Government and political expansion galloped away in the 1960s with core traditional values pushed concomitantly to the margins of American public life. The decade began with court decisions prohibiting prayer and Bible reading in public school. Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and War on Poverty made unprecedented claims on American minds that government had a role in solving personal problems and struggles. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was turned on its head by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and finally by the Supreme Court, justifying exactly what the Civil Rights Act was passed to stop _ unequal application of law based on racial considerations.
White and black liberals worked together toward an unprecedented politicization of American society. So, in this environment, the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund joined the party and lobbied successfully for the creation of a new racial category called "Hispanic." According to historian Paul Johnson, "In 1973 Washington asked the Federal Interagency Committee on Education to produce consistent rules for classifying Americans by ethnicity and race. The FICE produced a five-race classification: American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, White, and Hispanic."
The same hand of government that took prayer and Bible reading out of public schools used civil-rights laws to force non-English-language instruction into the public schools.
Every circumstance has unique characteristics. However, in general, there is nothing at all unique in the characteristics of the Mexicans arriving today in the United States that sets them apart from generations of immigrants that built our country. I actually think that the typical Mexican that leaves the security of home and family and risks life and limb to come to our country to struggle, work and build has more in common with our founding settlers than American-born liberals who work to politicize our lives and displace values with politics and government.
Eternal truths unite all men. They transcend the geographic, racial and ethnic circumstances that make each of us unique. These eternal truths underlie and define the greatness of our free country. It is abuse of government and the politicization of America that divides us, that stands one American against his neighbor, and about which Samuel Huntington and the rest of us should be concerned.
Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education ( www.urbancure.org ) and author of the recent book, "Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It."
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