Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Suing Arizona

Years ago, returning from a visit to El Paso, we were booming along a lonely Texas road in my old Corvette, enjoying the breathtaking desert scenery on the way to Carlesbad, New Mexico. Seeing something on the side of the road a long way ahead, I backed off on the throttle and coasted down to something resembling the speed limit. "Damn" I said to myself as I saw a uniformed officer getting out of his car to flag me down. I thought perhaps I'd been snagged by an airplane and was going to get a ticket, but no, the very polite officer simply asked me where I was going and where I'd come from. "And you ma'am?" he said to my uncustomarily silent wife. "He wants to hear your accent, dear. Say something."

It was really no surprise. Returning from a number of trips abroad, someone from the government hanging around the baggage claim always has managed to inquire as to where she was born or something like that -- just to hear her speak. I'm used to being embarrassed by and for my country and its undying suspicion of non-European genetics. Now of course, in Arizona, the State we usually passed through on the way to visit her brother, a retired US Army Colonel, she would be required to furnish proof of citizenship to any officer who used any pretext to stop us. My home state is hell bent to emulate them.

That's not the sad or the unexpected part of the story. That would be the fact that a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. national poll conducted a month ago showed 57 percent of Americans support Arizona's unconstitutional power grab, an attempt that if it had been backed by Democrats would surely be compared with Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin and Ted Nugent's favorite, Mao Zedong. Perhaps we can blame a lack of respect for citizens of foreign birth or for citizens with certain ethnic backgrounds or the appearance of it. Perhaps we can blame the smug attitude that "I'm blond, so what do I care?" Instead they're already trashing Obama for what they would have trashed him for had he supported it. 

The American people must wonder whether the Obama administration is really committed to securing the border when it sues a state that is simply trying to protect its people by enforcing immigration law, 

said Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain in a joint statement, as though any bad and illegal measure was justified by a legitimate problem. Representative Lamar Smith, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (Republicans all) piled on with the same arguments and attacks on Obama with all the enthusiasm of an 8th grade football team in response to the Justice Department's decision to sue.

Whether these gentlefolk really are so concerned with a real, but already decreasing problem or whether as usual, they're just trying to sabotage the Democrats even if it sinks the ship of state is impossible to tell, but of course I suspect the latter.

I do have to ask whether 57% of Americans would support the Federal Government's efforts in other important respects by allowing small town police to stop anyone and demand tax returns of anyone who appears too wealthy? I have to ask why the Tea Bag twits get away with insisting we're losing our freedom while supporting the loss. I don't have to get an answer however and I'm sure I won't. I'm also sure that nothing will ever induce me to visit that state again.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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