by Mel Griffith
Recently the president caused an uproar by proposing that an Arab-owned company operate some of our ports. The commotion shows that ethnic prejudice is still alive and well in America. There is a long tradition in America of thinking that the latest wave of immigrants, whoever they are, are going to ruin the country. First, it was the Irish, then the Jews, then the Italians and East Europeans. But by the third generation, most descendants of immigrants can't be told from those whose ancestors were here before the Revolution. Actually, the only group in our history ruined by permitting too much immigration was the Indians.
Let's look at the facts. The United Arab Emirates, where the port company is based is, except for Israel, our best friend in the Middle East. They permit our Navy ships to be serviced there and let us have airbases there. They take a lot of grief from some of their neighbors for being our friends. How do we repay them for being generous? We lump them with the terrorists and slap them in the face. That's sure a great way to encourage other Middle Eastern countries to take the risk of being our friends. It's not just that we want the ports operated only by Americans. The company that is already operating them is British and there hasn't been any fuss about that.
Much has been made of the fact that two of the nineteen 9/11 highjackers came from the UAE. Well, Timothy McVey, who blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City, was from Buffalo, New York. Does that mean we shouldn't let anybody from New York near our ports? Keep in mind that the people operating the ports have nothing to do with port security. That is in the hands of federal officials, regardless of who does the actual work.
Congressman Harold Ford, of all people, has been all over the TV spouting anti-Arab prejudice. You would think that since he is black he would be somewhat sensitive to prejudice against people who are different, but apparently prejudice is all right with him as long as it isn't directed at blacks.
The crisis has gone away due to the Arab company withdrawing from the deal. Port operations will go on exactly as if it had taken over. Nothing has been accomplished by the uproar except to prove to a lot of Middle Easterners and other people that it isn't worthwhile to be friends to the United States. Now that all the excitement has died down, the agitators can get back to their usual occupation of worrying about Mexicans. The same sort of people who in times past warned that the Irish or the Italians or somebody else were going to ruin the country are now sure that the Mexicans will destroy it. The fact is that if all the Mexicans suddenly went home, our economy would collapse and food prices skyrocket. Mexicans now build our farm buildings, milk our cows, catch and process our poultry, plant and harvest our vegetables, not to mention a lot of other jobs nobody else wants to do. Those who want them gone should be careful what they wish for, they might not like it if they get it.