and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column
May #1

We need a Mayday call on illegal immigration
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Friday, May 5, 2006

Communists, labor leaders, illegal immigrants: How nice to see you all together celebrating May Day.

American labor unions were considered anti-communist, though they still often use the rhetoric of socialism when honoring labor over capital. Now American socialists organize rallies for illegal immigrants, who are taking the jobs of American workers. And labor leaders are right there with them, urging amnesty for the illegals. They must figure that as they lose membership among American citizens, they can restore their past glory by recruiting immigrants.

What is it about the first of May, besides the usually good weather, that attracts people who like to rally 'round the entitlement flag? To the ancients that day was simply Beltane, the beginning of summer, half way from Nov. 1, the Celtic New Year.

For romantics, it was a time for dancing around the May pole; "the lusty month of May" that Julie Andrews as Guinevere sang about in "Camelot" before she lost the movie role to Vanessa Redgrave, who couldn't even sing. And in my Catholic hometown, the entire month was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. During that anti-communist era, the use of May Day to honor the communist proletariat was discouraged, and the United States chose September instead to honor its hopefully non-communist workers.

Though European and Eastern communists and unions still march on May 1, the holiday has recently been usurped by something called "precarity." According to Wikipedia, May 1 is now EuroMayDay, celebrated by "Europeans who feel anxiety about their social position."

Here's something equally hard to believe: In 2001, the United States Congress passed a bill, signed into law by President George W. Bush, declaring May 1 to be Loyalty Day, intended to "celebrate the gift of liberty and remember our obligation to this great nation."

I am as loyal to my country and politically aware as the next person, but I never heard of Loyalty Day until this week. Apparently it was first celebrated in the 1930s as a counterweight to the communist holiday, with parades and ceremonies. It is a legal holiday that was made official in 1958 by President Eisenhower!

So why didn't we all get Monday off, instead of only the immigrants who declared it a "Day Without Immigrants"? It was a protest, by the way, that except for the news coverage, I didn't notice.

It reminded me of the summer week, shortly after the passage of Proposition 2, that the Boston Public Works Department went on strike, and those of us working downtown feared that the Boston Common would be buried under a mountain of trash within days.

Instead, when people realized that no one was going to pick up after them, they stopped littering and overfilling the trash barrels, apparently carrying their trash away with them. So the parks didn't look any worse than usual. So everyone forgot about the strike and the Public Works Department.

I love Mexico, going back to when I lived there as an exchange student between high school and college. I loved my Mexican community and learned to speak Spanish, because that's what my new friends spoke there in their country where I was a guest.

But this week, Mexicans in Mexico were boycotting American goods. Lotsa luck. Where did they find any? Did they boycott the Chinese stuff at Wal-Mart?

I also like immigrants and support more immigration which brings workers for the jobs American won't take because they'd rather collect unemployment or welfare or get an allowance from their parents, or because they've let unions convince them they're worth more than some employers can afford to pay. We also need fresh blood to pay into our ailing Social Security system.

But, like many Americans, I am angry about the Mexican flags, the hijacking of our national anthem, and especially the demands.

One leader of Mexican-American immigrants, who did not support the Day Without Immigrants protest, chastised the illegals for "demanding rights that they do not even have the right to demand." I want more immigrants like him, and like the Asian immigrants who went to work and school in Massachusetts Monday. I want the president and Congress to reform immigration laws to get more prospective good American citizens.

Two decades ago a Democratic state representative from Fall River filed an initiative petition to make English the official language here. I supported his effort, but had a hard time understanding why he was advocating the obvious. Others were puzzled too, which is probably the reason he didn't get enough signatures.

Now we can all understand his point and realize that his success could have prevented what is happening today: The ignoring of our national heritage that created the successful American melting pot.

To a sailor, "Mayday" is a signal that the ship is in trouble. Loyal Americans should also be calling for help for our ship of state and Congress and President Bush should respond.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem News, Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, (Lawrence) Eagle-Tribune, and Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Providence Journal and other newspapers.