Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Taking Arizona down a notch

I really hate to through around the term racism. It seems to me that it is an overused straw-man in today's political discourse. However, I might make an exception to what Arizona's legislature is doing at the present moment.

First, both houses passed a bill that gives police in Arizona the power to stop anyone to check their immigration papers. I understand the United States immigration system is terrible in the sense that it is too hard to become a citizen so immigrants are forced to come illegally.

Let me say that I have some experience with police having the right to check your papers at anytime. When I was in Russia, (a very hard country to even get a visa to) police have the right to check your papers at anytime for any reason. This leads to racial profiling which I have seen first hand. I never had my papers checked once (I am of Russian decent but speak very little Russian) while people from the Caucuses and Central Asia, many of which are probably Russian citizens, get stopped constantly. Does this stop illegal immigration to Russia? No, it increases crime and corruption of police. Does this stop terrorists or criminality? No, it alienates people and makes them more likely to be terrorists or criminals.

Therefore, I can only conclude that this law only encourages racial profiling, division, corruption, and criminality. Not to mention state and federal issues.

Next, we have the birther bill that is working its way through the Arizona house. I find it hypocritical that Arizona is trying to pass a birther bill when its senior senator, who was born in Panama, has already ran for President twice. Not to say John McCain isn't eligible to become president (he was born on a military base) but there is more cause to question McCain's eligibility than Obama's. Obama was born in Hawaii which is a state. His birth was in the newspaper, there is a birth certificate posted online, and Hawaiian officials say he was born there.

It seems to me that its not difficult to find Arizona to be on the wrong side of racial equality. The West is not the South. Arizona needs to stop becoming the next Alabama.