This piece by ACEK board member Bruce Abramson was originally published at The Epoch Times.
Opportunity. It’s why we all came here. For generations, immigrants have brought the varying flavors of their life experiences to America, enriching and revitalizing our culture in the process. They came for freedom from government, with no expectations of relying on it.
Yet some multigenerational American families—having grown accustomed to our legal structures, living standards, economic dynamism, and unbounded opportunity—take these distinctly American values for granted. Leftist assaults on the traditional values of faith, hard work, and the profit motive arrive daily.
America’s story is one of immigration. The “New World” flowed from the discoveries of European explorers. Waves of largely Anglo-Saxon Protestants created the substructure of what became the American republic. Until the early 1800s enslaved people were brought from West Africa, followed by a massive wave of largely impoverished Irish. In rapid succession: Germans streamed into mid-western cities. Asians came to California. Throngs of Eastern and Southern Europeans brought foreign tongues, different hues of Judaism, and cultural benefits that helped make us “who we are.”
Arriving under vastly differing circumstances, these people shaped our mix and our culture. The beauty of America is that there’s no single answer to “who we are.” We’re a hopelessly optimistic people with an ever-changing cultural mix. We’re the great melting pot. That’s a large part of what makes America exceptional.
Most recently, the massive influx of Hispanic immigrants has embraced and invigorated America. From 2001 to 2015, more than 50 percent of all population growth in the United States has been from Hispanic immigration. More than 19 percent of the U.S. population is now Hispanic—bringing a culture that’s fiercely family-oriented, religiously observant, and hard-working. Hispanic priorities and work ethics resemble those of the immigrants who preceded them.
Arrayed against them and their interests, however, are the intensely progressive (or “Woke”) currents that dominate today’s political, academic, and social environments. In their inverted value system, “equity” (i.e., the uneven distribution of resources by group to achieve an equal outcome) has replaced “equality” (i.e., freeing every individual to work hard to get ahead).
Teachers’ unions and school boards routinely scold (or threaten) parents for wanting to be informed and involved in their children’s education. Who can forget President Barack Obama belittling rural America for “clinging to their guns and religion” or Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables?” These leading Democratic politicians ooze disdain for the traditional Americans whose ranks Hispanic immigrants have come to join. The left’s condemnation of all who embrace faith, family, and personal responsibility puts them squarely at odds with America’s newest arrivals.
Quite simply, Hispanic immigrants have been coming for a vision that’s very different from that of the progressive left. They’re starting to realize it—taking affirmative steps to support their traditional family values while assimilating seamlessly into American culture.
Between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, roughly 1.2 million immigrants changed their racial or ethnic identification from “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin” to “white”—eagerly relinquishing their official minority status in the eyes of the government and within their community.
Their evolution has been happening slowly for years and only recently begun to appear in political polling. For many, traditional values and economic prosperity for their families is more important than ethnic and racial identity.
America has never asked any immigrant community to turn a blind eye to its heritage—and we’re not about to start now. As each new community gives more to American culture and draws more American traditions into its own, issues like shared faith and prosperity tend to surge forward in importance.
The United States was founded on a common set of beliefs. Foremost among them was the then-radical notion that the government should serve the people, not the other way around. President Ronald Reagan warned, “Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.” Our current generation, acting under leftist dominance, is drifting away from the core principles that have repeatedly produced enormous gains in standards of living, freedom, and upward mobility.
Hispanics are drawn here by the enduring perception of the American ideal. The current tide of Hispanic immigration is a result of America’s uniquely limitless opportunities.
As new arrivals engage, evolve, and integrate into the political system, they realize that they align far more with the conservative vision of American exceptionalism than with an increasingly bizarre and progressive vision of men who have babies.
Traditional Americans, in turn, are welcoming and accepting Hispanics just as they have done to the newcomers of the past.
Recent Hispanic immigrants beginning to flex their political muscles as mainstream Americans rather than outside members of a racial minority—promoting their own social mores in the process—may be America’s last best chance.
We need them to survive the progressive onslaught. We need them to save us from those who seek to transform America into a utopian experiment with a very different vision of who we are.
We need Hispanics to save America. America needs Hispanics to save itself.
Bruce Abramson, Ph.D., J.D., is a senior fellow and director of the American Center for Education and Knowledge (ACEK). He is the author of five books, most recently “The New Civil War: Exposing Elites, Fighting Utopian Leftism, and Restoring America” (RealClear Publishing, 2021).