Papers, Please

It’s a shock to go out of this country and then come back in to feel the right-wing frenzy that is Amerika today.  The spirit (I haven’t read the letter) of the new Arizona anti-immigration law is so reminiscent of Nazi Germany (see The Great Escape or any WWII film) or behind the Iron Curtain (see The Lives of Others).  The right of cops to ask for papers is so ubiquitous there as to get its own hand signal – rubbing thumb and finger together means ‘produce your papers’ – is this what we want to become?

I understand that many illegal immigrants in Arizona are Mexican.  I understand their frustration with the Federal government.  I understand that many of the bombers are Muslim men between 20-30, and that I am inconvenienced by extra security measures while I am no threat.  But there’s this little thing called the Constitution that guarantees equal protection under the law in this republic.  So I must put up with extra inconvenience to maintain that equal protection clause under which America has thrived and been a beacon to the world (until Guantanamo and now this).

The argument for profiling – for adding extra inconvenience to a few to avoid inconveniencing the many – is exactly the kind of excuse that leads down the road – and not very far either – to Hitler and Stalin.

So I am commencing and recommending a protest:

Normally when I return to the States, I put my passport away, as part of our freedom is freedom of movement within the country.  But now I am keeping it on my person, and every time I see a cop – state, local, or county – I am going to hail that cop, stop his or her car if necessary, and demonstrably show that officer that I am a legal resident citizen of the United States.

We can call it ‘cop profiling’.  If they are going to be so evident with their cars and uniforms, they will be subject to this ‘harassment’ until Americans’ rights are restored.

8 Responses to “Papers, Please”

  1. Joe Lubow Says:

    Brilliant. Maybe you can get Rachel Maddow to cover your protest and spread it far and wide. I’m going to spread this link and try to get it to go viral.


  2. Kathleen Mary Says:

    Hello from sunny, dark Arizona. Have written a great many letters in the past few days regarding this unconstitutional law and the dirty little racism behind it which is rampant here in Birtherville.. I also had determined to carry my passport with me and believe I will have plenty of opportunity to flash it since I have a new sticker on my rear window that now says…. Hi, I’m Mexican, pull me over… So yes please write letters to our whiter than white Governor… and oh please Janet Napolitano pleasssssse come home! Boycott us. boycott our teams, boycott our golf courses. It worked when the state was the only state to not observe Martin Luther King holiday and it will work now. The state is in a load of trouble financially and money happens to be the only thing these white masters of the universe understand.
    Boycott, protest…stand up stand up stand up. This has now officially gone way too far.
    Disgusted in the desert

  3. BuckeyesFTW. Says:

    This is AWESOME. What a great idea. I have a tough time believing this is actually happening in the country in which I was born and taught was free (That is, before Texas got a hold of my textbooks and exonerated Joseph McCarthy, among others). Thanks, PATRIOT Act! Grow some balls, liberals! Let’s take this country back and turn it, once again, in to the place that begs for “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; the wretched refuse of your teeming shore!” This country was built on the backs of immigrants and should be ashamed of this.

  4. Joe Lubow Says:

    Ok, I tried to keep my comment short, since I sometimes go a little overboard. But this is so outrageous and Tom is so right on, and well, I just posted a long comment on another blog, and thought I’d add it here. Tom if you want me to do a better editing job and shrink these things just let me know.

    When my grandfather came through Ellis island, he came “legally.” In 1922 just about everybody could. There were freaked out WASP’s who were sure that American culture was being destroyed along with the job base, which would be filled with Jews willing to work hard in sweat shops for low wages. A generation earlier it had been the Catholics – Irish first, then German and Italian. Before that it was the Chinese, who worked – and died – building the railroads. After the Civil War, the country had a period of strict quotas on Chinese. So they came across the Rio Grand disguised as Mexicans. Some of the descendants of all those immigrants are Real Sarah Palin Americans now and want to keep out the Mexicans.

    17 years after my grandfather came here legally, to our everlasting shame, we had closed down the borders and were refusing Jews from Europe desperate to escape the coming nightmare. My grandfather committed every fraud he could conceive of to help bring Jews over from Germany illegally. He forged letters on fake letterhead, offered bogus million dollar contracts to German firms if they would send a particular Jewish representative to the States for a week to negotiate. He saved many lives. “Illegaly.”

    There are no illegal aliens. The phrase is an abomination. There are undocumented immigrants. And yes they have broken a law. But a human being cannot be illegal. An act can be illegal, but a person is a person. The only kind of society that would demand papers of a human being to determine whether that person, based on their ethnic descent or birthplace, is “legal,” is a fascist society.

    You know, I figure it’s all part of the beauty of the American system for us to argue about how to spend money, whether we should have an intelligent European style of health care or not, and that sort of thing. I can get really passionate about my opinions.

    But this is different. This law strikes a nail in the heart of all that is great about this country. Pray that it is stricken down forcefully by the courts, so that the seed of fascism withers before taking root.

    Or maybe instead of making cops go through the hassle of asking for papers, we should make all illegal immigrants wear armbands.

  5. Ned Egen Says:

    I live in Arizona. It used to be better here before our moronic state legislature permitted hateful right wing think tanks to use them as their test case in regards to the anti-immigrant law and the freewheeling concealed weapons law.

    I was thinking that should the proposed anti-immigrant law take place that requires police to investigate a potential illegal immigrant when they receive notice of a suspect from any citizen, that every time we see a policeman we should point out say five or so suspects until we bog down the system and gum up the works until they see how ridiculous is this law.

  6. Steves Says:

    Hey Joe Lubow, you called them illegals to, at the end. So kind of a contradiction.

    You guys are all overreacting anyway.

  7. Tomyers Says:

    Steves: I prefer overreacting to totalitarian measures to under-reacting. Were you ever behind the Iron Curtain? This country could go that way in the current climate, way too easily. Do not forget Pastor Niemoller – this really can happen, it really did:

    “THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    THEN THEY CAME for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

  8. Kathleen Mary Says:

    Hello again, Arizona is not as dark as a few days ago,
    The protests have been inspiring, the response from around the world has already forced Governor Brewers hand to pen to start crossing out the most offensive parts that the entire nation has called repulsive.

    Lawsuits have been filed and grow in number every day. Even state cops are suing the Governor. Foreign students from around the world enrolled to come to our universities are cancelling in large numbers and going elsewhere. Spring training is in jeopardy, yay Cubbies….that’s huge business here, and minority and non minority groups who were planning conventions here are promising not to come if this law is enacted. Now normally I would bemoan all of this hardship visited on my home state. But I am only heartened by it all. It is a great relief to discover that there is still a gut reaction to abuse of power of this magnitude in the land of the free.
    So thanks to you all.
    Steves, I am not sure which basic constitutional and human right you have to personally lose before you look down and see that your/our bedrock has eroded past saving. I believe that we over reactors will have saved your buns from perhaps seeing that day. Not sure why it is anyone would be ok with a segment of Americans having to carry papers proving who they are. Just relieved to know that enough of us are not ok with it. So even though you don’t get it….We have your back Steves. We have your back.

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