Speaking to the National Council of La Raza, Biden spoke of how his Irish immigrant forebears faced discrimination like that faced by Latino immigrants, and how the ''voices of exclusion'' have been trying to pull ''us'' back. Biden's ''us'' apparently refers to him and his kin along with their kindred souls of La Raza. His 'us' excludes mainstream American citizens.
''Biden recalled that Irish Americans too faced a wave of discrimination and bigotry when they arrived en masse in the 19th and 20th centuries, with signs like "No Irish allowed" or "No irish [sic] need apply" greeting them in many major American cities.
"The same kind of backlash — that kind of backlash — is not new in American history; it is not new in American politics," Biden said.
"But then we in America prevailed because of the better angels of the American people," Biden said. "But even though the stakes are higher today and more consequential and more severe today, I am still convinced you — we — will prevail because of the better angels of the American people."
Notice his uses of 'we' and 'us.' The 'us' does not include people like me, of colonial stock. We, you see, were the 'voices of exclusion', the villains in his little play.
In a bit of irony, Biden says that Romney wants immigrants to show their papers, "but he won't show us his.'' Now, who comes to mind here?
As to the old 'No Irish need apply' canard, I've addressed that here on this blog, but sadly, the story lives on, even on RR and WN sites. Often a commenter will repeat that his great-granddad was greeted with 'no Irish need apply' signs, and treated 'worse than blacks,' and in a supreme bit of unselfconscious irony, usually concludes by saying ''but you don't hear me crying about it." Really? Seems to me that's exactly what the writer is doing.
Fortunately, even one FReeper commenting on the Biden speech links to a story debunking the 'No Irish need apply' business, but he won't be heeded. People do love that story; it's their story, and they're sticking to it.
I'm not begrudging people their 'immigrant roots' stories, even if they do resort to allegations of persecution, minority-style. I just wish they would realize, if they purport to be ethnopatriots, that this whole immigrant victimization storyline is keeping us divided, and in fact, delegitimizes our cause. Biden illustrates how, if you take this attitude, you end up siding with the 'undocumented Americans' cause because you have made it illegitimate to want to control borders, and have made it morally wrong to want to maintain an existing way of life and the integrity of your own ethnic group/race/culture.
Biden's ancestry, by the way, does appear to be Irish according to these sources, I had to check for myself because I remember the incident years ago when Biden made a speech in which he plagiarized British politician Neal Kinnock's own 'humble origins' speech. It appears he so liked Kinnock's sad story of pulling himself up by the bootstraps from a family of hardscrabble coal-miners, that he himself claimed to be descended from coal-miners, which appears not to be true.
We do love our 'underdog' stories, don't we, here in America.
And that's part of our weakness.