Race baiting as public policy is a rather nuanced proposition, a play for two masters. One must telegraph to supporters the evil of the intended target (insert your choice of inferior race, religion, or ethnicity here), while simultaneously sounding upright and sane to the broader legions.
But English First’s Jon Crisp, “chairman emeritus” of the Davidson County Republican Party, seems to be working from an aged playbook. In a recent mass email, he warned that Nashville is nefariously close to becoming a “Sanctuary City for illegal immigrants… such as San Francisco.” This, apparently, is bad. Very bad. Writes our crusader:
“Sadly in general, today’s immigrants are not the same as those of our past and seem to want to reap America’s bounty while not committing to our culture. Will we become a patchwork quilt of third world nations that have set up shop in Nashville?"
Forget, for a moment, the not-exactly-bulletproof walls of Crisp’s argument. When you’re talking race-baiting, a cogent thesis is a bit much to ask. But we should be demanding originality. And when it comes to immigration, the old’ These New Guys Are Not Nearly as Cool as When My Ancestors Showed Up is seriously unfresh.
Recall, if you will, the Irish Potato Famine, when the Micks arrived and were denounced as the Mexicans are today (though they did get points for producing a superior whiskey). The Irish, in turn, bagged on the Italians, who bagged on the Germans, who bagged on the Polish, who bagged on… well, you get the point.
The first generation was always a little slow to pick up the language. The second generation did just fine. But by that time it didn’t matter, since guys like Jon Crisp had already found a new race/religion/ethnicity to denounce.
For the longest time, Jews were deemed too inferior to join country clubs, and thus deprived of the right to wear funny pants. And the Papists? They took their orders from a guy with a weird hat in Rome, and therefore lacked the fashion sense to be proper Americans.
In fact, archeologists believe the tendency to always vilify the new guy dates back to the Pilgrims. Upon their arrival, teepee values across New England plunged 17 percent, as Indians fled to the suburbs. “At least them low-life Vikings knew how to properly skin a deer,” declared one tribal pundit of the era.
If Jon Crisp wants to repeat the failures of history, more power to him. But we urge Nashville to rise up and demand what it deserves: fresh material.