I’m a conservative with some liberal sensibilities. Which maybe you gathered. Like, for instance, my feminist leanings. And I abhor racism- to the point where my I allow my "white guilt" to obscure rational thinking. And no, I'm not not saying that all conservatives are racists- of course not- nor am I saying that anti-racism is solely a liberal ideology- but there are undoubtedly a lot more "vocal" racists who happen to be registered in the Conservative and Republican parties than in the Liberal and Democratic parties. (I will even go so far to say that in its purest form, conservatism is probably the LEAST prejudicial political ideology.)
I hate when people make sweeping generalizations about Mexicans, African-Americans, Native-Americans, Jews, gays, or the Irish. And yes- I have heard people, seemingly decent, generous people with families and church affiliations, make horrible slurs against these groups of people. Even the Irish. (This person had been to Ireland once for three days and was therefore an expert on the people there.)
(It doesn’t bother me when someone makes a slur against the Icelandic people, however. Iceland and its stupid volcano messing up everyone’s travel plans. Keep your volcanoes under control, people. Unacceptable.)
So, anyway, I was peeved when I heard about the Arizona immigration law. I thought it would stir up problems, especially for Hispanic kids in public schools. After all, racist people only need a little bit of perceived backing from a higher authority to act like bigots publicly.
Perhaps this peevishness has stemmed from my own conception of the Mexican “illegal immigrant.” I see them as poor, taking on the jobs no one else can afford to take on, doing grueling work in the fields, living a nomadic existence, moving wherever the crops are ripe. (For an interesting look at just how arduous these jobs are, check out Tom Rivers’ book Farm Hands. And guess what. I KNOW HIM! And yesterday, I told everyone I knew him and that they should buy his book or I would run off with several Vera Bradley purses to sell on the black market when I spotted his books on display at Browns Berry Patch.)
So last night we were watching Training Day, starring the delectable Denzel Washington and the actor turned novelist Ethan Hawke. Denzel Washington plays a dirty cop who does business with drug lords, and Ethan Hawke plays the idealistic rookie cop whose random good deed saves his life.
Excellent film. Washington won an Oscar for it. A little to very violent.
After the movie was over, I determined again never ever to live in Los Angeles. Which probably won’t be very hard for me. There are a lot of gangs and drug dealers in LA. And, according to movies like L.A. Confidential, Training Day, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, there’s a lot of corruption within the police departments. These things DO NOT happen within the great state of New York.
John started giving a boring lecture on the two major Mexican drug cartels. I do not know where he stores all of this random information in his brain. I really don’t. I can’t remember the plot of a book I read a month ago.
John asked me if I knew what city ranked number one for kidnappings in the world.
I guessed Mexico City. Turns out I was wrong. (It’s Cartagena, Colombia. I knew Colombia had problems thanks to the movie Romancing the Stone. Which is, apparently, still culturally relevant!) Mexico City isn’t even number two.
Phoenix, Arizona is number two. There were 370 kidnapping cases in 2008. And most all of them were drug related.
This is not something they told us in the MSNBC reports about Arizona’s new immigration law. I did not know they had closed down an Arizona national state park because of this problem. No one reported on the limbs people lost when kidnappers’ demands were not met. No one wrote about how these drug lords walk right across the border and brutally murder anyone who has stood in the way of their drug trade. And I had no idea that the most dangerous cartel, the Mexican Zeta cartel, is especially dangerous because it is made up of men trained by the U.S. military.
So, although I still love that Benjamin Franklin quote about freedom and death and being deserving, I no longer think the Arizona politicians are fascists. I kind of understand. They’re trying to quarantine this increasingly hazardous situation. I was being reactionary, letting political correctness cloud rationality, and was thinking like an uninformed moron.
Now, this is what I think: I think, what a mess. What a broken world. What a broken attempt at a solution. I think maybe Arizona politicians are trying to be brave and are trying to get the rest of us to notice.
Except John McCain. He is a sell-out.
That is all.
The libertarian's creed:
"Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security."