AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM: GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE,FOR THE PEOPLE -- ECONOMIC FREEDOM BASED ON FREE MARKET INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURISM -- WEALTH CREATION AS A SOURCE OF GREAT GOOD FOR THE DISADVANTAGED -- IMMIGRANTS PROVIDING UNPARALELLED ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS, RACIAL DIVERSITY -- OUR MILITARY PROVIDING AND PROTECTING WORLDWIDE INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
How Mexico and the U.S. quietly defused the caravan crisis
Serious episode of injury and death avoided at the border in Tijuana
When 5,000 Central Americans in a “caravan” arrived in Tijuana, it seemed every television camera in the civilized world arrived to show us the ongoing “invasion.”
Describing what the cameras saw were legions of reporters, mostly men, some of whom actually spoke Spanish. I watched them all while changing channels profusely during those hectic days last month.
They all missed a very important fact: the main encampment of Central American refugees was not just in Tijuana, it was less than 50 feet from the United States.
Whenever one of those international cameras faced north I could see something I see almost daily — the traffic on National Highway 1D that turns inland at Playas de Tijuana and then travels along the border with the United States. I live just south of Tijuana, so this highway is my 18-kilometer drive back to San Diego.
The now empty camp (the refugees have been moved several miles away to better circumstances) is covered in trash, empty of people. That is what I see from my car. The distance between the former camp and the U.S. border is exactly 42 feet. It consists of four eight-foot-wide traffic lanes, two chain link fences and a 15-foot-high barrier built by the United States several years ago to replace the Clinton-era military surplus steel panels.
On November 28, during a heavy downpour, I drove by the camp for the first time. Small dome tents covered the entire Benito Juárez soccer park. There were thousands of men, women and children who had walked and ridden over 2,000 kilometers from Honduras and Guatemala. When I drove by again on December 2, the tents and people had vanished.
The border crisis with televised tear gas billowing among men, women and children was for all intents and purposes over. Or was it just out of sight?
Most television reports concentrated on the caravan, its people and the border kerfuffle that ended in a cloud of tear gas. But that event was not the only thing going on, especially on the Mexican front.
What was Mexico to do? Act like a brutal dictatorship and tear gas and billy club the refugees, or shoot and kill them as unlawful people on Mexican territory? No.
What was the United States to do? Act like a brutal dictatorship and tear gas and billy club the refugees, or shoot and kill them as unlawful people on American territory? No.
Instead, both countries assembled ad hoc forces and set up new physical barriers to deal with refugees who tried to illegally cross the border.
The U.S. mobilized troops, laid concertina wire on top of all the fencing along the border between Tijuana and San Diego, and shut several normal crossing lanes through the San Ysidro port of entry.
The Mexicans brought more Federal Police to the border and lined up 10-foot-tall steel barriers at potential crossing points that weren’t fenced.
Luckily, the only mob action that occurred was on November 25 when a few hundred of the thousands tried running into the United States.
They were held off by uniformed Customs and Border Protection officers backed up by California Highway Patrol officers. The busiest border crossing the world was then shut for more than five hours. No one was seriously injured. Not a single Trump-ordered soldier or Marine was on the border.
Meanwhile, the intelligent business people of Tijuana, a world center for flat-screen television and medical-device manufacturing, joined with the Mexican government to organize something no one expected.
Tijuana businesses began interviewing the Central American refugees for over 5,000 jobs in the gigantic Tijuana industrial community. They interviewed and hired on the spot. The newly hired refugees then took their job paperwork over to a Mexican immigration table for a renewable “humanitarian work permit” that is good for a year.
Some refugees have registered to get into the proverbial “line” U.S. authorities have created. From that list, some 100 people a day are interviewed to start the asylum process. And some refugees decided to return home.
As I drive by the trash-covered former refugee camp, I thank the Mexican government, American border personnel and the bright people among them who ignored hysterical national media and a few local Mexicans who demonstrated against the refugees when they arrived.
The two governments quickly mobilized to defuse what could have been a serious episode resulting in injury and death that would certainly harm the reputation of the United States.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
Monday, December 10, 2018
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Editor's note: l would so love to hear the other side reflect on this and comment.
The headlines about
the incoming 116th Congress scream that our representation has never been so
"young," so "blue," so "diverse."
The headlines about
the incoming 116th Congress scream that our representation has never been so
"young," so "blue," so "diverse."
If diversity is about how people look, this Congress is very diverse. It's a
fact that there has never been so great a number of representatives who are
women and people of color.
There are 124 women, 55 blacks, 43 Latinos and 15 Asians.
But if diversity means diversity of thought, it's practically nonexistent.
Of the 124 women, 105 are Democrats. Of the 55 blacks, all are Democrats. Of
the 43 Latinos, 34 are Democrats. Of the 15 Asians, 14 are Democrats.
The celebration about alleged diversity is really a celebration of one, uniform
voice on the left, dressed in different colors, calling in unison for moving
America further toward socialism and secular humanism.
All the politics of today's Democratic Party, which is as far left as it has
ever been, is about how people look and where they come from. Once we called
this prejudice or stereotyping. Now we call it progressivism.
