When you were young, didn’t you always think of the (contemporary) United States as being, well….united? I was remembering the awesomeness of ignorant bliss and sugar-coated education, and how I always assumed being an American meant being on the same page about what was good and what was bad, and because of that, I was all about being an American because Americans could do no wrong. I’ll put it this way: In Rocky II, I rooted for Apollo Creed, solely based on his trunks and entrance music. Little did I realize how people in American flag-patterned clothing would send shivers down my spine later on in life…
I hope everyone reading this has already learned of the immigration law Arizona recently passed. The law makes it a crime to be in the U.S. illegally and mandates that police make a “reasonable attempt” to verify the immigration status of folks they “reasonably suspect” are here illegally. ::sigh:: Before I go in, let me first say that there is a real problem in Arizona. Everyone and their mother knows that Mexico has been having some serious trouble keeping the drug cartels under control from taking over. The border states have to deal with the drug trafficking and crime that comes with a border that isn’t 100% secure. That being said, I’m going to dive in and be the millionth person to say that this law is a f*cking terrible idea. I will now make a half-hearted attempt to illustrate this in a pragmatic way.
Let’s, for one moment, close our eyes and try really hard to imagine that this new law isn’t racist. Come on, just try. Now, the Arizona po-po have been told they must look into anyone they think could reasonably be undocumented. Luckily, the law says that you can’t use race or ethnicity as the sole basis for questioning ::whew:: Well, can someone please explain how one would reasonably suspect that another is here illegally without taking their race or ethnicity into account? Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Hell, the damn governor herself couldn’t explain how this was supposed to be done!
For my yuppies having trouble conceptualizing this: imagine someone at Happy Hour asking you to proactively identify a foreign bottled beer from domestic bottled beers that have been poured into mugs. Now imagine that you were told you couldn’t base your assessment solely on what the beer looked like or spoke like but if you reasonably thought a beer was foreign, you could ask to see its bottle to identify it. One might look at a dark, foamy stout and one might assume it was Guinness. So now you ask to see its label…only to find out it was DogFish Chicory stout, made right here in Maine. Luckily for Dogfish Chicory, if it forgot its domestic bottle on the kitchen counter, it wouldn’t get thrown in the back of an Arizona police cruiser.
As divided as people are on this, I’m not saying anything new. The president has come out and called bullshit on this. Yuptivists have been working overtime to fight this. Many religious leaders have come out and demanded that this be rethought on moral and ethical grounds. I however, will take a different approach and tip Arizona on why they should reconsider this law, if purely self-serving reasons: History will not redeem them. The lawmakers may truly believe this is the best way to handle this and are taking an “it’s for your own good” approach, but it won’t mean anything if a generation from now no one believes them. Why? Because, as Americans we’ve seen this before. In practice, this law could amount to ANYONE who looks like a runaway slave immigrant being forced to show their freedom papers documentation. Even scarier is that it’s a not-so-far stroll away from asking non-citizens to wear yellow stars Mexican flags. Catch my drift? They will be painted as bigots and villains, regardless of what their intentions really are. So please Arizona, think this over, if only for yourself. Although I’m sure that my future child’s history teacher will sugar coat a lot, I’d hope you’d want to spare them from having to apologize on your behalf.
Now, back to why I love America (also, check out Slob’s first post if you haven’t already)