It has been a tradition to make the immigration story about the great struggle to get to the shores of America. It is a story of a new beginning for an unpredictable future where the only sure thing is a dream for a better life, a boundless desire to do well and the willingness to work hard to achieve it.
In this country however, the immigration story is also two-fold. There are the difficulties in the old world, the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in the lowest class passage available and the words on the Statue of Liberty that describe the starting point for a new life in a new country.
Then there is another immigrant experience (sometimes involving the same people) associated with the movement to populate the West. The struggle in this case was not only against their economic status and the natural elements but also against the people that were already there.
From the very beginning in what was to be the United States, the new arrivals, with very few exceptions, refused to accept the people they met on their way West. The ideology around the concept of Manifest Destiny made the White intruder the absolute master of the lands and their way of life.
This together with the introduction of Black slavery rounded out a vision that has remained with us in some form to this day. Little thought was given to the fact that eventually the outcasts would find their own destiny in America.
This is also where the immigration story takes another turn. The immigration waives in the latter part of the 20th and early 21st Century were not from across the Atlantic, but from here in North America.
The mostly brown and mostly Mexican faces coming across our southern border included families of those killed or run off by the expansion practices of America’s western movement. They also included families of those left behind in the United States.
The vision they constructed gave cause to the notion of the eternal return to the mythical and mystical land of “Aztlan” that is the source of 9th and 10th Century immigration waives from north to south that built the last great empires in Mesoamerica. It was also not in the plans of our political structure because the recent immigration waives represent Manifest Destiny in reverse.
All of these events are racially charged because no mechanism was provided to recognize our ethnic and racial diversity and build on its qualities. Rather, Indians were killed or put into reservations, Blacks were enslaved and Mexicans were left to be ignored as foreigners in their own land.
Because of this, racial tension has been part of American life. For most of our history it has been an undercurrent with flashes of violence at times.
But now that the White structure is gradually losing its franchise and fears losing its historical dominance, radical elements have openly declared a jihadist defense of their racial supremacy. To them, they are America and no one else will do.
The massacre in El Paso, Texas with the intended goal of killing immigrants puts race at the center of violence and tragedy. It is an act of desperation for a cause that is already lost.
Racist number one in the White House wants to win reelection by using every sinister foreign and domestic tool at his disposal. His followers know that his words advance their goal of making America what it is not.