This is anything but Martin Luther King's famous dream that his children would
one day be judged by "the content of their character and not the color of
It takes a certain blindness to miss the irony in these politicians of the
left, who call for honoring and empowering individuals, and choose to do this
by making them less free. They claim to enhance individual dignity by expanding
government to dictate our health care, how we save and retire, our relationship
with our employer, how and what we can say to others and what they can say to
us, and just about every detail of our private lives and decisions.
How has it become so lost in our country that the way we dignify individuals is
by believing in them, by granting them freedom to take responsibility for their
In this election, Republicans won a national majority only from white voters.
Hispanics voted 69 percent for Democrats; blacks, 90 percent; and Asians, 77
Minority Americans have bought the lie that personal freedom is not in their
interest — that government should run their lives. This is meaningful to us all
because they represent the growth demographics of the nation.
According to recent analysis from the Brookings Institution, white America will
be in the minority by 2045. However by 2027, just eight years from now, the
majority of Americans 29 and under will be non-white.
The socialists, the secular humanists, know time is on their side. It's a
waiting game for them.
The new Democrat House has only one thing in mind — biding its time to inflict
maximum damage on President Donald Trump in order to lay the groundwork for
whomever they nominate for president in 2020. So expect a very noisy two years.
What can Republicans do? Get far more aggressive in reaching into these
minority communities about what losing or gaining freedom will mean to them.
Republicans have a very important story to tell that is not reaching these
Countries that are not free don't grow, because all the activity is about
transferring wealth — not creating it.
The progressive politics of blame, dependence and envy make the well-connected
rich and keep impoverished people poor. It's why over the last 50 years, many
black politicians have gotten wealthy while the gap in average household income
between whites and blacks is 50 percent greater today than it was in 1970.
Republicans and all Americans who care about bequeathing a free nation to their
children and grandchildren need to think long and hard about how to communicate
the importance of freedom to Americans of color. It's our only hope of not
losing our country to the left forever.
Monday, November 5, 2018
From The Daily Signal
‘I’ll Never Be the Same’: My Ukrainian Wife’s First Trip to the United States
For Lilya Peterson—shown here in Boca Grande, Florida—visiting the United States was a lifelong dream. “This is the greatest country in the world,” she said. (Photo: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)
By the size of its economy, or the strength of its military?
By the height of its city skylines, or the audacity of the moon landings?
Perhaps, by the heroism of the Marines who landed on Iwo Jima, or of the Army soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach?
Maybe. But America’s greatness is not always measured like in the movies or a campaign speech. Sometimes, an anonymous act of gratitude is proof enough, even if we, as Americans, don’t always see it that way.
In August, my wife, Lilya, and I were at dinner in Geyserville, California, with my younger brother, Drew, and his girlfriend, Gabrielle.
We’d been wine tasting all afternoon and had rounded off the day with a few cocktails to boot. Feeling a bit loosened up, my brother and I, as is our habit, slipped into a familiar topic of conversation—the war in Afghanistan.
You see, both Drew and I are U.S. military veterans. And, naturally, we get to talking about our wartime experiences whenever we’re together. Often a bit too loudly, as Lilya and Gabrielle gently suggested on that night in Geyserville.
In any case, as we wrapped up dinner and asked for the check, the waitress informed us that someone had already paid our bill. We asked who this person was, but he or she had already left, the waitress explained.
“They asked me to tell you, ‘Thank you for your service,’” she said.
My brother and I were speechless. It is, after all, all too easy to assume the country has moved on and forgotten about our wars when so many of the things that divide us seem to occupy so much of the news.
On the walk back to the hotel that night, my wife, who is Ukrainian, told me, “I’m so shocked and impressed. I’ve never seen such a kind gesture by a stranger. It was magnificent.”
I was moved by the gesture, too. But it wasn’t the first time someone in America had bought me a drink for being a veteran. What I didn’t immediately understand is that from my wife’s point of view, it was a singularly unprecedented, characteristically American, display of gratitude.
A week later, Lilya and I were having a drink at a bar in my hometown of Sarasota, Florida. We chatted with the barman and it came up that I was a former Air Force pilot and a war correspondent.
When it was time to square up the tab, the barman said with a smile that he wouldn’t take my money.
“Thank you for your service,” he simply explained.
On our way out the door, my wife stopped, took my hand, turned to me, and said, “This is the greatest country in the world.”
Love and War
In the summer of 2014, I left for Ukraine to report on the war, thinking I’d be gone for only two weeks. More than four years later, the war isn’t over and I still live in Ukraine. Most importantly, I’m now married to Lilya.
In August, Lilya and I traveled across the United States on our honeymoon. It was her first trip to America. For my part, I’d spent only a handful of weeks in the U.S. since I first left for Ukraine in 2014. So, this trip was a homecoming of sorts for me, as well as a chance to take stock of how much America had changed in the years I’ve been away.
You, dear reader, surely understand all the challenges facing our country. You’re likely bombarded with reminders of these challenges each time you go online or turn on your TV.
