This is a hard subject to talk about.
President Trump and I belong to a generation when the natural law of “becoming American” was still operational, even for Indians who immigrated here in the 1960s. I know several.
Donald Trump’s family has been here three generations, only he and his father were born in this country. Of the three, I’d like most to have met his grandfather because I was raised in a part of the country which had its own boom-and-bust economies and the comings and goings of miners were a lot like Skagway in the Gold Rush days; everyone racing to get to the rich coal veins first.
I’d known who Donald Trump was for years, but only took an interest in his background when he announced in 2015. It was then I found out about the Drumpf who came to America from Germany in the late 1880s, was successful in the hotel business in Seattle and Alaska, then went back to Germany to find a proper wife, then returned to the US where he set up a construction business in Queens. He died in the Flu epidemic in 1918. I used his story as a basis for my “Law of Generations” analysis in 2015, for when Grandfather Frederick died, Fred, Jr took over the business, alongside his mother, and as it says in the Old Testament, they were then into their second generation of “begats”.
Donald Trump is the quintessential “to be American” success story, and right on cue, in the third generation, when all the pieces came together. My family has been here since the mid-1600s, but it would be around the same time Frederick Drumpf came back to America that my grandfather quit an eight-generation existence farming limestone in east Tennessee to take work as a hireling in the boom coal towns in east Kentucky. Eight generations and not a thing to show for it until one kinsman sold his inheritance to go work for another man’s money.
I use that same yardstick to measure the differences between Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. Jackson was a co-founder of the Democratic Party, in 1828, and depending on your modern political preferences was either one of the greatest presidents in America, the Age of Jackson, the spoils system, career politicians, corrupt government, all of which still define his party today, or a scoundrel.
Jackson was the son of Scotch-Irish immigrants who had settled in the Carolinas two years before he was born in 1767. As a teenager he did courier service with the Continental Army, was captured by British, so was a genuine veteran by the time he was 14. On that account He rose in social rank in the Carolinas and Tennessee and bought his first slave when he was 21.
By contrast, Abraham Lincoln’s family first came to America in 1638, and he was born in Kentucky in 1809. But after six generations his branch of the Lincoln family were still having to scratch out a living on marginal land, and having to read (borrowed) books by the light of a log cabin fireplace. Richard Brookhiser tells that story best in his Founders’ Son for it describes how knowledge of the Founders and the Founding came to Lincoln (with firelight), and later, in his 20s in Illinois, Thomas Paine. He was a full-fledged American.
History doesn’t record if Andrew Jackson ever gave the noble thoughts behind our Independence or self-governance a second thought. But one of the first books Abe Lincoln ever read at age 11 was Rev Weems’ Life of Washington and history does record the impact it, and Washington’s personal values, had on his life.
Since I was intimate with my grandfather’s somewhat hermit life of retirement, and his tiny library of the Bible, Pliny’s Natural History and a few other tracts, alongside his backjack, brass knucks, and Army Colt, I’ve always believed those extra generations, and Bible teaching in the home, matter in how a person and his family turn out.
The Republican Party was not formed until 1854, while the Democratic Party was formed a generation earlier. But it was the Republican Party under Abraham Lincoln that carried the body and soul of those values found in the Declaration and Constitution, while the Democratic Party was carried forward by values and beliefs that extended back at least a thousand years earlier, all based on the corruptibility of man and the preferred pecking order those centuries had molded into institutions that suited only a political class.
Andrew Jackson knew nothing of these things. He was first generation American and matured with his passions and worldview more or less untempered. Therefore in the modern context, he is a hero to some, and a scoundrel to others.
Which brings us to Green Visas for highly-trained tech specialists, largely from India.
I went to college with Indians in the 1960s. Most were in the College of Engineering. A few got business degrees. Although I’m sure there were a few, I never knew a liberal arts grad from India. In my corporate life (1979-89) Indians took up some of our plant positions, such as quality control. They were strict in their demands on their children, as their kids were not allowed the time to enjoy sports or social gatherings, instead being at home studying. (Only recently have I begun to watch 1980s “teen culture” films just to get a grasp of what the teen-age Blasey-Ford’s were up to in those days. I thought “Valley Girls” was just a term, not a real cultural phenomenon. Who knew?)
I also watched the 2013 film “The Internship” about campus life at Google, which I believe is pure propaganda. I knew in the late 90s that Yahoo! had been essential in helping the Chinese build their internet with safeguards that would allow the government to know who is disloyal, among other things.. Google came later, but tens of thousands have been jailed since the early 2000’s. Of course Google and Facebook were also in the front lines of developing Arab Spring for Hillary and the Obama administration.
Indian professionals I know from the Richmond area tell me they know of almost no native born Indians, i.e. 2nd generation, who are involved in the tech sector. They are almost all foreign born and educated.
I can only issue a cautionary note.
Not all the immigrants who came to this country during the great immigrant wave that brought Frederick Drumpf, 1880s-1920s, started at the ground floor. Prominent European business and banking families sent family members to New York and other business centers to, quite frankly, pluck the golden goose, simply because, they believed we were doing it all wrong. Woodrow Wilson invited German banking help with the formation of the Federal Reserve, if you need any greater clue as to their intentions.
The centralized government bug has been in our government since at least the Wilson era and it was always aided and abetted by foreign interests which wanted us to be more like them.
Until now, to one degree or another, America has been able to deal with these impulses and forces based largely on the strength of the unique American culture, more specifically, the “to be American” culture, that every person, from childhood on, be made aware of the shoulders they stand on, not just spiritual, or patriotic, but also economic, to chase after their own fortune.
Many immigrants in the past century succeeded at this quickly, but for most it was largely a three-generation process. Donald Trump proves this. So did Abraham Lincoln. In an ass-backward way, so did Andy “By-God” Jackson.
What Big Tech has been attempting to do, and I think, intentionally, and Senator Mike Lee should be ashamed of himself for not seeing this, for a true Constitutional conservative cannot hold two contradictory insights, is to inject at the upper levels of American management society an army…not a few bankers…but an army of individuals who cannot, nor will not, “become American” in the sense we have always believed the vast majority of Americans consider to be the core of our cultural make-up.
They would wish to change the demographic from bottom to top with immigrants. A permanent management class made up of these sorts of people can destroy the ideal of America in short order. They will never have to run for elective office, yet gain a grip on the business of America anyway.
Indians are not above being assimilated into “becoming American”. I know too many who are flag-waving Americans, even converted Christians who first came here as Hindus. But they were educated here, in America. (The first time I ever heard the name “Pop”, which my 49-year old son now calls me, was when Number One Son, played by Key Luke, called his father Charlie Chan “Pop” in one of his crime films. Proof from 1941 of the socialization power of being educated in America.
But if educated abroad, and Indians have always been very much in tune with the aristocratic manners of the English, including the “thousand yard stare”, even as they hated it under the Raj, it is not a thing easily cast aside in exchange for a “Hiya, Pop!”
We rail about little stuff, but this is big stuff.
So let President Trump know the full meaning of this Green Visa. Without preconditions and at least a pathway toward required assimilation before citizenship (i.e, rules that are Obama-proof, should another one ever come along in the next 50 years), or a long term plan to replace visa holders with native born students as their numbers