“We the People of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union…. ” The preamble to the Constitution of the United States does not claim perfection – but rather seeks a government format that can progress toward a more perfect union. The political label ‘progressive’ has been dissed for many political generations – but in reality our Founding Fathers, knowing they were not perfect, intended each succeeding generation work for progress. What is the old saying, two steps forward and one step back? The axiom applies to the Arizona Immigration Law. Progress is not smooth – rather our system of government is self-correcting.
The strength of the United States does not rest in economic or military power. The United States has been a model of justice in an open society for well over two hundred years. Democracies across the globe have taken the American model and integrated much of the concept into their own form of government.
We live in an open society – a society that is not afraid of the truth. Over the years there have been government cover-ups, but in every case the truth ultimately comes out. Three have been bad laws – like the Jim Crow Laws after the Civil War – but ultimately our system of government self corrects. And we are better for it. An open society means that we are willing to take risks in favor of individual liberties. And more, individual liberties have always held a prominent position ahead of the power of any government.
Slowly, with great pain and frustration, our system of government has granted the rights of humanity. As stated in our Declaration of Independence: “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness... ” There are key words which have endured to ultimately win every political argument – the concept of ‘… certain unalienable Rights…” It seems now that the politicians in Arizona have taken a step backwards. We see the open revolt across this great country. The Arizona Law will not stand.
Look back over time – look at our history. Civil Rights was not limited to race – but has been affirmed by our government for gender, physical or mental disability, creed, religion – and one day will include sexual preference. None of this was easy. None of these changes were accomplished without opposition. But in the end, every time, the end result was in favor of more individual liberty, greater opportunity for life, and a healthy quest for happiness.
With all of that said – immigration is a legitimate problem. It is a legitimate problem because we have open borders – freedom of movement – and constitutionally protected rights from intrusive law enforcement. Our open society creates opportunity for criminal, or at least malicious, behavior. Sometimes individual communities or States, and even the Federal Government, overreact. An example might help: Burglaries and vandalism (crime and mischief) primarily occur in the dark hours of the night. We have seen laws, enacted by frustrated communities, of limiting movement with curfews. These laws are generally struck down by courts – courts that recognize freedom of movement as a constitutional guarantee. Broad laws such as curfew punish the innocent. The new law in Arizona, designed by a frustrated populace, is intended to minimize illegal immigration. The down side of the law is that innocent people will also suffer. I believe the Arizona government will ultimately self-correct. That is how law works in this country.
While I, along with many others, am deeply saddened by the over-reaching Arizona Law, I am confident that injustice always loses in the United States of America.
With all of the progress seen by this country we have to ask: How many times have the Republicans been on the right side of History. Two of my favorite Presidents are Lincoln and T. R. Roosevelt – both Republicans – and both held in contempt by their Party.
I am proud to be an American.