by Chris Bodenner
Whatever positive function nativism and bigotry, institutionalized and otherwise, may have performed in encouraging greater, faster assimilation is far outweighed by the harassment and discrimination endured by new immigrants as a result. This attempt at even-handedness also leads Douthat to underappreciate the extent to which, just as newly arriving Catholic, Jewish, Italian, German, and Chinese immigrants became more American upon arriving here, America itself became more Catholic, Jewish, Italian, German, and Chinese as a result of their arrival.
This, also, is part of what I think makes America unique: “Assimilation” has never been a one-way street. New arrivals to America have adopted American ways as their own, but they’ve also changed the way that we define and understand what it is to be American. Resistance to this is, I think, a big part of what underlies much of the opposition to the Cordoba House: Many Americans are uncomfortable with the fact and it is a fact that America will become, is becoming, more Islamic.
Duss also makes an excellent closing point - appropriated here as a response to Harry Reid's cowardly opposition to Cordoba.