It’s a marketing problem worthy of a case study in an MBA program: How do you market anti-immigration bigotry to an upscale liberal demographic.
Now we know. Simply conflate immigration and environmental degradation. At least this is the approach taken a half-page ad in last week’s New York Times.
The reason our pristine forests and bucolic farmland is being torn up to build even more shopping malls is because of all those Mexicans pouring over our borders. That’s why, according to the ad, the bulldozer is America’s bestselling vehicle.
This takes a load off my mind because I’d always thought that all this building was the creation of greedy developers who saw nature as a commodity to be exploited. I should have known the Latinos were to blame.
The ad doesn’t give us an exact ratio of how many “illegals” have to slip into the country before another mall is put up, but given the number behemoths that are cropping up, there must be a solid stream going over our walls faster than we can build them.
The ad was paid for by “America’s Leadership Team for Long Range Population-Immigration-Resource Planning.” The “team” is a consortium of five organizations that care deeply about preserving the purity of America’s wilderness.
To support their arguments, one of the organizations, Numbers USA juggles the numbers to tell us that from 1776-1976 the influx of immigrants to the United States averaged 250,000 a year. Since 1990, the group tells us, the number has jumped to 1.8 million immigrants, annually. (Who knows what happened to the 1977-1989 period. Maybe it diluted the average.
This is quite a statistical accomplishment since immigration data only goes back to 1821. I assume the 250,000 annual average cited by the group includes the entire range of immigration from the 143,439 that immigrated in the 1821-30 decade to the 8,795,386 that showed up in the 1901-10 decade.
It’s nice to see bigotry going upscale. For too long it has been monopolized by beer-swilling rednecks. I’m sure the addition of the latte-sipping demographic will give it some well-needed class. Intolerance flourishes when spoken in the measured and reasoned tones of the pampered and educated class.
Now, I admit to having a suspicious nature, and for some reason it has flourished in the last eight years. But I kind of, sort of, wonder if the anti-Latino bigotry that is being spewed by our political leaders might not have something to do with the leftward movement of our Latin American neighbors. Just think of the contagions they could bring over the border with them: the Bolivarian Revolution, liberation theology and the writings of Subcomandante Marcos. It’s enough to give a corporatist nightmares.
But hell, if I keep thinking like that, I’ll end up believing that every new mall represents 186,375 new Latinos who have slipped across our border.