Jewish World Review Nov. 15, 2012/ 1 Kislev, 5773
By Paul Greenberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A great political party with a long history can survive defeat, even learn from it and grow stronger. But a party that does not learn from its defeats, that appears unable to adapt and grow, cannot remain great. It will join the extensive collection of long-ago American parties, like the Federalists and Whigs and many another, as just another artifact of American history.
After its defeat in this year's presidential election, the
For years the country has been fighting this problem instead of making an honest effort to solve it by revamping the whole, broken immigration system in a way that would put this issue behind all of us. And let the country get on with business -- legally and fairly.
From time to time to time, impressive efforts have been made in that direction. Like the one by
All those good-faith proposals keep falling afoul of narrow prejudices. And the kind of parochial pols who would rather inflame their constituents' nativist passions than actually address a pressing national issue that has gone ignored for entirely too long. With the result that the
That's strange, for the Hispanic community ought to be natural Republican territory, considering the values that are synonymous with any group of hard-working American immigrants and their descendants. Like a strong work ethic and a deep attachment to their faith. In the case of Hispanic immigrants legal or illegal, that means a fealty to their church and its pro-life teachings. And a faith in the American dream.
Just listen to
These folks are not afraid of hard work and, far from giving up on America, they're determined to make it in the Land of Opportunity. Why would Republicans, or any political party, not court such a community? Besides blind prejudice -- and an obliviousness to its own interest.
It takes only a glance at the demographic dimensions of the Democratic sweep of this year's presidential election to recognize the
Not long ago,
To quote Mr. Rove's prophecy in full: "If we do with Latinos what we did with African-Americans, Republicans and conservatives will be doomed." He could hardly have put plain political sense any plainer. But will his party ever wake up and shake free of the grip that its mossbacks, young and old, seem to have on its good sense?
If there is a single lesson Republicans and conservatives in general should draw from last week's election returns, it is: Estudia espanol! Learn a little Spanish, acquire a working knowledge of this vibrant culture.
Republican pols should no more be afraid of acquiring a touch of Latin brio than big-city bosses of another century shied away from speaking with an Irish lilt.
The waves of American immigration change, but the adaptability of new Americans remains strong. As for the children and grandchildren of these latest newcomers, they are not likely to forget how their mamas and papas were treated -- whether they were welcomed or shunned. Those memories will become the stuff of lasting party loyalties. If the
JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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