Democrat Asks: Will African-Americans Opt For Luis Gutierrez-Style Tribal Division – Or American Unity?

By Donald A. Collins | 12 November 2013

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

Well, that’s nice: The Hill just posted How immigration died. [By Russell Berman, November 12, 2013]. It’s been clear for some time, despite all the huffing and puffing, that this year’s Amnesty/Immigration Surge drive is in serious trouble. But inside the Beltway, battle-scarred immigration patriots won’t believe it’s dead until the coffin is nailed down, maybe as late as next year’s recess, when the Schumer/Rubio Senate bill will officially die.

Note, however, that The Hill story promotes anti-American Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez. No surprise: The Washington Post was doing the same thing in October. [Luis Gutierrez, fierce fighter for immigration reform, by Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post, October 20, 2013]

What dismays me as a Democrat: why are African-American leaders joining Gutierrez? And will tribal divisions prevail over American nationhood?

Post person Roig-Franzia gushed:

Gutierrez’s centrality in the nation’s immigration debate prompts some activists to describe him as a Martin Luther King Jr. of the Latino community. It’s a nod to the tens of thousands of immigrants he and his staff have helped fill out citizenship applications and to his persistence in the often heated fight over immigration reform.

Because his family came from Puerto Rico, citizenship was never an issue for them. But immigration consumed him as he listened to the problems of his many Mexican constituents, as well as other Latinos around the country. [Links added throughout by]

The adoring mush is a stark contrast to the suspicious, hostile stories the Main Stream Media runs about American patriots who question the wisdom of out-of-control mass immigration. Gutierrez was portrayed by WaPo as a hero fighting for the little guys who just happen to be here “undocumented.” He also wants more of them—many, many more—to overwhelm the historic American nation.

In fact, regardless of your legal status, if you are Hispanic, Gutierrez thinks you deserve to be in the USA.

Just like Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York so eloquently unmasked in Henry McCulloch’s recent column, this so-called representative of the people only has one constituency he cares about. Gutierrez only fights for the people he sees as from his own tribe, regardless of the facts, the American national interest, or the horrible struggles facing all the other American citizens he swore to serve.

This isn’t particularly surprising from Gutierrez, with his blatant tribal ambitions. What shocked me is that his supporters apparently include African American Congressmen like Charlie Rangel and John Lewis. The Washington Post tells us that in the House of Representatives Gutierrez recently had an interesting exchange:

Mid-thought, he (Gutierrez) pops off the bench and bear-hugs Raul Grijalva, the Arizona Democratic congressman. Grijalva was arrested with Gutierrez and Rangel at the immigration demonstration earlier in the week, and they’re still animated by that moment of civil disobedience.

“Una buena memoria,” Gutierrez says as Grijalva moves on. A good memory.

Gutierrez takes a few steps toward the exit and runs into John Lewis, the Democratic congressman from Georgia and African American civil rights legend. Lewis was arrested with Gutierrez, too.

“He led me there,” Lewis says in that low, sonorous voice of his, nodding toward Gutierrez.

Lewis has been arrested dozens of times, tracing a line through the history of the civil rights movement. But does getting arrested accomplish anything now? Does being a troublemaker pay? Gutierrez thinks so.

This incident raises a disturbing question—especially for me as a Democrat. Are African-Americans willing to fight for their America as hard as they once fought for their American Dream of equal rights? Will they vote to sustain the kind of equal rule under the law for which they once fought so correctly and valiantly?

How can people who fought for their legal civil rights now join the ranks of those who would attack our precious Rule of Law?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech stands as a major marker in our history and a staple of our culture, even if that Dream is not fully realized. I encourage you to read that speech again. I believe his cry for justice and freedom for all our citizens is just as relevant today as it was when he delivered it.

But clearly, Congressmen like Charles Rangel and John Lewis have forgotten their roots.

Let us put to rest that hoary shibboleth that the illegal or legal immigration question has any relationship with the justified, brave, and legal civil rights movement for which King gave his life.

Civil disobedience by legal citizens who are petitioning their elected government for rights granted under the nation’s founding documents has nothing to do with foreigners demanding concessions from a nation whose laws they flout.

African Americans were born here. They are American citizens, entitled to the full protection of our laws.

But illegal aliens are not Americans. Their very presence is an insult to the Rule of Law—not simply a matter of them being “undocumented immigrants.

Obama and his “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” supporters seem to want the freedom to break the law in the name of racial solidarity. Must we sink to embracing tribalism over our revered Rule of Law?

We want our citizens of all colors to be allowed to preserve the Rule of Law—and our country. If our people are denied that right, and our country is burdened with a crushing number of dependents we neither need nor want, that fragile and precious cohesion that underlies our national identity and our “American Exceptionalism” will be gone forever.

The United States is too important to be tossed away on a whim, or to indulge a petty Congressman’s ethnic alienation.

Americans are not supposed to be bound by tribal loyalties. We are bound by a social contract. In the view of John Locke and other philosophers who laid the intellectual groundwork for our Republic, the social contract guarantees the basic rights of each citizen, so all the members of the polity can pursue their own happiness and simultaneously express their allegiance to the polity in which they live.

Illegal immigration is an attack on that contract. It denies that Americans have the right to govern their own country, or that American laws matter. Its supporters, like Gutierrez, say tribal loyalties are more important than our American identity.

African-Americans are a part of this social contract as much as any other Americans. In this fiftieth anniversary year of Dr. King’s Dream speech, let us all renew our devotion to the dignity and purpose of our laws.

Let us do so in King’s spirit of non-violence, and with renewed understanding of the central role those laws play in maintaining our social contract.

And let us hope that African-Americans remember their role as citizens of our exceptional country—and fellow guardians of our Constitution and sovereignty.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
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