Not so long ago a drunk driver killed one of our local residents (Illegal immigrant who killed nun in accident was released by feds). When people discovered this drunk is an illegal immigrant, many were outraged. When they discovered that the drunk had been repeatedly arrested for drunken driving, the outrage increased.
As peculiar as it may seem, some find fault in this outrage .
Shifting this case from an instance of drunken driving to the justification for extended police powers to enforce immigration laws elevates status and stereotypes over reasoned decision making based on individual character and conduct.
Too many Americans no longer see immigration as a positive ingredient in our national melting pot. Rather, it is being posited as a noxious weed thrown into a politically toxic stew. To use this tragic accident as justification for Virginia to join Arizona in seeking to do what the federal government is constitutionally charged to do, i.e., secure our national borders and direct our foreign policy, is grossly misguided, though sadly in character with our nation’s and Virginia’s historical mistreatment of our fellow human beings. — (from Justification Without Justice by Shaun Kenney and Claire Guthrie Gastañaga.)
In A Better View of Virginia History, James Atticus Bowden counters Kenney’s and Gastañaga’s accusations of unkindness and hypocrisy.
Shaun Kenney and Claire Guthrie Gastanga (“Justification Without Justice”, Style, August 11, 2010) condemn Virginia for “a long history of confusing justification with justice.” They caution against allowing “the facts of an individual case or one person’s outrageous conduct to dictate policy for an entire group of human beings.” As if that happened, or still could happen to “allow a long history of injustice against the Other to repeat itself in the Commonwealth.” The real rub is that Virginia might take action against illegal immigrants which is “sadly in character with our nation’s and Virginia’s historical mistreatment of our fellow human beings.” It’s all because “our birthright citizenship derives from the forcible taking of the lands of others.” Sniff. Sniff. — (from A Better View of Virginia History by James Atticus Bowden)
What both articles illustrate is our tendency to get sidetracked — at least from somebody else’s perspective (in this case mine 😀 ). As self-styled immigrant advocates, Kenny and Gastañaga regret what they perceive as the stereotyping of all illegal immigrants because of one bad actor. On the other hand, as a historian, Bowden finds Kenney’s and Gastañaga’s misinterpretation of history grating. So instead of addressing the present problem, Bowden provided an interesting history lesson.
What should we be doing? Most of the American public wants our government to control our borders, but a relatively small percentage of people has stymied every effort. Why? We need to know.
To some extent, Kenney and Gastañaga get at the problem. They are right to accuse of us being morally broken. What they are wrong to do is to ask us to break with the past. That is the problem. We have already broken with the best part of our past.
Why does Bowden look at the past so admiringly. He sees in it what we are losing, our Christian heritage. He sees people with the moral fiber to create and honor their obligation to live by a Constitution. Such is the sort of honor too many of us have already surrendered.
Why don’t our leaders fulfill their obligation to obey the Constitution? Why don’t our leaders protect our borders and our nation’s sovereignty. What is the answer?
We no longer see fellow citizens; we see meal tickets. We have become a nation of Pauls, each out to get from our government whatever we can. We each fight for our portion of the public treasury, and we divide ourselves into competing factions. We organize into special interests, and we sell our votes to the highest bidder, and politicians busy themselves by buying up our votes. Such rabid division renders us incapable. We choose our favorite thieves to lead us, not leaders who seek to protect us.
If we want a government that will protect our borders, then we must restrain our own greed. We must choose leaders who see their job as protecting our rights, not redistributing our wealth. The alternative, voting for politicians who promise to bring home the bacon (stolen from Peter), protects no one’s rights. When the alternative does not protect Peter, how can it protect Paul? To the thieving politician, don’t we all look like Peter?
When we sell our vote, we surrender our principles. We renege on our responsibility to protect each other’s rights.
Galatians 6:7 (Today’s New International Version)
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow.