Ambition and "making it" has always been a worthy American goal in a country founded and fueled by immigrant drive and energy. Having seen the disaster of the campaign's anti-immigrant rhetoric, conservatives should awake to the possibilities of immigrant power.
Borders must be closed to illegal immigration, and Hispanics already here enabled and encouraged to learn the English language and follow the example of immigrants before them, who came to assimilate -- to take their place in the melting pot and reject hyphenated Americanism. The rewards of ambition and hard work are great, and nowhere greater than in America.
Marco Rubio, speaking to Republicans last summer at their convention in Tampa, recalled that his Cuban grandfather, puffing a cigar and watching an earlier Republican convention play out on the television screen, said he wanted his grandson to achieve what he couldn't. This was the immigrant dream.
Accepting the Jack Kemp Foundation Leadership Award a month later, the senator stressed again the dignity of his father's hard work as a bartender and the menial work of other immigrants in the kitchens, and on the streets and the lawns across America. Mitt Romney's ugly term, "self-deportation," was easily exploited by Democrats in their campaign of "us against them," extended to the slur against "aging white men" and the myth of whites as over the hill, out of touch and superfluous in a country becoming ever multi-ethnic.
Obama skillfully employed and exploited what the historian Victor Hansen Davis calls the image of the "shrinking, geriatric white male plutocratic establishment forced to give way to the new age of the diverse 'other.'" Asians, blacks, Latinos, gays and women, many of them affluent enough to be the rich the Democrats promised to soak, couldn't see their own interests at stake.
Janus was the god of beginnings, of new undertakings, for writing on a clean slate. In real life, the slate is never blank, but we can learn from looking back at what went wrong -- and shaping the future to get it right.