Ever since Barry Goldwater's landslide defeat against Lyndon Johnson in 1964, many Americans have viewed the state of Arizona as predominantly right wing, anything but progressive, and even racist. After all, it was then governor Ev Meacham's ill-advised decision to not observe Martin Luther King Day in Arizona, back in the early '90s; setting off a tidal wave of national outrage.
Rightfully so. Frankly, I was embarassed to be an Arizonan. By '93, the proposition was finally approved, and Arizona joined the rest of the nation in celebrating the legacy of Dr King. Still, the lingering sentiment around the country was largely unfavorable, and more than a few people now labeled the state as "racist".
They still do. This time, the criticism is unfounded; stemming from a law that was recently passed which is designed to cut back on illegal immigration in the state. This is a real problem for those of us living here and our lawmakers finally took some decisive action to address the issue. What people who oppose the law don't understand, is it simply mirrors the federal law; only now, it gives local law enforcement officials the ability to enforce it.
Opponents decry this measure, claiming it will lead to discrimination and "racial profiling". Proponents point out that it will help rid the state of illegal immigrants who are increasing the rate of crime while glutting the already crowded workforce; costing legal residents some employment opportunities. In other words, it would be good for the general well-being of the population, and help spur the state's economic growth.
Sounds good to me. The vast majority of Arizonans agree; in fact, 70% think this law is fair. Nationally, the consensus isn't so overwhelming, although a slight majority think the law is reasonable (51%). The strong opposition comes from those who have a knee jerk reaction to anything that even comes close to broaching someone's "civil rights". Some have even gone so far as to claim these measures are "gestapo-like", comparing it to Hitler's persecution of the Jews.
Please. Asking someone to whip out their driver's license after they've been clocked at 90 heading up I-10, is a far cry from Auschwitz. If they can't produce a valid AZ driver's license, don't you think it would be reasonable to assume they may be running around this country illegally? Should they be allowed to stay? Was it violating their civil rights to have asked for a bit of ID?
Yes. No. Hell no.
Personally, I had a close encounter with the illegal immigration issue a little over five years ago. A car driven by a nice young lady with no form of identification, no insurance, and no comprehension of the English language, decided to make a U-turn just as the car I was driving was about to pass her. In the split second that she made the fateful maneuver, I had just enough time to swerve sharply to my left to avoid killing her. However, her car was whacked pretty good, and my entire right side was pulverized. As I recall, the repairs came to ten grand or so.
Not sure what happened to the lady with no license. The cops at the scene gave her a ticket for her violations, told me "She doesn't have insurance", and sent her on her merry way. No problemo. In the meantime, I've got to have State Farm cover this mess, since that's the only insurance available to cover it - mine. Now, imagine that scenario being played out thousands of times a year. Sure, it's illegal to drive a car with no insurance in the state of Arizona; but if you're here illegally to begin with...
See where this is going? Illegal immigration is a real issue. Arizona had the courage to deal with the issue head-on, because Washington, DC hasn't done much to help. Now, maybe President Obama will push for a more comprehensive federal law that works. He has already voiced his disapproval over it; now maybe, he'll come up with a reasonable alternative. Or not.
In the meantime, Arizona's taking heat from the misguided poplace; this time from all around the world. Even China is blasting it as a "violation of human rights". China? Violation of human rights? Well, they're certainly a progressive country when it comes to human rights. They haven't slaughtered more than a few hundred million citizens in their glorious history. Not bad, China; not bad at all.
Yeah, but Arizona is the villain in this instance? Sorry folks; not this time.