Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Well Whaddya Know?
I have an important reason for asking. In the Random Dozen questions from last week, one of the questions was how you get your news. I was genuinely surprised at the number of people who said they really didn't keep up with what's going on.
Did you know that what happens at your neighbor's house can affect you? Their broken water problems can become yours. Their foreclosure affects your home value. Their break in will affect you as well. It's a smart move to know what's going on in your neighborhood.
By the same token, it's a smart move to know what's going on in your state. And in your country. For instance, what happens in Arizona can affect you.
Have you heard about the Arizona immigration law? Are you aware of the turmoil that surrounds it? What's it really all about, and how does it affect you?
If you do listen to any news, you've probably heard the opinion that this law can lead to or even instigate racial profiling. You may have heard that it goes against everything our country stands for. You may have heard it compared to the laws from Hitler's day.
Our own President has said that the law leads to racial profiling. He spoke of a father who would take his children to the same ice cream store they always went to. But now, because of that law, their trip could be ruined by an overzealous cop demanding to see the father's papers. Our country's Attorney General, Eric Holder, criticized the law and said he might even be filing a civil lawsuit against it.
So what's the big deal about this law? How about the fact that most of the stuff you're hearing on the news is not true?
The Arizona law is actually an enforcement law. Meaning it was written in order to enforce laws already on the books. What laws would those be? How about federal laws?
The President of the United States balked at the possibility that a law enforcement officer would ask someone for their papers. But for over seventy years there has been a federal law that requires non U.S. citizens to carry some sort of papers showing their right to be in this country.
People claim that the law allows officers to "pick on" any one who looks ethnically diverse. However, the actual law says that officers can only ask to see papers for someone that they've already encountered breaking the law in some way. And then if there is a reasonable assumption that they might be illegal, the police can ask to see their papers.
As for our Attorney General, the one who is charged with upholding the law of the land--well, after threatening a lawsuit against Arizona, he admitted that he's never actually read the bill. That's right. He wanted to sue Arizona for a law when he didn't even know what the law was really about.
Okay, you say. But seriously how does this affect me? How about, for starters, the fact that the lies spread about this law are causing an uproar across the land? How about the fact that people are now wanting to boycott the state of Arizona? So from there, what if someone decides to boycott your state because your state doesn't recognize gay marriage? Or teen abortions without parental consent? Not such a far step away, is it?
What happened to states' rights? Especially in the case of a law that was made in order to uphold federal laws? How did we get so twisted and get things so distorted from the truth?
I think it's because we haven't been listening. We don't want to know what's going on, so we close our eyes and ears and say it doesn't have anything to do with us.
Funny thing, that's what good, moral, upright people did in Germany in the 1930's. As persecution of the Jews increased, people turned away and said it was none of their business. They said it didn't concern them. And because they didn't speak up, the tide of hatred and the will of a monster spread almost across the globe.
Hmmm. come to think of it, maybe this is like Nazi Germany after all.