(Long Island, NY) A writer uncovers much in his or her endless quest to dig up facts, figures, useable quotes and other data for publication. Writers have to learn how to turn on their BS detectors and filter out the useless, the self-serving, and the totally irrelevant soundbites, interview snippets and statistics. We also have to develop another skill-the gentle art of laughter suppression.
Imagine my reaction, when covering a news story about noise abatement around military bases, when I heard someone’s apparently serious suggestion that the government built a massive dome over the base so the jets could fly around without disturbing the neighbors.
The urge to laugh directly in someone’s face is VERY hard to quell.
I had a similar reaction when someone told me that “one hundred thousand illegal aliens were going to protest in the town square” in an attempt to raise awareness about the plight of illegal aliens. “No, no, no,” I tried to explain, these were one hundred thousand concerned citizens. “Some of them might be illegals, yes, but a large number of these people are legal citizens of the U.S. Otherwise, everyone at the rally would be risking deportation for taking part in this civil rights issue. It seemed too much of a gamble at the time.”
The person I was talking to didn’t have the art of laugh-suppression down pat, as he laughed right in my face. “You stupid gringo,” he finally choked out, “they are ALREADY deporting people for taking part in these rallies. Look at the huge crackdowns that are going on in places like Chicago. Businesses are getting raided, people are being arrested, hell, some of them aren’t even being sent out of the country. They are just getting rounded up for INS violations, detained, then let go, from what I hear in the news.”
He had a very good point. Regardless of the actual makeup of these protest crowds, there does seem to be a definite reprisal going on. Couple that with a few lame comments from George W. Bush about how he “privately” wished illegals could be given citizenship, and we have the makings of a full-blown Nixon-style assault on a civil rights movement.
It doesn’t really matter much that there are a number of people in this country illegally; it doesn’t matter that they knowingly broke the law and continue to do so. What really DOES matter is the fact that year after year goes by with no real enforcement of existing laws, coupled with mush-mouthed attempts to pass even more laws to make illegal residence in this country a felony. Did you read that correctly? A FELONY. Never mind that we never bothered to enforce the laws on the books NOW. “Oh, forget about THAT, and don’t confuse me with the FACTS.” You local policymakers are likely to say, “We need a law with TEETH.”
Oh, and what were the previously issued laws, lip service?
Personally, I don’t think that unlimited immigration, legal or not, is sustainable. However, I also believe that human beings should be treated as such and not be denied medical care, food, shelter or any other necessity of life. Giving an illegal alien a drivers license is madness—name one other country that give such latitude to anyone who overstays the dates on their travel visa? No, that is NOT the answer. But neither is the insane, discriminatory, unjustly arbitrary and capricious system we have in place now. I know people who have fought long and hard to get to America by the legal means now in place—they are treated poorly, given the runaround and overcharged by dishonest lawyers who are, in reality, no better than the Coyotes who bring illegals across twenty-to-a-truck.
Folks, these protest rallies are going to get more frequent, more outspoken, and possibly violent due to racial tensions, clashes with the police, misunderstandings, and the other usual causes. If something isn’t done to change the current untenable situation for people trying to get into the U.S. we risk a period of civil unrest at least as bad as the 1960s. That era had many positive changes so it is entirely possible that America NEEDS another explosion of activism and awareness. However, if that unrest brings with it the same kinds of violence and police brutality that the sixties had, (but updated for the new millennium) we face grim times indeed.