Now that the right wingers have settled on "throw the brown people out" as their chosen wedge issue for the 2006 midterm elections, we're seeing the return of a great code word: assimilation.
Why can't those brown people just stop speaking Spanish, stop waving flags around and get back to their jobs picking fruit and cleaning our toilets?
Frankly, the rhetoric surrounding "assimilation" and the brown peoples' resistance to it reminds me a little too much of the right-wing rhetoric about gay people. Why can't those gays just shut up about what they do in the bedroom? Why do they have to shove it in my face all the time? Why do they have to show up at the White House Easter Egg Roll and disrupt everything with their perverted desires?
There is a racist angle to all this. After all, Michelle Malkin isn't writing columns about how the St. Patrick's Day Parade is a rejection of American values.
But in the end, I think, the "assimilation" gambit is less about racism and more about the right wing's insistence that they and only they know the "proper" way to live, the "proper" way to be an American. How dare they think they can decide for anyone else what it means to be an American? How dare they decide that they are the final arbiter of what American culture should look like?
How dare they.
UPDATE: I have to say, with all the caterwauling about the "loss of American culture" (translation: too many brown people speaking gibberish), I get a little rush of pleasure thinking about Rick Santorum or Tom Tancredo waking up one morning and realizing that *he* was the minority.
It's not as pleasurable as the phrase "The Vice President shot an old man in the face," but it's close.