Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Twenty-Three: Arizona Burning

Look like America is inventing new ways to alienate folks.

Wow. I mean, that’s about all I can say about today’s episode. For some reason, it seems as though Congress is once again taking good intentions and implementing terrible actions to achieve them. OK, for those of you totally blind to what’s been going down, the state of Arizona has passed a bill called Senate Bill 1070 on April 23rd, that would make it a misdemeanor offense for illegal immigrants to be in the state without federal documentation, and gives the authorities the right to stop persons if it’s deemed by reasonable doubt they may be illegal citizens.

Whoa! I don’t even know where to begin with this one. It seems to me (and legions of other people) that the Arizona Police Force just got the green light to pull over anyone they see that doesn’t “look American.”

I’m sorry, have we just time traveled back to 1942? We might as well resurrect the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) and make it illegal for being to be anti-Democratic in Maine, or Delaware, or any other state.

Ok, for the record: I am not against detaining illegal immigrants, or more vigorously defending the border. Like most of you, I was born an American citizen, and while it seems like I have my beefs with American government, I don’t take this country for granted, nor do I think it’s fair to pay taxes to pay for people who are here illegally to be entitled to rights and privileges an American citizen has to work to be given simply because they are less fortunate than I. (I had a really bad incident with an illegal immigrant ramming into my car with no insurance some years ago, so I understand why we need stuff like this) However, where I draw the line is knowing the fact that cops now have what seems to be a random ability to stop folk and demand to see ID. As if we’re back in Poland during the days of WWII. Come on now, we ALL know who this was targeted at. I may not be of Latin descent, but I still have issue when any race in this country is being singled out for what seems like persecution.

I guess I’m sighing more is because the scary part of this is that the majority of the country is actually in support of this bill. So, what does that say about us as Americans? That we now condone people who don’t seem to be American on first glance (which I don’t even see how it’s possible)? That we as a people are more suspicious and more irrational now than we were 30 years ago? Or are we honestly so tired of people entering into this country illegally so much that we’re willing to go to these lengths and potentially rip the fundamentals of the Bill of Rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – to stop it.

There are a lot of people who have come out to publicly oppose this bill, and rightfully so. For example, many Major League Baseball players have opposed this bill, and with good reason. 25-30% of the athletes in the Majors are of Latin American descent, so they are outraged by this. Some have even gone as far as to try to convince the Major League office to remove the MLB All-Star form Phoenix in 2011 if this bill is still on legislature by then, and if not they will boycott the game. The Phoenix Suns, who are currently involved in this year’s NBA Playoffs, will wear the “Los Suns” jerseys they wear to honor the Latin community as a sign of protest in their playoff showdown tonight with the San Antonio Spurs (which would normally never happen in the playoffs). And, as you can guessed it, there have been protests, marches, speak-outs, and everything under the sun exercised to let Gov. Jan Brewer know how unjust this law seems to be. I haven’t even mentioned the trickle-down this will have on the Arizonian economy, as the local business and some of the bigger chains frequently patronized by immigrants in Arizona may not support these businesses out of fear to go outside, spite, or both.

Like I stated earlier, I’m all for defending America’s borders. There have been some horrible things that have happened when we didn’t step up. But not like this. If we as a country are supposed to the “Gold Standard” of freedom, equality, “and justice for all”, I don’t see how this was a step in that direction. Seems to me we just made it legal in one state for the flood gates of finger pointing to be thrown wide open. Kind of like being back in school, and no one knew who was the smelly kid was in class, but had their suspicions. This law just made it legal to not only to sniff out that kid, but also to kick them out of school just because they looked like they stunk.

Let’s just hope this gets hot situation stays – and hopefully dies – in Arizona. Otherwise, they’ll be a lot more burning around here.

5/5/2010

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