Friday, December 17, 2010

The Two Californias 



I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

Victor Davis Hanson has a very descriptive piece at NRO about conditions in and around his home in Selma, CA which is very near Fresno. A lot of the three pages is just matter of fact narrative that describes the physical and socio-cultural and economic conditions in the area. I lived three years in Bakersfield, just one hundred miles south of this area during the time I was in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Then I spent the three and a half years I was in high school just about sixty miles south west of Hanson’s home. I graduated from Coalinga High School in 1966. In those days this was a vibrant area. Most of the fields were planted in cotton back then. There was also plenty of cattle farming as well as many, many oil wells. I found it depressing to read Hanson’s description since the area plainly gone to hell in a hand basket. VDH seems to feel that illegal immigration has been a scourge to the area. He does not blame the immigrants. It is more that it is diagnostic of what has gone wrong with California. Liberal PC, ‘nonjudgmental’ nanny state foolishness asks too little of itself and everyone else. So little responsible behavior is expected and received of anyone that everything slowly comes apart from its own weight. It is unfortunate since the area was once beautiful and productive.
I feel the need to quote these two paragraphs entire since they are pregnant with meaning about both the course of the last forty plus years and the DREAM Act.

"I note this because hundreds of students here illegally are now terrified of being deported to Mexico. I can understand that, given the chaos in Mexico and their own long residency in the United States. But here is what still confuses me: If one were to consider the classes that deal with Mexico at the university, or the visible displays of national chauvinism, then one might conclude that Mexico is a far more attractive and moral place than the United States.
"So there is a surreal nature to these protests: something like, “Please do not send me back to the culture I nostalgically praise; please let me stay in the culture that I ignore or deprecate.” I think the DREAM Act protestors might have been far more successful in winning public opinion had they stopped blaming the U.S. for suggesting that they might have to leave at some point, and instead explained why, in fact, they want to stay. What it is about America that makes a youth of 21 go on a hunger strike or demonstrate to be allowed to remain in this country rather than return to the place of his birth?" 

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