Pat Buchanan isn’t fond of Tucson – a point he made recently on “The Daily Show.”
Appearing on the fake news program to promote his new anti-immigration book, Buchanan discussed his experiences when visiting Tucson during his 1996 presidential campaign.
Buchanan, a conservative commentator, rode a wagon in the Rodeo Parade and recounted:
“I went to Tucson, Ariz., and they put me in a parade that went through Mexico town,” Buchanan said. “And during that parade, as I said, I’ve never seen so much Mexican food in my life.
“And it was all in the air and it was coming toward me. They were hurling things at me.”
I’m not aware of any part of Tucson called “Mexico town,” but Buchanan’s characterization of Tucson’s South Side was no surprise.
As to the vast quantities of Mexican food that Buchanan said was thrown at him, well . . .
During the parade, police cited and released one man who threw an unidentified object at Buchanan. It didn’t hit him.
To hear Buchanan tell it, he had to dodge a fusillade of tacos and burritos. He exaggerated, probably for effect.
And that’s an apt description of Buchanan’s book, “State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.” Lots of inaccurate exaggeration.
Once you get past the hysterical title, the stuff inside is fairly predictable: There are too many immigrants – legal, illegal and especially Mexicans – in the United States, they’re ruining the country and are plotting with the Mexican government to make this area part of Mexico again and if you’re not scared to death about this, he’s going to do his darnedest to change that.
There is no argument that illegal immigration is a huge problem that must be solved. There’s a reason it’s this fall’s most-talked-about issue in virtually every political race in Arizona.
But perspective is needed.
Buchanan writes that 36 million foreign-born people are in the United States today compared with about 13.5 million in 1910 at the peak of the great European immigration wave.
Buchanan calls today’s immigrants “invaders” and says there is no way our country can assimilate so many foreign-born people. “If this is not stopped, it will mean the end of the United States,” he warns.
He neglects to note the total population of the country has grown faster than the foreign-born part.
Today, by Buchanan’s figures, 12 percent of the people living here were foreign-born. In 1910, it was close to 15 percent.
People were probably worried then about how all those foreigners would be absorbed into the United States culture – but we did it.
Buchanan says the problem is not all foreign-born residents, but the ones from what he calls “Third World countries” – especially Mexico.
By 2050, Buchanan darkly warns, the share of the population of European descent will be a minority – and that minority will be aging, shrinking and dying. But Hispanics will be 24 percent of the population.
Why is that bad? Because immigrants are likely to vote for Democrats.
As proof, Buchanan notes that the nine states with the smallest share of immigrants all voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.
But among the seven states with the most immigrants, only one – Texas – is reliably Republican, and that shows signs of changing.
Buchanan also discusses “a new ethnic chauvinism” he identifies as “the first signs of an ‘intifada’ to retake control of the Southwest.”
The case he cites was a soccer game in Los Angeles between Mexico and the United States.
The crowd showered the U.S. team with garbage and bottles and hooted at “The Star Spangled Banner,” Buchanan writes.
That’s unfortunate. But Buchanan did not mention that 40,000 immigrants serve in the U.S. military. And about 25,000 immigrants have become U.S. citizens while in the military since 2002.
Since the 9/11 attacks, at least 80 immigrants have been declared U.S. citizens after being killed in Afghanistan or Iraq.
And that’s more important than what happened at a soccer game.
Mark Kimble appears at 6:30 p.m. and midnight Fridays on the Roundtable segment of “Arizona Illustrated” on KUAT-TV, Channel 6. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4662.