Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I think we have hit fifth gear on the crazy bus.

Let’s talk about the Arizona “Show me your papers!” law first. First off, I will say that immigration is a national problem and that the federal government has failed to act. There are many reasons why that is so, such as crazy Republicans who don’t really want to do anything except round up everyone who even looks to be here illegally and drop them off at the border. They really won’t accept any other alternatives. So, there’s that.

I am not really going to try to recap the entire story here. It’s been done many times before. What I would like to talk about for a minute is this. There are a couple of provisions in this law that I find absolutely astounding. The first is that even legal immigrants who don’t have their papers on them can end up in jail for 6 months and a hefty fine. That requires people who are here legally to have their immigration papers with them at all time. This is a bit of a sensitive topic for me. I just completed a several year process to adopt a young girl from overseas. She’s Asian, so maybe she wouldn’t be a target of overzealous police. But still, I keep thinking, what, she’s supposed to carry her passport and her I-20 student visa form on her at all times? Would they arrest a 13 year old girl if she didn’t have them on her when she was walking to the store to get some ice cream? I don’t put anything past these lunatics these days. And I am not at all sure this couldn’t happen to an actual citizen of the United States. I have already seen a story about a truck driver who couldn’t produce anything more than his commercial vehicle driver’s license and his social security card. Nope, that wasn’t good enough, and he found himself in handcuffs. And this guy was a citizen. Please tell me again how this law won’t be abused and people won’t be targeted unfairly. This is going to be an absolute fu*kin’ disaster. (Being a fan of classic movies, I keep seeing the beginning of Casablanca running through my mind, where the police stop someone who wasn't doing anything wrong at all, ask for his papers. He gives them out of date ones, then tries to run away before he is gunned down in front of about 200 people.)

The other part of this law that I find amazing is that it allows regular “citizens” (or perhaps militia or vigilante groups) to sue law enforcement officials or offices if they believe those law enforcement personnel are not going after people who they suspect may be here illegally. Again, talk about a nightmare scenario. All it takes is one or two overzealous nutcases and the courts would be clogged with cases against law enforcement personnel. Orly Taitz, anyone? This is pretty insane.

I am a firm believer in the Law of Unintended Consequences. Hopefully, I don’t need to explain that one. It’s pretty evident from the title what it means. This law, if left to stand, is going to have some wide reaching impacts that even the most cynical didn’t see coming. The only upside of this that I see, at all, is that the Republican Party is looking so unhinged these days that they are going to drive everyone away from them who isn’t white and over 45 years old, and they will probably drive off a lot of those people as well. If Republicans are trying to make themselves into that rump, regional political party that we heard a lot about several years ago, I can’t think of a better way of going about it.

The next thing I was going to talk about is the Goldman Sachs hearings. Many, many things came into my mind when I saw some of the clips. But one big one is, “THESE are the titans of our financial industry? These people represent the financial engine that drives our country’s economy? They can’t even explain what they were doing without implicating themselves! They don’t even have a story that would stand up to any sort of scrutiny! All they can do is pretend that they don’t understand the question or else be surprised why anyone would think they might be doing something underhanded.”

I am of two minds again, like I am with many issues today. Are these people that absolutely clueless about their own actions and how they are coming across? Do they really think that everything they did was on the up and up and their actions had absolutely no impact on the biggest financial mess this country has seen since the Great Depression? Do they really think that? Are they so immersed in their own culture of greed and avarice that they don’t even understand why they are in front of a Senate panel? Or, on the other hand, are they so crooked that they feel they can do anything with impunity because they know they can and there won’t be any ramifications? Do they really have no conscience, and that they only thing that matters is that “they get theirs?”

Which is it? I really can’t decide. It doesn’t say much about human nature, in general, no matter which way it goes. Psychopaths? Or really bright morons? Either way, I am in shock that we can have people like this in a country that everyone likes to hold up as the “beacon of democracy and freedom.” Yeah, freedom to sack and plunder, regardless of the impact on the economy and every single citizen of this country (and many others besides, of course). These people are really no better than Vikings, who would storm into unsuspecting villages, loot everything of value, rape the women, kill the men and burn the town. These pigs are the 21st Century equivalent of Vikings. My apologies to anyone of Norwegian ancestry. That’s the best analogy I could come up with.

There’s so much insanity going on today that we can’t even keep track of it. Something may make an impression for a day or so, and they the next outrage comes steaming through. For example, I can’t get over the fact that, a few months ago, a lunatic who was mad at the IRS actually filled up his small airplane with fuel and crashed it into a federal building in Texas, killing one unfortunate person who was just doing his job. If nothing else, the symbolism of this act and that of the 9/11 hijackers is so hard to miss. Yet, many people on the left either didn’t blame this guy for what he did (because killing people when you are mad at the IRS is perfectly legitimate and understandable) or else he was some sort of underground hero. That’s what our country has come to. But how long did that event resonate in the press and in everyday discussions? A week? Maybe two at the most. And then it is gone. Move along, nothing to see here…

I am truly having a difficult time reconciling the fact that I live in a time when anywhere from 25% to 40% of our country seem to have totally lost all ability to think, speak and act rationally. We are collectively losing our minds, and hardly anyone even notices. I find this incredibly difficult to reconcile with the image of the United States that I was taught in school. Where this is all going to end up, I have no idea. Maybe if these lunatics get back in power, like they seem to believe they have a God-giving right to be, then maybe they might calm down and start acting somewhat rationally. Until the next 9/11, of course. On the other hand, they might just ratchet up the craziness to 11. Who knows what people like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint would really do if they had control of the government? What I can imagine isn’t really pretty.

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