Friday, April 30, 2010
Why aren't the teabaggers, so suspicious of government intrusion, outraged? Could it be that they have no actual principles?
In my local paper the other day -- so far north from the fray that our Latino gardeners, roofers, guys hanging at Home Depot in the morning, don't seem worried at all -- was a letter to the editor. "Excuse me" if I don't have sympathy for the Arizona illegals, he said, with me paraphrasing. A former legal immigrant himself, now a citizen, he'd dutifully carried his green card with him at all times, in those bygone days. So, he says, what's the big deal?
Hey, it's not a big deal for actual illegals, I guess. Illegal is illegal. But here's the thing, as I understand it: police are charged with stopping anyone about whom there might be a "reasonable" suspicion of their illegality. Based on shoes, evidently. Thus identified, and absent "papers," they can be taken to jail and, if found later to be on the up and up, the gathered up are still responsible for legal costs. So it's not about illegals after all. It's about legals. And citizens. And everyone with dark dermis and felonious footwear. You damn better have your papers.
So what would you carry? Passport? Birth certificate? Everywhere? Would you? I wouldn't, and I'd be pissed if I thought I had to. So, you'd think, would the bag-dippers. Who's next, they like to ask. Okay, yeah: they're about concentration camps and stealing your kids and other made-up stuff, and this is real; but it shouldn't be that much of a leap... This is police state stuff, isn't it? The very thing over which they get out their crayons. I'm fine with controlling illegal immigration. But is this the way? Every time we get scared, must we give up more rights? And the thing is, most actual citizens would have a much harder time with "proof" than immigrants -- legals of whom will have papers, and illegals of whom might well have printed some nice ones up. So, who gets screwed?
[Having written the above, I read an opinion piece in the NYT that takes significant exception to much of the popular characterization of the law. Maybe it's just a no-nonsense piece of smart legislation. On the other hand, Arizona is not exactly known for its sanity; and even a Bush is unhappy with the law. In Forbes Magazine, hardly a liberal bastion, this article asks the same question I did above: where's the conservative outrage? Especially since the law makes Arizona like France.]