“In those dark hours [for the French in World War I], that vision of France as a generous nation, of France as a project, of France promoting universal values, was the exact opposite of the egotism of a people who look after only their interests, because patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism is a betrayal of it.” — President Macron of France, flatulating on Armistice Day, November 11, 2018
“The beginning of any society is never charming or gentle.” — Franca Bettoia, as Ruth Collins, in The Last Man on Earth, 1964
The Last Man on Earth was a Vincent Price movie made in 1964. The year before the beginning of the end. In 1965, all of our restrictive immigration laws were dismantled, in accordance with ushering in a new era of civil rights, and, in many ways, I personally date all subsequent historical events using that milestone. Even in 1965, as a child, I understood that this was a watershed moment, and one ominous in its implications.
Few others had the same forebodings. America, people reasoned, was strong, invincible, and confident. With promises from politicians that the demographics and politics of the U.S. would remain unaltered, our nation’s gates were flung open to the world.
They lied, as the evidence of our own eyes verifies, and, forty years later, I entered the lobby of a local library and encountered an ancient woman diligently yanking down public notices from a bulletin board. When I asked what she was doing, she smiled, and said, in accented English, “These notices are written in ten different languages, translations paid for with my tax dollars. If someone had the right to put them up on a public board, I have the same right to pull them down. Let them learn English, as I did.” As I pondered the woman’s response, she trundled out the door and down the street, away from the scene of her mischief. Read more