Archive for May 11th, 2007

Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t.  You cannot shirk this and be a man.  To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.  ~Mark Twain 

The state of Oklahoma has passed a new law, HB1804. This bill is touted as an anti-immigration bill, designed to cure the “economic hardship and lawlessness” that is supposedly caused by illegal immigration. Now, while I’m in favor of immigration reform (the current system just isn’t  working), this isn’t it. I’m still trying to figure out what the authors of this law were thinking, and what it is they think this is going to accomplish.

Among other things, this law new law makes transporting or sheltering an illegal immigrant a felony… yes, really. So do be sure and ask about immigration status before you let anyone into your car, or your home, lest the State of Oklahoma treat you to a minimum year in prison.

 Other notable points include denying access to all but the most minimal of emergency health care, and denying access to “programs, services, or assistance” unless they meet a certain set of criteria AND are specifically deemed accessible in the “sole and unreviewable discretion of the United States Attorney General.” If you find this as offensive as I do, please, speak out!

  Now, I love Oklahoma. We have some really great things going here (Educare, the Family Safety Center, the Child Abuse Network, and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, to name a few) and I was proud when I moved my citizenship here. But right now, I’m ashamed of my state. I’m ashamed that such a bill would be passed by our elected officials, a bill that seems to promote fear and separation instead of understanding and commmunity-building. Considering the implications of this bill, I can see lots of people being hurt but I have a hard time seeing what good could possibly come of it. I just hope that the people of this great state… and every other state, for that matter, will stand up and protest this. Loudly.

 We are still a democracy. We will always be a country who was built largely on and by immigrants. Let us consider the implications of this new law, and then let us consider carefully what we will– and won’t– tolerate. Let us consider what kind of nation we really are. And if that’s not enough motivation for you, consider this: When we’re done scapegoating illegal immigrants, which group will be next? 

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me–
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.
(Commonly attributed to Martin Niemoeller) 

And if this law is not repealed or deemed unconstitutional, what will you do? How will it effect you, and the people in your life? Would you refuse to give someone a ride until you’ve verified their immigration status, deny shelter unless someone can produce the appropriate documents? Would Christ?

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.  If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.  ~Bishop Desmond Tutu

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