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Saturday, April 01, 2006 ISSUE #403
 

Will asks, "Is this the End of a Nation?"

April 1, 2006

COLUMBUS: All I know is what I read in the newspaper, and 11,000,000 illegal immigrants have knocked every other story off the front page. They are mostly Mexicans, and curiously, President went to Cancun, Mexico, this week to meet with President Vincente Fox. Mr. Bush came home smiling, because the entire meeting was in Spanish and he didn't know any more when he left than he did before he got there. Tonight they rounded up an interpreter who not only understands Spanish but also diplomacy. It seems that what Mr. Fox promised was to keep sending 3 or 4 million Mexicans a year across our border, just as long as they keep sending back home at least $20 Billion a year. It may not be a good plan, but at least they will work. We sure won't get any immigrants from France looking for work. Those young French students want a job, a guaranteed job, but not if there is any work attached to it.

I know it is April 1, but the following story is the absolute truth, and nothing but the truth.

Once upon a time, a nation prospered in peace and affluence for many years. But trouble lay just across the border. The neighboring land was filled to the bursting point and the people eyed the vast inviting lands with envy. For a few years a small number of "intruders" would sneak across the boundary, and the government forcibly evicted them. But many managed to stay, legally or otherwise, and more would inevitably follow.

Before long the intruders were swarming into the nation. Some were there legitimately as employees, but others came surreptitiously and each claimed a piece of the foreign land as their own. They didn't pay for it, just squatted on it. A significant number of the intruders were wanted criminals who crossed the border to escape arrest.

Finally, an irritated prominent local citizen wrote a letter to his national leader. "Are we powerless to enforce our own laws? Are we to submit to such great wrongs by these men who are not citizens? Our laws are not enforced. Men are hauling away our cattle in open violation of the law and the sheriff knows it. Timber is being cut and taken away while the sheriff watches. How in the world can we hold up as a nation when our officers don't respect the law and the oath they have taken to uphold the law."

About two years later a small portion of the nation relented and sold, for a pittance, a significant section of land, which was turned over to the intruders. Instead of appeasing the intruder population it only created more pressure on the nation to open its borders.

The biggest business in the nation lobbied relentlessly to allow even more intruders. They saw an expanding intruder population as essential to economic growth in the nation.

Ok, any idea yet where this "nation" is? Here comes a hint. Seeing the looming conflict in this particular nation, the U. S. Congress jumped into the fray, led by a Senator from Massachusetts. After much rhetoric and debate Congress made a decision: they came down firmly on the side of the Intruders.

How could this be? Even the Senator from Massachusetts admitted that the nation was prosperous, "Although a tiny number of individuals control about one-seventh of the nation's wealth (land) there is not a family in the entire nation without a home. There is not a pauper in the nation, and the nation does not owe a single dollar." Now who could ask for more than that? But somehow this was not good enough to keep this nation intact and protected from Intruders. Congress created a Commission to negotiate with a delegation of representatives from the nation. One of those representatives was the "prominent local citizen" quoted above. He became exasperated at the delegation's inability to reach a consensus on what their position should be. Five years after the U.S. government got involved, and all the negotiating was over with, Congress passed the Curtis Act, abolishing the laws of this "nation" and mandating that all land be divided up equally among its citizens.

The end of a nation as we knew it occurred in 1898. The Senator from Massachusetts was Henry Dawes, head of the Dawes Commission. The Intruders were mainly from Kansas and Arkansas. The big business encouraging the Intruders was the Missouri Pacific Railroad, which built a line through the nation in 1889. The "nation" was the Cherokee Nation, part of Indian Territory which in 1907 became the state of Oklahoma. The "prominent local citizen" (who also helped write the state constitution for Oklahoma), was Clem Rogers, father of Will Rogers.

To quote another Oklahoman, Paul Harvey: And now you know the rest of the story.

Let's hope the story does not repeat itself. I prefer reading my newspaper in English.

(My source for the story is Ben Yagoda's biography of Will Rogers, a wonderful, detailed book published in 1993.)


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