Thousands of U.S. troops made the ultimate sacrifice during WWII to help defeat a fascist scourge that cruelly forced Europeans of other than Aryan origin to wear special markings and carry identifying papers.
More recently, an incensed global community assisted Nelson Mandela and his courageous freedom fighters in abolishing a despised apartheid system infamous for the “pass books” that South African blacks always had to have in their possession.
Now, via the signature of Arizona’s Republican governor, police in that state, where children continue to recite a flag pledge that ends with “with liberty and justice for all,” will have the totalitarian authority to profile Hispanics or “foreign-looking” people, and demand to see their documentation, at arbitrary whim.
As a 13-year-old Latino citizen from Phoenix told the Associated Press, “It’s going to change our lives. We can’t walk to school anymore. We can’t be in the streets without the pigs thinking we’re illegal immigrants.”
The measure means that countless brown-skinned souls will be politically, legally and economically discriminated against, and effectively segregated.
Remarkably, this profoundly unconstitutional lurch toward tyranny will not be protested, in the least, by white Tea Party types who show up at rallies with holstered handguns and huge placards declaring “Don’t tread on me!”
Their only concern is the demented belief that freedom’s erosion in this nation comes from a duly-elected President they crazily see as being either a Kenyan by birth, a Muslim, a Marxist, or the anti-christ.
Stewing in unacknowledged racism, their prejudice poisonously floods the immigration issue. Totally absent from their understanding is this pivotal truth:
Nearly 200 million people work outside their countries of birth, and an equal number are migrants inside their own countries. Nativists blame immigrants for flat wages, scarce jobs, and our declining labor movement. However, the responsibility lies with corporations that launched an all-out assault on wages and unions in the 1970s — well before today’s wave of migration began…The IMF and World Bank reproduced this scenario around the world, driving down wages and worker rights in at least 90 countries under IMF ‘structural adjustment programs.’ Immigrants aren’t destroying the ‘blue collar middle class,’ corporations are. — Center for Labor Renewal Statement on Worker Migration
It’s in every wage-earning American’s best bread-and-butter interest to make common cause with all minorities to gain the pivotal strength that, alone, will give us the united power to curb monopolies, bust trusts, and end divisive hatreds so useful to those who constantly plunder Main Street to lavish Wall Street.
Terrorizing darker-skinned folks whose worst “crime” might be fleeing the poverty that global economic injustice perpetuates in their places of birth — to find a dubiously better life toiling from sun to sun in dusty Southwestern farm fields — is entirely wrong, and ultimately self-defeating.
It was Jesus who said, “As you do unto the least of these, so too you do unto me.”
And it was Martin Luther King who echoed an age-old axiom that liberty denied to some places chains around us all.
Absolute clarity, and coordinated protest, are now urgently required to reverse this alarming move that comprises the most shameful, dangerous assault on our national freedom since Japanese Americans were interned in concentration camps many decades ago.