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Every president inherits problems, but President George W. Bush had more than his share dumped on him. The Little Rock wrecking crew left festering situations and unattended issues strewn all over the globe. Like nouveau riche hillbillies, they wasted the wealth they inherited and made a mess of the White House, stealing some of its treasures on the way out.

Clinton talked about education but did nothing to improve it other than stuff money into the pockets of the education unions and the educrats. Clinton misused the men and women in the military, leaving them bereft of resources, overextended and discouraged. He made new enemies abroad and stiffened the resolve of old ones by arrogant and violent intrusions into the affairs of other nations. He prattled on about the fiscal illness of Social Security and Medicare, but never offered a remedy. He invited an energy crisis by ignoring its looming presence while pandering to wacky American greenies and Mother Earth idolaters. He disregarded clear signals that a sagging economy required help and handed his successor an impending recession. He undercut the moral standards of the nation by modeling a contempt for decency. He undermined the law by skirting its intent and corrupting the processes of the Justice Department itself.

Then, there is immigration. The Clinton administration did little more than watch a literal invasion by illegal immigrants flowing daily across pervious borders. The epicenter of the invasion is California. To the extent that California presages what will eventually happen across the nation, it is time to send a signal: “America, we have a problem!”

If you live in Idaho, you might ask, “What is the problem? Wasn’t America founded by immigrants? Isn’t immigration a good thing?” The answer is that America has carefully defined a legal way for immigrants to enter the country. The policy is generous and inclusive. Managed immigration is considered a good thing.

However, the recently conducted census informs us that the number of illegal aliens in the United States is between 10 and 12 million, significantly higher than previously estimated. It is now believed that between 4 and 5 million of them are in California.

The successful assimilation of immigrants into the California mainstream is not happening. The overload is feeding street gangs, filling jails, fueling the energy crisis, depressing wages, swamping the educational system, flooding social services, populating ghettos and provoking ethnic separatism.

Seventy-five percent of the cocaine smuggled into the United States comes through the Mexican border. Sixty percent of the births in the community hospitals of Los Angeles are to parents illegally in this country. There are more than 200 different languages spoken in Los Angeles alone.

Over a million students in California public schools have little or no knowledge of the English language. Not coincidentally, California’s schools, once a paragon of excellence, are now among the worst in the nation.

There was a time when newcomers arrived in America eager to learn the language, get jobs, prove themselves, and become “real” Americans as quickly as possible. Today, increasing numbers of immigrants do not accommodate American society but expect and demand that American society accommodate them — with benefits, privileges and rights.

We have conceded to this ominous development and pander to it. The mindset leading to the redistribution of wealth within America has spread like a liberal weed across national borders. We give many of the benefits of citizenship to people illegally in our country, and we export jobs. We are running an affirmative action program for the rest of the world, one calculated to bridge economic disparities.

Reinforced in their separatism, hundreds of thousands of immigrants have no interest in learning the English language or adopting the culture of their new country. They have formed separate communities that function as avant-garde outposts of their countries of origin.

The slogan we constantly hear is: “Our strength is our diversity.” There are assumptions underlying this assertion that are rarely mentioned. Diversity is not necessarily a strength. It can be a fatal weakness.

It can be a strength if there are unifying values, a common language, a cohesive culture, and a sense of loyalty and allegiance to the same nationality. Diverse people can then organize themselves around and make unique contributions to the whole. But, without unifying values and commonalties, diversity can generate conflict, internecine hatred and social fragmentation, tearing a country apart at its ethnic seams.

Clinton did not deal with this problem, and President Bush has not addressed it. The national motto “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one) is in danger of becoming “E Unum Pluribus.”

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