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A number of you have told me that you don’t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That’s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)
And, if you haven’t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a weekly reminder when a new column is available.
May 14, 2008
To me, the most significant story in a recent newspaper edition was on the third page under this headline:
"Census: About 25% of U.S. kids under five are Hispanic"
If I have to explain the significance of that story to you, I'm tempted to say you haven't been paying attention, apparently unaware of the fact that some Latino activists and academics contend that the "browning" of an increasingly significant portion of the American population-perhaps a plurality-is simply a matter of time.
Their reasoning is based on (1) the fact that Mexicans and other Hispanics are having proportionately more babies than other American residents and (2) the prospect that the more than 10 million illegal Latino immigrants in this country will never be required to return to their original homelands (which many if not most of them consider still their homelands).
Then there is the very real possibility if not the likelihood that our border with Mexico will continue to be so porous as to allow for the entrance of substantial numbers of additional illegal immigrants from Mexico and other heavily Latino countries to the south.
The page-three news story began:
"Hispanics, the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority group, now account for about one in four children younger than five in the United States, according to the Census Bureau estimates released today."
"The increase from nearly one in five in 2000 has broad implications for governments, communities and schools nationwide, suggesting that the sharp rise in the Hispanic population that demographers forecast for mid-century will occur even sooner among younger generations."
Jeffrey Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center was quoted as predicting that the nation's Latino population will double from 15% today to 30% by 2050.
The Census Bureau estimates that the Hispanic share of the overall state population already is 44% in New Mexico and 36% in California./p>
In Nebraska, Hispanic children are estimated to account for about 1 in 7 children under five. The Hispanic percentage of Nebraska's overall population is estimated at 7.5%, half the U.S. average. Nebraska's Hispanic population, however, continues to grow at a slightly higher rate than the nation's-4% annually compared to 3.3% nationally.
Some Latino activists see the "browning" of several states as simple justice, return to Latino dominance in areas-Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California-which were once under Mexican control.
I find it interesting that this argument-you took them from us by force, we will get them back by Latino population growth-does not take into account the fact that Spanish-speaking Mexicans took the land in the first place from the original settlers, Indian tribes which had migrated from Asia and were conquered by invading Spaniards.
The Columbia Encyclopedia says: "A number of great civilizations flourished in Mexico long before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the early 16th Century."
* * *
To me, one of the continuing puzzles of American journalism is how even as liberal a newspaper as The New York Times can let a columnist named Frank Rich run at large in The Sunday Times, writing far-left columns which take up half a page and include irresponsible exaggerations like this:
In a recent column, Rich called the story of American mistreatment of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib military prison in Iraq as "one of the most documented horror stories of our time."
In the first place, what justification for describing the Abu Ghraib story, inexcusable as it was, a "horror story"? Does the mistreatment of prisoners-which may have resulted in one death-become a well-documented "horror story" because pictures were taken and they are now part of a documentary?
Perhaps columnist Rich did not realize that his use of "horror story" language would move some readers to compare Abu Ghraib with some true, equally well-documented "horror stories" like the Holocaust, the "killing fields" of Cambodia, genocide in Rwanda and Kosovo and the continuing slaughter in Darfur.
Abu Ghraib, inexcusable as it was, simply doesn't justify the suggestion that it deserves inclusion among "horror stories of our time," when the true horror stories "of our time" involved the deaths of millions of people.
* * *
Let's listen again to the voice of the reader.
An Iowan writes to say he chose to live in Iowa because the state government there doesn't spend tax dollars on such things as a "palace of an athletic stadium" and "an excessive salary for a coach." He goes on to ask:
"Could it be that some people don't want to live in Nebraska because the only recreation is football and not something more intellectual?"
I would suggest to my Iowa reader that people may choose to live in Iowa or some other state where the collective interest is in things more intellectual than football, but they shouldn't avoid Nebraska because of taxes paid for the Husker football program. That program is self-supporting and throws off enough excess cash to subsidize the other intercollegiate athletic teams.
My new website also brought this very welcome message:
"You shamed me into subscribing to the OWH in order to read your columns only to find out that you've moved to the web. Well, I'm following you!"
My thanks to this special friend and to all the others who have followed me into the electronic world. May your numbers continue to increase!
* * *
I want my friend Pete Ricketts to know that I'm not really trying to depose him as Republican National Committeeman from Nebraska or to share that distinction with him.
I make the point because a recent letter from Senator John McCain said that he needs "RNC Members like you, men and women who have done so much to help our Party in the past, working alongside me."
Well, in the first place, I believe the members of the RNC (Republican National Committee) consist of a man-currently Pete Rickett of Omaha in Nebraska's case-and a woman-De Carlson of Crofton-from each state. That "includes me out" (as the late Hollywood mogul Sam Goldwyn is said to have said).
Further, Sen. McCain must not know that I switched my voter registration from Republican to Independent, to register my disapproval of the at times dominating influence of the religious right in setting the agenda for the National Republican Party.
(As for ballot choices, I'll continue to vote on the basis of what I consider to be the candidates' qualifications, whatever the party label.)
* * *
Regular readers may recall a column-ending item which recounted the story of a "Hagar the Horrible" cartoon strip which had Hagar struggling up Himalayan mountainsides until he finally found one of those legendary wise men, the subject of a good deal of humor in terms of the difficulty in finding them and the wisdom which they dispense.
In Hagar's case, the Wise One, asked by Hagar how he might free himself from the pressures and frustrations from which he was suffering, dispensed this bit of wisdom: "Sell your golf clubs."
Today another Wise One story involving a wisdom-seeker who fights his way up snowy slopes to sit at the feet of one of the legendary wise men. He says something like, "Oh, Wise One, I come in search of the ultimate truth, the truth which I understand only you possess and which you are willing to share with those who come this long way to sit at your feet."
The Wise One replies, "What you have been told is true, my son." The climber presses, "Then tell me, tell me, Wise One. What is that ultimate truth?"
The Wise One replies: "You can use outdoor carpet indoors, but you can't use indoor carpet outdoors."
Okay, okay. You may prefer the Hagar the Horrible story or, perhaps, no "Wise One" stories at all. But I think the "indoor/outdoor carpet" version is hilarious, especially if told during the cocktail hour.
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