Posted in Commentary, Politics

People make it so difficult to be oppressive these days

Did the earth move for you?

I don’t know if you caught the story of an Iranian cleric (Muslim, natch) who announced to the world that god had spoken to him and told him the reason that there were so many earthquakes in Iran (which lies near several fault lines) and elsewhere in the world is because women were dressed immodestly, if they weren’t outright fornicating like the proverbial rabbits, adulterous rodents that they are.

This is akin to the joke (at least, I hope it was a joke, but you never know what people will believe) that god kills a kitten every time you masturbate, only the joke’s on us:  Dude (whose name is Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, so we’ll just go ahead and keep calling him “Dude”) is totally serious.

While I’m prepared to admit that the sight of my magnificent rack and/or the décolletage thereof might make anyone a little weak in the knees and feeling a bit wobbly, it is not, in fact, the cause of seismic activity.  Apparently, Dude is unaware of a little thing we (meaning the whole damned rest of the world) like to call “plate tectonics,” discovered by another little thing we like to call “science.”

In the name of science, then, one blogger suggested that those of us possessed of an internet connection and also two X chromosomes might test Dude’s hypothesis during an event named Boobquake.  She invited women the cyberworld over to dress immodestly (whatever that meant to them) on Monday  and see if there was a spike in earthquake activity during the day.   It wasn’t a question of whether there’d be earthquakes; there are always earthquakes.  What we were testing was whether there’d be more than usual if women made a concerted effort to rock your world through the cunning use of cleavage.

As it turned out, not so much.

It would be impossible to determine how many individual worlds were rocked by views one usually only manages to partake of at a Renaissance festival, traditionally a cavalcade of heaving bosoms and well-turned ankles.  However, it would seem that Dude was indeed in grievous error, surprising exactly no one.

Tell me again why it is I am supposed to respect religions?

********

In other news, I am one of many Arizonans who are hanging our heads in shame and outrage at the latest immigration bill passed in the state.  The entire nation, nay, the entire world, are looking at Arizona, wondering what kind of clueless assholes we really are.  Every article I read that says “Arizonans want…” makes me cringe, because the fact is, Arizonans are as diverse in their desires as any other population; Arizona tends to be a more conservative, Republican state, and we send a lot of yahoos to the state legislature, but there is a minority of thoughtful, open-minded, liberal folks here who are highly disappointed, if not shocked, by the signing of this bill into law.  Here in Tucson, we send more liberals up to the Evil Empire of Maricopa to do our stately business than most of the rest of the state, but it’s still not enough.  Things were not helped by President Obama poaching our Democrat Governor to be his Secretary of Homeland Security, leaving Jan Brewer to take over as governor.  Jan hates gays, loves guns, and doesn’t really give a damn about the needy.

The new immigration bill makes it a crime for anyone to be unable to provide documentation of their lawful presence in the U.S. and requires cops to ask for such documentation when they suspect illegal immigration status.  Brewer absolutely insists that there is no room for abuse in this law, as racial profiling is specifically forbidden by it.   That is to say, police are not allowed to ask for your documentation based on the color of your skin, or the fact that you are speaking a foreign language.  In which case, one has to ask what other criteria might a cop use to determine that someone MIGHT be an illegal immigrant?  Is this law even enforceable?  And furthermore, is it even necessary?  We have laws that already cover this; if they don’t work, why do they think this one will?  I hate to break it to the lawmakers up in Phoenix, but the supercriminals that are frolicking back and forth across the border dealing in drugs and human cargo will not be the least bit deterred by this law.  They will ignore it as they ignore all the others, and avoid arrest as they have managed to up until now.  But even if we set all that aside, the law is still problematic.

As I read the news articles about SB1070, I find a lot commentary by people who repeat over and over that this law is aimed at ILLEGAL (in all caps, just like that) aliens, and therefore, no one who is legal has a worry, so they don’t understand why some of us have our undies in a bunch over punishing criminals.  What they don’t get is that it’s the means to finding out whether someone is illegal that is objectionable.  And they just don’t understand why anyone could think this law was racist.  (These are the same people who argued that you shouldn’t fear going up against HUAC or be investigated under the Patriot Act unless you had something to hide.)

This is a state law, an Arizona state law, where the bulk of our immigrants come from Mexico and Central America; we’re not worried about illegal Canadians here.  We’re not worried about illegal Europeans.  It is disingenuous to suggest that this law isn’t ethnically specific; it absolutely is.  The law is nothing less than permission for racial profiling, despite language to the contrary that ignores how human beings actually operate.

Because cops do not have super- or psychic powers, they are not going to know who is illegal and who is not.  Unless they catch someone actually coming through a tunnel or across the desert into the States, it’s going to be pretty tough to know for sure.  So what are they going to go by, in a state where illegal immigrants flow over the border from the south?  Brown skin and Spanish language.  How do I know?  Because every time my blonde mother and I come through the INS checkpoint south of Tucson, they wave us through with only a brief glance.  We are so obviously gringas, we’re not worth stopping.

