Henrietta Post
  • CURT SMITH: A group from which all Americans can learn

  • Since 2008, 36 percent of all immigrants have been Asian. A new report by the Pew Research Center groups shows them outAmericanizing America.

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  • Life can emphasize Joseph Conrad’s “heart of darkness”: cultural slime, urban crime, illegitimacy gone mad. Overlooked is the middle class’s belief in light: as Margaret Thatcher said, “word hard, study, obey the law, respect the police.”
    Recently, Barack Obama announced he would grant work permits to young illegal aliens, mocking the law requiring their deportation. His rationale: They want to help the country, as if those pining to legally enter don’t. His real reason: Spur Hispanic support, desperately needed for re-election.
    Like his presidency, Obama’s edict appalls. His oath of office demands that he “obey [each] law,” as Thatcher said. This act shows him ready to ignore some, granting legal preference to people — today, Hispanic; tomorrow, who knows? — based solely on their loyalty to him. Such a man is unfit to be re-elected.
    Polls show most Americans oppose aliens who trash the border; want unearned citizenship; and penalize would-be legal immigrants who play by the rules. Almost all of us back the citizenship oath which forswears “allegiance to any foreign nationality.” We mistrust illegals who resist English, spurn our history, and back ethnic solidarity: dividing, not uniting.
    Instead, we revere assimilation: a greater affinity with, hope for success, and love of our new country — the United States — than the nation which we left. A century and more ago Slav, Irish, and Italian immigrants, among others, arrived pining to throw the term hyphenated-American in the trash. Today another group also hopes to. It is a group from which all groups can learn.
    Since 2008, 36 percent of all immigrants have been Asian. A new report by the Pew Research Center groups shows them outAmericanizing America: more likely than native-born U.S.ers to have a bachelor of arts degree and far more likely than other recent immigrants to speak English and “arrive legally” — indeed, to embody sociologist Max Weber’s Protestant Work Ethic, the upwardly middle class.
    According to Pew, more Asians (69 percent) than other Americans (58) think “you get ahead with hard work,” said The Wall Street Journal. More than nine in 10 feel their ethnic group “is hard-working.” (It is, as almost any teacher can affirm.) Sixty percent, says the Journal’s Walter Russell Mead, believe that other Americans don’t “push their kids hard enough.” (We often don’t.) To U.S. Asians, American exceptionalism should be evidenced in their lives.
    Obama wrongly feels that most Hispanics wish to bend the law. Many Americans who are Asian don’t wish to bend morality. Born out of wedlock: 16 percent v. the general population’s 41. A household with two parents: Asians, 80 percent v. the populace’s 63. Respect for authority: Two in three think parents should at least tangentially help affect a child’s career, and 61 percent a son’s or daughter’s spouse. Finally, add the courtesy and modesty to which an outside observer can attest.
    Page 2 of 2 - In particular, Pew says that 95 percent of first-generation U.S.-born Asian immigrants speak English “very well.” This helps them assimilate outside their group more than any other ethnic group. In turn, this helps forge a higher household income and median household wealth than the national median: $66,000 v. $49,800 and $83,500 v. $68,529, respectively.
    We are a long way from coolie labor, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and Japanese internment in World War II.
    Asians came here to become a good American — to “word hard, study, obey the law, respect the police.” Reading the Pew Research report, you wonder if it isn’t us who should be more like them.
    Curt Smith is the author of 15 books; former speechwriter to President George H.W. Bush; and Associated Press “Best in New York State” radio commentator. Mr. Smith writes twice monthly for Messenger Post Media. E-mail: curtsmith@netacc.net

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