Yet, I want to share with you a perspective of your country that might be as foreign to you as the conflicts on which I’ve reported. It’s the perspective of my wife—a 22-year-old Ukrainian woman who was born in the shadow of the Soviet Union and spent most of her young life amid the backdrop of revolutions and war.
Despite all the broken dreams in her country, Lilya, like so many Ukrainians of her generation, possesses a clear vision of the life she wants and deserves. And you, dear reader, are already living it.
When the jet broke through the clouds and out the window we saw the lights of the New York City skyline, Lilya smiled and said, “This is the dream of all my life.”
We started in New York City. Despite my best efforts not to, I wept at ground zero, remembering things from my youth I don’t often revisit. Like watching on TV as the towers fell during a morning class at the Air Force Academy. I was only 19, but I understood what that day meant for my future.
We marveled at the skyscrapers in New York and Chicago, and we visited all of Washington, D.C.’s monuments. Later, under the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, we visited the Air Force Academy, my alma mater.
I won’t lie, I bursted with pride to show Lilya that place.
We walked across the terrazzo—the academy’s massive central courtyard—and Lilya shook her head in disbelief at the spectacle of the freshmen (known as doolies) who ran along the marble strips, dutifully stopping to recite volumes of memorized knowledge at the upper class cadets’ behests.
At the academy’s War Memorial—a black stone monument to graduates who fell in battle—I took a quiet moment alone and ran my fingers across the freshly engraved names of remembered faces.
During our visit, I was honored with the opportunity to speak to a couple classes, as well as with the faculty, to share my wartime experiences. During one classroom session, the professor put Lilya on the spot and asked for her impression of America.
Impromptu public speaking in a foreign language isn’t easy. But she nailed it.
Without missing a beat, Lilya replied: “This is the greatest country in the world. But most Americans don’t know it.”
From Colorado we flew to Phoenix and drove across the desert to the Grand Canyon and then on to Las Vegas. In California, we visited Hollywood, drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, hiked in the redwood forests, and enjoyed wine country to its fullest. We doubled back across the country to Florida and toured the Kennedy Space Center, where we saw the Space Shuttle Atlantis and a Saturn V moon rocket.
In the end, we traveled from sea to shining sea and concluded our journey in Sarasota, where Lilya met my 93-year-old grandmother, Joan, for the first time.
As they held hands and chatted, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that we were able to find a way to America while there was still time. And while more than 70 years separated their lives, I also observed a special bond between my wife and grandmother.
They both possess a unique appreciation for life’s little pleasures. And for good reason. My grandmother has lived through the Great Depression, wars, and societal upheavals. For her part, my young wife has already lived through two revolutions and a war.
Of course, you don’t have to endure such historic challenges to appreciate life’s blessings. But, I must say, it’s all too easy to misjudge the gravity of life’s problems when you’re used to peace and prosperity—after all, there’s no microaggression, no trigger, no slur or verbal insult that could ever compare with the impartial brutalities of revolution and war.
The truth is, every American, each and every one of us, is privileged. We’re privileged because we are American.
If you don’t think so then lift your eyes to the horizon, over which exists a world where the overwhelming majority of humanity does not enjoy the self-evident entitlements we so flippantly take for granted—things like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The more cynical among us will likely roll their eyes at the preceding sentence, writing it off as overwrought jingoism. But when hardship and war comprise your daily reality, you don’t take America’s greatness lightly, or for granted.
Whether we want it or not, we Americans have inherited an awesome responsibility. We are the caretakers of the promise of democracy for people around the world who yearn for it.
Of course, we’re not the only democracy in the world. But I’ve seen firsthand how the ideal of American democracy stands alone in the eyes of Ukraine’s soldiers, the Kurds in Iraq, or even octogenarian Tibetan freedom fighters. For them, America symbolizes a dream worth fighting for.
I was proudest of my homeland when I showed it to my wife for the first time and saw her eyes illuminate in witness of a dream foretold. I also silently hoped that America wouldn’t let her down.
Yes, we may fail in our time to realize the promise of our founding for every American.
Yet, despite the long shadow of our past sins and the gravity of our contemporary shortcomings, we haven’t quit yet and better make sure we never do.
Because the world is always watching us. Always. And there are plenty of dark forces in this world held at bay by the simple fact that America is still a dream worth fighting for.
Yes, we aren’t perfect. But if not us then who?
The front lines against tyranny aren’t always found on the battlefields against goose-stepping armies. Sometimes, that battle is won at the dinner table, in a classroom, in a random encounter on the sidewalk, or even in a Facebook post.
Sometimes, victory is measured by the courage to show decency and respect and to find common purpose with someone with whom you share nothing in common except for being American.
After everything I’ve seen, I still believe that if the better angels of our nature win in America, then they will win everywhere. The world is watching us, remember.
So, how do you measure America’s greatness?
My wife saw our moon rockets and our skyscrapers and our monuments and our natural wonders. Yet, in the end, what impressed her most were those unnecessary and unsolicited acts of thanksgiving for my military service by total strangers.
“I never thought that random people would be so kind to strangers just because they respect them,” Lilya told me. “America really is the greatest country on earth.”
She paused for a beat and then added, “This trip changed the way I see everything, and I’ll never be the same.”