By Daniel J. Smiechowski
December 3, 2012 (San Diego)--Locally in San Diego, as well as nationally, the Republican Party is on its way to the Land of Oz. We're not in Kansas anymore, says Dorothy to Toto. Federalists and Whigs and Republicans, oh my! Yes Wizard, demographics do count and America's GOP better not hide behind the curtain.
For those with a short memory or no memory at all, consider the following: ninety years ago in our great land, business was booming post the Great War, immigrants were arriving by the boat loads and unlike today's newcomers these arrivals came from Italy, Ireland, Greece Poland and other countries defined by only a vowel ending their family name. Upon arrival at Ellis Island they were met with resistance by a Republican Party bent on preserving their so-called WASP ownership of America's demographic landscape.
Anti-Catholic prejudice was rampant. America´s first Democratic Nominee for President Al Smith lost the 1928 election in a landslide to Businessman Herbert Hoover. Even a black entertainer named Josephine Baker, darling of all Africa and the United States, sought refuge in Paris where she was hailed and worshiped as a heroine. Does this tableau sound familiar? Ten years later on September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland. It was now the son's of these very immigrants that landed in Normandy, the shores of North Africa, the Pacific, the Baltic and Italy. Politically and socially, this assimilation into the American Culture was facilitated ironically through war.
Today, the Republican Party has much the same dilemma with immigration and various other issues as it did from the years following WWI. That is, what to do with all of our new arrivals. The GOP, so resistant to change, took a hard line this past national election in regard to immigration. Seems strange since immigration ought to be a moral issue as the Catholic Church would attest. Speaking of Catholicism, is it not peculiar that on the big three issues of life and death within Catholic Doctrine, the Democratic Party agrees on two: abolishing the death penalty and war. As for The President´s health initiative, why was it that the good Catholic Sisters came to defend the rights of women?
The party of national morality became ever more absolute in the battle to win hearts and minds of the untold millions of Spanish speaking entrants onto our shores. The immigration debate cuts to the heart of how and why people vote. Voting on immigration remains highly personal and affects entire families through the generations. This political psychology went wanting within the GOP. So the Wizard Mitt Romney sent Dorothy on her way back to Kansas for its seven electoral votes. America's Republican Party however, is not experiencing a dream.
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