Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Interesting Reconquista

Reconquista is the term used to describe the "reconquering" of the Southwest USA by Mexican immigrants. The victimology goes that the US acquired the land by conquering Mexico (how, exactly, did Europeans first acquire that land?), so it's only right and just that Mexicans reconquer the land.

For centuries after William the Conqueror (there's that word again) of Normandy won at Hastings and became king of England, English kings claimed land in France--Normandy, Calais, Brittany, etc. Eventually, the French ran the British off the continent and back to their own island.

But the British are coming back, reconquista-style!

Partly this is a story about French economic decline. Economic decline often happens without you realising it. And then, suddenly, you do realise it. That factory you thought you had a safe job in for life gets abruptly closed, because the government has decided that the subsidies to keep it going are becoming too huge. You suddenly realise that private education for your kids is going to be forever beyond you, that where you live state education is actually getting worse, and that also you can not afford to move to where it is any good. Multiply little dramas like that by a million, and you have an entire country in economic decline. Thus, economic decline often impinges upon an electorate not in the form of rather meaningless statistics moaned about by journalists even as life goes on happily, but rather in the form of dramatic vignettes like this one, of vulgar English people invading the formerly idyllic French countryside.

The Mexicans come to the US because there's work here, and a chance at a better life. The English are snapping up French property because there's not work in France, so the land is cheap!

Hard to blame either group, even though only one of them is acting legally.

Update, 10/24/07: Regular reader Mark Roulo has gently called me to task for my closing statement. He is absolutely correct, and I, in sloppiness, made the mistake that liberals often make intentionally--I conflated illegal immigration (which I do not support) and legal immigration (which I do support). Both forms of immigration contribute to the concept of reconquista in the US Southwest, and I erred in my closing statement in the post by not specifying illegal immigration. Apologies.


Anonymous said...

"Hard to blame either group, even though only one of them is acting legally."

Um, Darren ... a lot of Mexican citizens are in this country legally. And a lot of people of Mexican origin are citizens.

Not all, true. Maybe even not 50%. But a lot.

-Mark Roulo

Unknown said...

The frogs, er, French will hate that.

Ellen K said...

I am sure somewhere, Henry VIII is happy to reclaim the French throne, wherever they have it stored now. As for our plight, I am not so concerned with ownership as I am with legal enforcement. Even a landowner can't vote if they aren't legal citizens. And as legal citizens, we have the right to vote for laws and have them enforced. That's not happening now, but it needs to.