Many years ago, before I came to my senses and moved to the country, I lived in the Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy, more commonly known as Northern Virginia.
Back in the mid-1970s, Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County had their share of cultural enrichment, but the situation wasn’t as extreme then as it is now. In those days the vast majority of area residents, even the blue-collar workers, were still “persons of American background”. But all that has changed in the decades since.
By following the pattern of post-war ethnic immigration, one can trace the course of America’s overseas foreign policy disasters. One of the oldest immigrant groups was the Koreans, who presumably emigrated during or after the Korean War. Then came the Vietnamese in the seventies, the ones who were lucky enough to be among the boat people who escaped. Iranians flocked in after the fall of the Shah, and Afghans started arriving during the Soviet occupation. In the early nineties it was the turn of the Iraqis, and then Somalis after 1993.
Throughout the entire period Spanish-speaking Latin Americans have poured in. Besides the Mexicans — who may well be the largest group; I haven’t seen the statistics — there are Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, and others.
Northern Virginia is now one of the most multiethnic areas — I hesitate to say “communities” — in the world. If you visit the strip malls or the neighborhoods of low-rent apartment complexes, you can walk for miles without encountering another native English-speaker — unless, of course, he happens to be a parole officer or a telecom repairman.
I returned to the area in the late nineties as a consultant for an engineering firm, commuting to Annandale during the week and returning home on weekends. That’s when I discovered the new demographic composition that had gradually emerged during my twenty-year absence. White-collar white people commuted in from the tonier suburbs to work in the high-rises, but almost everybody who actually lived in the area was part of the diversity that everyone else was so busy celebrating.
I tended to keep late hours at the office where I worked, and was often still slaving away when the cleaning crew arrived in the middle of the evening. The cleaning workers were all women, obviously Hispanics, and probably Salvadorans, at least according to the office rumor. They were young and diffident, and seemed to speak no English.
The engineers in the office would sometimes collect empty equipment boxes and crates with the intention of re-using them later for other purposes. In the past, before the advent of full cultural enrichment, taping a sign that read “THIS IS NOT TRASH” to the stack of boxes was sufficient to deter the cleaning crew from carting them off.
However, once the Salvadorans came on the scene, this tactic no longer worked — sign or not, the boxes disappeared at night. Recognizing the linguistic problem, one of the engineers who knew Spanish started posting signs that said “NO ES BASURA”, which meant the same thing.
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This expedient worked for a while, but eventually it ceased being effective — the boxes started disappearing again. I’d show up in the morning and hear people swearing at the cleaning crews for their incompetence and indifference.
One night I happened to pass by the storage room and saw a young woman who worked for the cleaning contractor. She was about to transfer a pile of “NO ES BASURA” boxes to her big bin. I walked in, pointed at the boxes, and said, “No es basura!”
“Ah,” she replied in sudden comprehension, “no es basura!” And she put the boxes back.
This young lady not only lacked all knowledge of the English language, she was also illiterate.
The incident occurred more than a decade ago. Has the situation improved in the interim?
Does anyone want to bet that the number of literate English-speakers in Northern Virginia has increased since then?
The administration’s latest amnesty plan — which has extensive bipartisan support — would regularize people like the woman who cleaned our offices. Millions of people who can neither speak English nor read will be on the fast track to citizenship and the franchise.
This is not something that anybody else is doing to us. Americans are quite voluntarily doing it to themselves.
Millions of my fellow citizens voted for Barack Hussein Obama and the Democrats now in Congress who are busy implementing the Dear Leader’s plans. Americans have been voting in the open-borders crowd election after election for decades. And now the usual suspects are beavering away up there in D.C., busily creating the Socialist People’s Republic of North America.
Better paint “¡No es basura!” on your forehead right now.
And hope that the Block Wardens know how to read.