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Cuisine Bourgeoise: Toward a new nativism

By PAUL THARP, Staff Writer


If voting for everyone becomes the norm in a hundred years, or a thousand, or whenever, people will look back at things we said today and say we were intolerant.

Mitch Kokai of the John Locke Foundation told WTVD that allowing city of Durham officials and police to accept the Matrícula Consular card as legal identification was a backdoor way of letting illegal immigrants vote.

Why can’t illegal immigrants vote? Why can’t noncitizens and foreigners vote?

The answer is obvious – for the same reason I can’t vote in French elections, or Bangladeshi elections, or Madagascaran elections: I don’t live there. I’m not from there. I have no connection to there. The sense of being in or from a place is key.

Like every rule, the reason for the rule can best be illustrated by taking its exact opposite to its logical extreme, which would be if noncitizens were allowed to vote, people around the world who had no care for and maybe not even a fair concept of us would have the power to control our lives.

We, the ones living here on this land, whose ancestors fought and took it from the natives and anyone else who got in our way, care most about what the rules are that govern this land, because it is our home.

We want what is best for us, best for ourselves, our brethren, our neighbors and friends. I might share more in common with the illegal living on my block than I share with an American living abroad, but the American abroad gets to vote on matters affecting my neighborhood, and my neighbor doesn’t, just because the ex-patriot was born here and José wasn’t.

There is a latent nativism in the power that underlies any political group, from the nation-state down to the homeowners’ association. In the former, every citizen gets a vote regardless of purported class, age, gender, skin color, mental problems, etc. In the latter only each property owner gets a vote.

In any case there are limits. Even my open-minded liberal brethren decry the influence of “foreign money” in political elections. Better to be destroyed from within than without.

That is why there must be rules. There must be a fence, perhaps something more substantial. Because good fences make good neighbors, and no fence makes the best neighbor – Canada.

Can you imagine if a Torontonian living in Charlotte had been allowed to vote in this year’s 8th District race? Larry Kissell would still have won.

The fear is that lots of them will band together for the same guy or girl, and that guy or girl won’t represent native interests. He or she will represent the interests of that foreign crowd. Classic nativism.

In the current debate, which appears destined to repeat itself ad infinitum, the nativists have hammered up their imaginary fences and real ones, and newcomers seek the same rights as the old crowd, to hell with the old procedure.

This is a new world, and we are being asked to draw new lines in it.

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