by Dennis Rahkonen / April 26th, 2010
of U.S. troops made the ultimate sacrifice during WWII to help defeat a
fascist scourge that cruelly forced Europeans of other than Aryan
origin to wear special markings and carry identifying papers.
More recently, an incensed global community assisted Nelson Mandela
and his courageous freedom fighters in abolishing a despised apartheid
system infamous for the “pass books” that South African blacks always
had to have in their possession.
Now, via the signature of Arizona’s Republican governor, police in
that state, where children continue to recite a flag pledge that ends
with “with liberty and justice for all,” will have the totalitarian
authority to profile Hispanics or “foreign-looking” people, and demand
to see their documentation, at arbitrary whim.
As a 13-year-old Latino citizen from Phoenix told the Associated
Press, “It’s going to change our lives. We can’t walk to school
anymore. We can’t be in the streets without the pigs thinking we’re
The measure means that countless brown-skinned souls will be
politically, legally and economically discriminated against, and
Remarkably, this profoundly unconstitutional lurch toward tyranny
will not be protested, in the least, by white Tea Party types who show
up at rallies with holstered handguns and huge placards declaring
“Don’t tread on me!”
Their only concern is the demented belief that freedom’s erosion in
this nation comes from a duly-elected President they crazily see as
being either a Kenyan by birth, a Muslim, a Marxist, or the anti-christ.
Stewing in unacknowledged racism, their prejudice poisonously floods
the immigration issue. Totally absent from their understanding is this
Nearly 200 million people work outside their countries of birth, and an
equal number are migrants inside their own countries. Nativists blame
immigrants for flat wages, scarce jobs, and our declining labor
movement. However, the responsibility lies with corporations that
launched an all-out assault on wages and unions in the 1970s — well
before today’s wave of migration began…The IMF and World Bank
reproduced this scenario around the world, driving down wages and
worker rights in at least 90 countries under IMF ’structural adjustment
programs.’ Immigrants aren’t destroying the ‘blue collar middle class,’
corporations are. — Center for Labor Renewal Statement on Worker
It’s in every wage-earning American’s best bread-and-butter interest
to make common cause with all minorities to gain the pivotal strength
that, alone, will give us the united power to curb monopolies, bust
trusts, and end divisive hatreds so useful to those who constantly
plunder Main Street to lavish Wall Street.
Terrorizing darker-skinned folks whose worst “crime” might be
fleeing the poverty that global economic injustice perpetuates in their
places of birth — to find a dubiously better life toiling from sun to
sun in dusty Southwestern farm fields — is entirely wrong, and
It was Jesus who said, “As you do unto the least of these, so too you do unto me.”
And it was Martin Luther King who echoed an age-old axiom that liberty denied to some places chains around us all.
Absolute clarity, and coordinated protest, are now urgently required
to reverse this alarming move that comprises the most shameful,
dangerous assault on our national freedom since Japanese Americans were
interned in concentration camps many decades ago.
Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive
commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the
’60s. Read other articles by Dennis, or visit Dennis’s website.