I'm not talking about all demonstrators in every city in which a march occurred. Some were reportedly peaceful and even patriotic. But the hostility of some protestors did more to galvanize apathetic Americans into demanding action on immigration than all the previous alarm-warnings from politicians and pundits combined.
Nothing awakens the sleeping giant like direct threats to her sovereignty and security. And it was hard not to feel violated by the outrageous spectacle of people making demands on the very system they have circumvented instead of demonstrating some humility, if not contrition.
On the other hand, it's not hard to understand their attitude, given our shameful negligence concerning the integrity of our border and the rule of law. We hardly have clean hands either, considering our enforcement laxity and our Faustian bargain to reap the fruit of the poisonous tree by exploiting the cheap labor illegals provide. We don't even have enough respect for our laws to call violators "illegals," insisting on the euphemism undocumented workers.
The immigration conundrum is President Bush's Achilles' heel in the War on Terror. His admirable determination to pursue the enemy unyieldingly no matter how negatively it impacts his approval ratings is matched only by his seeming impenetrable obliviousness to the problems immigration presents.
Most of us recognize these problems: national security, assimilation, rule of law, economic, and political. But we disagree on their relative importance. Nor do we have a consensus on how we should prioritize the proposed solutions to the problems -- assuming we can even agree on which of them need to be addressed.
Many people otherwise inclined to support the president's general policy in the war on terror are alternatively mystified and outraged by his apparent inconsistency in fighting the terrorists "everywhere we find them," while employing a Mr. Magoo approach to our open borders.
I agree with Bush's critics that his borders policy represents a gap in his overall security policy. But I think it also poses a different kind of national security threat ultimately greater than terrorists oozing across the border. Our refusal to encourage immigrants to assimilate constitutes a dire threat to the nation.