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Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Matter of Style

Peggy Noonan and Ann Coulter both dedicated their columns to immigration this week.

Peggy (who had joined in the immigration marches to see what was up):

"Where does all this leave me? Does my feeling for immigrants, and my afternoon at the march, leave me supporting open borders, or illegal immigration? No. Why should it? To love immigrants is not to believe America has no right to decide who can come to America and become a citizen. America has always decided who comes here. That's why it all worked.
While the marchers seemed to be good people, and were very likable, the march itself, I think, violated the old immigrant politesse--the general understanding that you're not supposed to get here and immediately start making demands. It would never have occurred to my grandparents to demand respect. They thought they had to earn it. It would never have occurred to them to air mass grievances, assert rights, issue a list of legislative demands. Especially if they were here unlawfully."

"So it's really more like we've got the last Xbox 360s available on Christmas Eve and the customers are not only demanding money to take the hottest sales item off our hands, but are verbally abusing us and acting petulant. I'm offended that you would even think about asking me to pay for the Xbox 360! You say it has a "20 GB detachable hard drive"? Well, would you use the word "kike"?"

[the last line was a reference to Nativo Lopez's rant on "Lou Dobbs Tonight" that was referenced earlier in the column, which I pulled from Lexis:

NATIVO LOPEZ, PRES. MEX-AM POL. ASSOC.: It's a racist legislation and it criminalize the people, and employers, workers, pastors of churches, the most, nastiness, racist legislation ever to see Congress and the history of our country.DOBBS: And will you accept anything less than amnesty?Lopez: Absolutely not. We're looking for full immediate, unconditional legalization for all persons currently in the United States. They've already paid their way, Dobbs. They paid their way more than enough, than anybody can expect of them, we don't need earned legalization, we need legalization right now of all our folks here…. And May 1st, you are going to feel the effects of nobody going to work, nobody going to school, shopping or selling, because we're calling it The Great American Boycott: A Day Without Immigrants. Marching in the street for full, immediate, unconditional legalization of all working people that are here currently without documents.DOBBS: Nativo, you're talking about feeling the impact, you're talking about a boycott of all illegal aliens in this country?LOPEZ: Well first off, I refute your terminology. You don't say kike, patty, WOP, OK, you don't say nigger.DOBBS: Partner, I don't even listen to that kind of language. You pollute the air.LOPEZ: You're using language that's offensive to me and offensive to my people.DOBBS: You are wrong.LOPEZ: You pollute the air every day, Dobbs. You are absolutely wrong.DOBBS: You have the distinction of using language that is never...LOPEZ: That language is offensive, it's derogatory, it's denigrating, and don't use that terminology to me again, referring to my people

ME: I actually think "illegal immigrant" is pretty tame, and definitely to the point.  There are, of course, slang words that actually are derogatory, but polite people don't use them.  For Nativo Lopez to claim that these terms are all equal is ridiculous.  Of course, his use of the word refute is also ridiculous.  

1.  To prove to be false or erroneous; overthrow by argument or proof: refute testimony.
2.  To deny the accuracy or truth of: refuted the results of the poll.

I assume the second definition was closer to what he was after, since he never claimed to be proving anything.  So he's denying the truth of Dobbs' "illegal immigrant" terminology, even as he demands legalization, thereby acknowledging that the immigrants are not legal now.]


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