sacramentals. Even the cities were named after these things. The area we now know as the United States, west of the Mississippi, was once populated almost exclusively by French and Spanish Catholics. In fact, Protestant New England nearly seceded from the Union over the annexation of the Catholic Louisiana Purchase. What is commonly understood as "The United States of America" from a historical perspective is English Protestant, but even that is an oversimplification. Shortly after the Catholic Louisiana Purchase large numbers of Irish Catholics immigrated into the Union, both through the ports in New York City and New Orleans. Indeed Catholics have always played a large role in the history of North America and the United States.

It wasn't just the United States however. Catholics also played a large role in the Southern Confederacy (Dixie) and the President of the Confederacy himself, Jefferson Davis, shared a special relationship with the pope. Confederate General Robert E. Lee called this same Pope Pius IX the South's only true ally during her time of need.

We are fortunate in the United States, for the people who seek to inundate our Southwestern states are of Spanish Catholic heritage and not African or Asian Muslims descent. Europe has not been so fortunate, having absorbed millions of Muslim immigrants, and we will likely soon see the bloody consequences of that. As for us, all we have to deal with are some people of Spanish-Mexican descent, most of whom are Catholic Christian, and some of whom have chosen to join with Protestant churches.

Having spent most of my childhood in Southern California I knew more people of Mexican-Spanish descent than I could count. Most of them were second or third generation American. Back in those days, with few exceptions, they all spoke perfect English and in all practicality they were totally Americanized. Not so in California today. Now I live back in my home state of Southern Missouri, deep within the Ozark Mountains. Even here I have friends who are of various ethnic heritage. Some are of Mexican-Spanish descent. Some are of Chinese-Asian descent. Almost all of them are totally Americanized. Correction! They are Southern Americanized, accent and all! What are we to learn of this?

The American Southwest was once a totally Spanish-speaking region, and it likely will be again. Here we see the failure of the American experiment, as it neglected to assimilate its Mexican-Spanish immigrants (both legal and illegal) into the "great melting pot." The problem was even worse among some Asian immigrants. Here Multiculturalism was embraced, and because of that, the immigrants who came here were locked into a position of second-class citizenship, neither having full access to the American dream, nor having the ability to go back without great loss. Because of this, I believe Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico are destined to become an independent Spanish-speaking nation, neither Mexican nor American, but something in between. Los Angeles county in Southern California may very well become a balkanized region, with multiple sovereign entities. It is inevitable.

What however do we say of immigration success? Most of this can be found in the South and Midwest regions of the United States. Here immigrants have been discouraged from gathering in enclaves, and instead pushed to learn English (learn it well) and assimilate into the Southern American way of life. Guess what? It works! These good folks are virtually indistinguishable from those who's families have lived here for centuries.

The trick is not in stopping immigration. Immigration itself (whether legal or illegal) is not the enemy. (Though it sure would be nice to have every immigrant properly documented and processed, both for their well-being and ours.) The trick is to properly regulate and control immigration. The numbers of immigrants have to be limited, for the well-being of everybody. The current pope even said that nations have the right to regulate immigration in such a way so as to protect their sovereignty and cultural identity. Let's face it, America needs immigrants, and even the South needs immigrants. Today's Southern families are smaller, and for economies to thrive, populations must grow. Immigration can help this process, but it shouldn't be the dominant source of population growth. In all cases however, it still must be regulated in such a way so as to allow full assimilation of immigration populations. This is how we preserve our sovereignty and our culture. It's no different than the African ladies and gentlemen who joined our people centuries ago under the most tragic of circumstances. Over the years their people not only assimilated into our culture, but contributed to it as well, giving the South a good portion of its charm and cultural beauty. Where would we be today without them? We certainly wouldn't be who we are now. The same can happen, and is happening, with our immigrant friends who are willing to assimilate into our culture and adopt our ways. This is a Southern Catholic approach to immigration, and it makes a lot of sense.

You see there is a fundamental misunderstanding about multiculturalism out there.  Multiculturalism is not about race, but it is about culture, and that is where the problem is.  Wikipedia defines multiculturalism as follows...  
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g. schools, businesses, neighborhoods, cities or nations....  Multiculturalism is often contrasted with the concepts assimilationism and social integration and has been described as a "salad bowl" or "cultural mosaic" rather than a "melting pot."
'The Catholic Knight' advocates ASSIMILATIONISM, which is the opposite of multiculturalism, and it is what makes immigration and racial harmony possible. I favor the "melting pot" not the "salad bowl" approach. The melting pot of the South is the remnant of Christendom in culture. That's what makes it work -- when it's applied. Case in point, there are two historical periods in the South when the melting pot of Christendom was not applied, or misapplied, and those were the periods of slavery and segregation. In both cases, one minority group was not permitted to assimilate into the majority, and because of this, race relations were damaged. But they were not damaged beyond repair, as is evident in many Southern cities today, where blacks are accepted by whites, and before this massive recession anyway, they were moving up into high paying jobs. This is ASSIMILATION in action, and it is the opposite of Multiculturalism. In other words, the minorities accept our culture, embracing it, and we in turn embrace them.

This is not about race, it's about culture, and culture is not the same thing as race. I have some friends in this area, who are of Mexican heritage, but they are more red-blooded American than I am at times. I'm talking about hard core conservative Christian values, hunting and fishing fools, who's idea of a good time is blaring bluegrass music and cooking BBQ brisket. Lot's of black folks feel the same way down here. Of course, then there are those friends of mine who are of Asian heritage who prefer country and Southern gospel music instead. You see what I mean?  That's assimilationism at work.

I believe those (including some of our own Catholic bishops) who subscribe to a laziesez-faire appraoch to immigration are making a critical error. Yes, Christian teaching does tell us to be kind to immigrants, and help them in every way possible. But part of "helping" them is giving them real opportunities to attain a lifestyle that is just as good as what we have.  The only way to do that is to give them the tools they need to thrive, and this does not come through "sanctuary cities," amnesty, affirmative action and race quotas in hiring practices. It comes through learning good English, and studying the cultural, religious, economic and political reality of this nation.  It also comes from learning to respect our laws, standing in line, and waiting one's turn.  That's just common Christian courtesy we would expect from our own people.  Why not immigrants too?  With these tools immigrant can set out to do literally anything! I should know. I am descended from immigrants who did just that.  Most of us are.