Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hello, Stranger - Where Are You From?

Buenos días. ¿Hablas español? Si no, debes aprender rápidamente.

Did you get that? I said, "Good Morning. Do you speak Spanish? If not, you had better learn fast". At least, that's what my translation software says I said.

In an article in the Orange County Register today by writer Brian Joseph, he tells us that Hispanics will become Orange County's ethnic majority in 2034 - seven years earlier than predicted. It also predicts that Hispanics will account for 50% of the population in the state by 2042.

Joseph goes on to tell us that, by 2050, California will be 52% Hispanic, 27% white and 13% Asian, and the total population will be 59.5 million. Yikes! My initial reaction was not so much about the changing demographics, but wondering where all those people are going to sit - or stand, for that matter. The phrase "Up close and personal" takes on a whole new meaning! You think we have a water problem now? Just wait until nearly 60 million people flush their toilets every day!

So, your friendly correspondent - who, for the past thirty years, has been telling friends that their children should learn Spanish if they expect to communicate with the people around them - turns out to be a prophet. It kind of reminds me of the lyrics to that old song..."Oh lord, it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way!"

Actually, it didn't take a prophet to see what's been happening in our state and region over the past several decades. Continued prosperity in this state, shifting geopolitical realities and a virtual open door on our southern border combined to create this situation, with no "relief" in sight. Soon, not only in Costa Mesa, but thoughout our area, if you don't "habla Espanol" you won't be able to "habla" with most folks around you. Trying to communicate with your neighbors in a couple decades is going to make our current perception of Babel seem like a Sesame Street episode by comparison.

This won't make much difference to me personally. By the dates quoted in this article I'll be long gone - only the brass urn full of ashes, jammed into a nice, decorative piece of granite at a local cemetery, will be all that's left of this old carcass. But, what about you? What's your plan for living in a society where the majority of your neighbors don't speak English? How will you handle being in the minority? What is your plan for living in a state where the population will double in your lifetime?

I know some of my Latino friends are smiling as they read this entry. I don't blame you. Some might say, "What goes around, comes around." By the way, did you notice that the O.C. Register refers to those of Latin extraction as "Hispanics", while the Los Angeles Times (and the Daily Pilot) uses the term, "Latinos"? I fought that battle with the Daily Pilot editors several years ago, as they changed every submission I sent them. Finally, I just gave up since it was their ball game in which we play by their rules.

There are those who rant and rave about "sending them all back" where they came from - an asinine, impractical and impossible solution, bred by fear. There are those, like me, who feel our borders should be made secure as the first step in national security. That may never happen if the lack of resolve we see on the part of our national elected leaders is any indication.

So, what's your solution? Seriously, I want to know. If you don't want to post your ideas on the blog, just send me an email. I'm curious and I know some of you who read this blog can come up with some good, rational solutions to problems. I want to hear them on this subject.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am with Rob on this 100%. The mess we are in today isn't because of a conspiracy of immigrants planning to suck the economic prosperity out of our welfare state. I believe the vast majority are here to improve their lot in life and establish a better foundation for their children.

Let's leverage that enthusiasm. Yes, stem the flow and enforce the rules, but also look for ways to lift everyone up through intelligent immigration plans that are economic based with at least some humanitarianism thrown in for good measure. For example, if you are successful here, you get credits to bring in your kids, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, whoever.

I would like to see references and background checks, my personal nod toward keeping known criminals out. Not that I think we can trust all foreign agents to be honest about their recommendations.

Most of all, like Rob says, people that want to be a part of our great country will on the whole prosper and improve life for all Americans. They will want to learn English and have their kids participate in school. They will work to prevent poverty driven social maladies such as drugs and gangs. Citizenship is like home ownership. You take care of something that you have an ownership stake in better than something you do not.

7/10/2007 08:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

America is the most unique country on the planet because it is NOT a country defined by the DNA of its population. Being an American is not blood chemistry. It is a class of citizenship. America is the most daring experiment in multi-racial cohabitation in world history. So far, so good.

7/11/2007 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I knew I could count on you fellas! Thanks very much for your insightful views. Anyone else?

7/11/2007 10:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some websites that are advocating not patronizing business establishments which hire Undocumented Americans. Of course I would never do that. In fact, I was thinking of converting to Catholicism in order to show my support for Cardinal Mahony even though my Unitarian Universalist Church does an excellent job.

7/12/2007 08:36:00 AM  

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