Among the many pleasures of writing in a public setting such as Jurisdynamics is the immediacy with which writers and their audiences can connect. The audience doesn't always approve, of course, which puts an even higher premium on the value of that immediate connection. This is my fancy way of saying simply this: Some of you don't like what I've written, and this is my response.
In the past two months, especially with Born in the U.S.A., Yo soy peregrino fronterizo, and Soy hispano, y yo voto, I've turned the spotlight on immigration. Lawful and otherwise, immigration from Latin America and the rest of the world is fueling the demographic and cultural transformation of the United States in a way not seen since the height of European immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
On this much, I think, the entire Jurisdynamics readership agrees. But there are some further complications, all of which seem traceable to some emotional precommitments on my part and on the part of certain readers. To wit:
I am one of those immigrants.
I do not hide my enthusiasm for immigration to the United States and for the immigrants themselves in particular.
As the image at the top of this post demonstrates, I don't hesitate to use black-and-white and sepia images from the age of European immigration, a period of American history whose romantic appeal rivals or (in my aesthetic judgment) eclipses that of the Founding. For good measure, here's another image.
All of this sits very poorly with readers who (1) disagree with me on the merits of immigration policy and (2) chafe at my admittedly opportunistic exploitation of the visual iconography of what now seems a distant, less politically contested period in the history of American immigration.
To all of which, I will respond in the second half of this two-part series. Watch this space for the forthcoming publication of El nuevo corazón de las tinieblas. Till then, I offer the readership a familiar speech from an even older period of American history, when the very idea of the United States of America hung in the balance and the idea of liberty and union seemed done and severable, then and forever -- rendered, in this instance, in an idiom that is rapidly becoming what John Dos Passos would call "U.S.A. . . . the speech of the people":
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