I lived in Arizona, I enjoyed it and at one time thought I wouldn’t mind going back. But give me a break! Doesn’t anyone remember where they came from? Doesn’t anyone want to acknowledge that most of us are the sons and daughters of struggling immigrants, some legal some not. Did we not, we sons and daughters of immigrants, kill, torture and isolate the indigenous peoples of this country, forcing them onto increasingly smaller plots of land and taking the arable fields for our own use? While I recognize that immigration in this country, and in many others, is a serious issue and that we need discussion about how to create fair, orderly, just rules for immigration, I cannot imagine how people can think that simply closing our borders is a good thing.
First, I think of all the amazingly hardworking, big dreaming, pushing their children people I know and have met who are willing to do almost anything to remain here. They pay taxes, hold jobs, participate in the economy and are otherwise good citizens; not all of them entirely legal as far as status. Not to sound racist, but I do not see a whole bunch of unemployed American white men jumping at the chance to mow lawns, maintain pools, clean houses, lay asphalt, sweep streets, wash dishes… you get the picture. The good ones, the ones who get it, do. When unemployed, responsible people do whatever it takes. But I see a whole lot of guys on front porches and street corners in the middle of the day. Amazingly, I don’t know a lot of what Arizonans might call “immigrants” who are not working. I really don’t see them on their front porches or on the street corners in the middle of the day. I see them working hard, often at jobs nobody else wants to do. I hear a lot of rhetoric about “immigrants” taking our jobs; what jobs are those? Doctors, lawyers, teachers? We have a terrible shortage of doctors in this country, lawyers… who cares, and teachers… great. But more likely they are dry cleaning your clothes, landscaping your lawns, stuccoing your homes, etc.
And I haven’t even gotten to the profiling issue yet. Since the Supreme Court of the last few decades has eviscerated our rights, allowing police great latitude in the “stop and search” category, this Arizona law adds injury and indignity to insult. Anyone who says this law does not permit or encourage profiling is kidding themselves. How else would the police know who to choose to stop and “enquire of”? By the color of skin, by their apparent ethnicity of course. Arizona should do well to remember that “ethnic” Americans are fast becoming the majority in many places, as we were back in the day when places like Ellis Island teemed with those “yearning to be free”. The difference then was that most of the immigrants looked more alike, it was harder to tell all those Europeans apart. But that didn’t mean there weren’t vast cultural and ethnic differences.
Maureen Dowd, in another context, referred to this type of cultural behavor as “pulling the ladder up after you.” It is, with a vengeance. We will never be, thank God, a nation of white protestants. We are the melting pot, it is part of what has made us great and interesting. The American Dream, in capitals, is about what you can achieve here, the ordinary person, the newcomer. Trying to pull the ladder up and close the borders is isolationist, xenophobic and foolish. Creating orderly rational rules is good. Hopefully those boycotting Arizona will have an effect. I know lots of people don’t agree with me, but that’s what I love about blogging, this is my opinion. Vive la difference.