Is America Still a Country?

by Patrick J. Buchanan – August 8, 1997

How did they get in? That question quickly came to mind on reading that two illegal aliens had been arrested in New York hours before they allegedly were going to blow themselves up, along with a few dozen unsuspecting commuters, at a subway station.

As for Ghazi Ibrahim Abu Maizar, we know how he got in. As Timothy Egan of The New York Times writes, he “followed a typical pattern for illegal immigrants. … He hiked into the Cascade Mountain woods from Canada last year and simply walked into the United States.” Caught, he was sent back. He then strolled across the border again, was caught again and was tossed back again. Then, he rode in by bus, was arrested and requested asylum.

Why did he need asylum? Because, he said, the Israelis had him marked down as a terrorist, so he could not go home to the West Bank. How about going back to Canada? Nope, the Canadians refused to take him. So, the United States gave him 60 days to leave and turned him loose. He headed for New York.

But is the question really open? Our government concedes that there are 5 million illegal aliens here. It is a near-certainty that enemies of this country have seeded that population with agents — for purposes of espionage, terror, assassination or reprisal.

The Times’ story of our unpoliced northwestern corridor raises the real question: Is America ceasing to be a nation?

A nation has been defined as a country of recognized borders, with people of a common heritage, history, language, faith, culture, customs and heroes. That was the America we grew up in. We all spoke the same language, believed in the same concepts of right and wrong as taught in the Old and New Testaments, learned, whether in parochial or public school, the same glorious history.

But the features that made Americans a distinct people, and the fences that made America separate, are disappearing. Ours are the most porous borders on Earth, though not porous enough for The Wall Street Journal, which champions a constitutional amendment to declare, “There shall be open borders!”

With 30 million immigrants since 1965, almost all now coming from Asia, Africa and Latin America, our European ethnic core — 90 percent in 1965 — is shrinking fast — to the delight of our president, who looks to the day soon when we are a nation of “minorities.” We no longer worship the same God, share the same ideas of morality, admire the same heroes or celebrate the same holidays.

“Do you realize that there are 200 languages spoken in the Chicago school system? That’s an asset, not a liability,” Newt Gingrich recently burbled to Joe Klein. Oh. I thought the scattering of the peoples at the Tower of Babel, when the Lord confused their languages, was a punishment, not a blessing.

How much “diversity” can we tolerate before we cease to be one nation and one people? What do we have in common anymore?

“I am an American!” was once a boast every bit as proud as “Civis Romanus Sum!” — I am a citizen of Rome. In the early ’60s, there was a debate over whether Churchill should be declared an honorary U.S. citizen; only Lafayette had been accorded the honor. Such was the reverence in which citizenship was held. Last year, the Clintonites swore in 180,000 people as citizens, without even a check for a criminal record, so they could vote for Bill Clinton.

Not to worry, we are told, we Americans are held together by a Constitution and a belief in democracy. But the quarrels over what the Constitution says — about gay rights, school prayer, abortion, quotas, the right to burn a flag — are the cause of our culture wars. As for a belief in democracy, is there anybody you know who would die to keep democracy alive in Marion Barry’s Washington, D.C.?

“Providence has been pleased to give this one unconnected country to one united people … descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs … ” So exulted John Jay in The Federalist Papers, No. 2. Jay would today be charged with a hate crime against diversity.