Divided Allegiance

After watching the protests over the past few days, I’ve been stuck by the number of people carrying the flag of Mexico. In a protest for U.S. amnesty and citizenship it seems to me that there would be more American flags that Mexican flags. I think this signals a “divided allegiance” that Theodore Roosevelt spoke of in 1919.

“In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American…

There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile…We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language…and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.” –Theodore Roosevelt, 1919

3 comments On Divided Allegiance

  • hmmmmm…

  • The Fearsome Randall

    The Latino population in America is the epitome of immigrant pride. And they in no way represent a divided allegiance.

    Possibly you are right, from a PR standpoint that they should choose a different way of showing thier common interest than the Mexican Flag. But also consider that you are seeing the demonstrations through the lens of the media.

    >”The demonstrators oppose legislation passed by the
    > U.S. House that would make it a felony to be in the U.S.
    > illegally. It also would impose new penalties on
    > employers who hire illegal immigrants, require churches
    > to check the legal status of parishioners before helping
    > them and erect fences along one-third of the U.S.-
    >Mexican border.”

    America is lucky to have an immigration population do a great number of jobs that Americans simply won’t do. And they do these jobs with pride, and for a reasonable wage.

    The simple fact is is that no American wants to work on a chicken farm. Without immigrants America would have to pay big bucks for jobs like that. Even common criminals who can’t get a job won’t work on chicken farms and the other jobs that immigrants fill.

    “As we debate the immigration issue, we must remember there are hardworking individuals, doing jobs that Americans will not do, who are contributing to the economic vitality of our country,” said Bush.

    There is a basic economic principle that says: “Capitalism needs an abundance of low wage workers.”

    Latinos represent the last wave of a very long and storied tradition: immigrant pride. Consider the great contributions of the Jews, Italians, Irish, Pols, Germans, Russians, etc..etc..

    Latinos represent one of the few things that is still right about America. Latinos are part of a healthy supply of low wage labour. Latinos fill a societal necessary and are percieved to be generally good workers. Ask anyone in construction.

    Schools and welfare are the biggest issue no doubt. America has to decide how much this burden out weighs the contributions of Latinos on the side of spirited low wage labour. But what I don’t like are one-sided depictions suggesting that Latinos are only a burden on American society. This is either naive or outright radical.

    With the demonstrations, Latinos are simply flexing some representational muscle. The U.S. is a democratic republic, and Latinos have a lot numbers.

    Whether you like it or not they are using thier representational power in a perfectly legitimate way.

    They deserve the capacity to flex thier representation muscle as they please.

    Divided allegiance? Ha! Latinos carry the torch of American pride. They wipe the sweat off thier brows and proudly work at the jobs that nobody wants like the American immigrants that came before them. And they’re spilling a disproportionate ammount of blood in Iraq.

    What do you want?


  • America is lucky to have an immigration population do a great number of jobs that Americans simply won’t do. And they do these jobs with pride, and for a reasonable wage.

    I agree with what you say for the most part on this. However, I do not believe they are doing this for a reasonable wage. I have worked with illegal immigrants that were being paid under the table and I can assure you the wage was not reasonable (in restaurants). Although the check might have been good for 60 hours of work in a week, it was still only the equivalent of 30 hours of a legal counterpart after taxes. Also, in terms of construction workers (jobs many Americans will do and are doing) sometimes legal counterparts lose out to the more menial jobs (ones that don’t require some license to perform the task) for this very reason. So, although a large part of me does share your perspective (in terms of all being created equal and providing equal opportunity), I also feel that we have some Americans out of work due to the cheap labor alternative (without regulation). We outsource jobs outside of the US for cheap labor, legally, unfortunately (gotta have those damn profit margins {in my best redneck accent}). Being illegal allows the person ‘hiring’ these individuals to pay less with no regulation. There is no Union for illegal immigrants. They have to accept that wage having no recourse. The interview/application process is a truck driving by and picking up the first 10 people that jump in the back of it being handed cash at the end of the day for the work done (Gross exaggeration but you get my point).
    This topic all brings me back to a small-minded individual that wanted to or did marry Erin’s sister. His only hope was to be a cop to compensate for his Napoleon complex. Although, he had to be a cop where they did not require a college degree. Sad, I know. And I quote, “I’m a real American.” (No, not a slam on your Randall. I know this is not your message. It just keeps running through my head.) Remember Clapp?

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