And here’s where it gets dicey.  In a state that is 29% Hispanic, a mix of citizens (many of whom from families who have lived here since before Arizona WAS a state), legal residents, and illegal immigrants, how do you know which belong to the last group unless you ask everyone for their papers?

Which means that anyone who looks or sounds Mexican could be subject to a status check during a traffic stop, or for jaywalking, or for anything.  And while they try to hash it out with the cop, their kids are still waiting at school to be picked up, their boss is wondering why they’re not at work and may fire them for their unexplained absence, and they are just generally inconvenienced by having to prove they are legal.  This flies in the face of one of the pillars of American law, which is that we’re innocent until proven guilty.  This law invites harassment galore.

Furthermore, it stretches an already over-tasked and understaffed police force even thinner, as they are being asked to do jobs that are not strictly theirs and for which they were not trained.  If the argument is that the Feds haven’t lived up to their responsibilities in regards to border control, I can buy that, but then that is where we have to bring the fight and insist that they step up.  Not with this half-baked law ripe for abuse and harassment and the lawsuits that follow both.

I know this is a revolutionary thought these days, but we cannot protect Americans from outside dangers by oppressing those same Americans within our borders.  While my feelings about immigration are no doubt more liberal than most, even if I, for the sake of argument, stipulate that something needs to be done about border security, we need to do it right.  Doing it wrong is worse than doing nothing at all.

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Author:

I've been doing some form of creative writing since 9th grade, and have been a blogger since 2003. Like most bloggers, I've quit blogging multiple times. But the words always come back, asking to be written down, and they pester me if I don't. So here we are. Thanks for reading.

6 thoughts on “People make it so difficult to be oppressive these days

    1. I understand the whole “illegal” aspect; but we have laws that deal with that. If they are not being enforced, than that’s what we need to look to, rather than coming up with laws that garner a lot of press, but don’t do much other than stir up race hate right before the election, as this one seems ultimately designed to do. In other news, after this lovely law, Thursday, they sent another law to the governor making it illegal to have “treasonous” classes or programs in schools like Chicano programs, and that prohibits people with heavy accents or foreign grammar quirks from teaching English. I guess they were high on their recent victory, and decided to stick it to Mexicans everywhere in the state, regardless of status. It is so obviously and obnoxiously bigoted, I really don’t know what to say.

  1. Ghost, that’s exactly what I was thinking…..can you just hear the SS soldier stopping a brunette, dark-haired citizen and saying, “Vere are za papers???” Scarey!

  2. When I heard about that law, I almost sent you and June emails asking why you’re so supportive of it. Arizonians support it. You are Arizonian. Ergo, you support it.

    Here’s my conspiracy theory for the month: Obama and the democratic legislature will enact an amnesty law that will legalize all illegals. This will dramatically shift the voting demographics across the country… specifically in favor of the democrats, because the majority of minorities vote democrat. This is how the dems will secure the 2012 elections.

    1. I don’t believe in conspiracies. When 3 people can’t fairly split a check, or, at a 4-way stop, can’t figure out who is supposed to go, the idea that large groups of people are running the world behind the scenes is ludicrous.

      I have the solution to the problem, though I am not the first to suggest it. We need a guest worker program. The biggest complaints (erroneous though they may be) are that illegal immigrants are 1) taking our jobs, 2) using public services they don’t pay for, and 3) committing crimes.

      You solve that by giving them work visas to allow them to pass freely through border checkpoints. Decent folks will happily line up to go through the checkpoints for work, rather than subject themselves and possibly their families to the deadly deserts. That’ll leave only the criminals frolicking in the wastelands, and there will be fewer of them, making the job a bit easier for INS.

      Next, guest workers will have to be paid minimum wage and have the appropriate withholding taken out of their checks. This has 2 benefits: If employers have to pay real, honest wages and account for taxes, they’ll see less point in hiring immigrants, and will hire Americans if we change the system so they can’t cheat it so blatantly as they’ve been doing for years. If there are fewer jobs available, fewer will come over. And if guest workers are paying taxes, there’s no reason for anyone to complain about the services they use, as they pay for them, too.

      Finally, guest workers would not have the vote unless they actually completed the citizenship process.

      The reality is that this economy would lurch to a stop, especially in this part of the country, if all illegal aliens went home tomorrow. It’s true. We’ve come to rely on their labor, and that reality has to be faced. They are already here; but I don’t believe amnesty is the answer. They did break the law. However, I think a program that acknowledges their reality and ours (meaning Americans’) can humanely answer the issues raised by both those who fear immigrants and those who fear tyranny. There is a win-win available in this scenario; people just refuse to choose it.

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