29 July 2010

The road to Rights County - too many roadblocks by too many Sheriffs

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the most controversial elements of Arizona's new immigration law,thereby setting the stage for more legal battles, debate, argument and jingoistic slogans from both sides of the argument.

The Denver Post reports the day before the law was to take effect, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton halted implementation of the parts that require police to determine the immigration status of people they stop and think are in the country illegally. She also forbade the state from charging anyone with failure to possess immigration documents, a crime under the new law.

The law reeks of racial profiling and redneck rhetoric, especially when one considers the contribution made by the controversial Sheriff of Maricopa County Joe Arpaio, who likes to brand his particular aversion to civil rights, under the banner of "America's toughest Sherriff," (his contribution to civil rights is seen in the photo). The sort of law enforcement officer who would have his supporters chanting anti-Islamic mantras if committed by his counterparts in any of the smoldering, burning ruins of countries liberated by the U.S. It makes you wonder what sort of democracy is enjoyed by the world's largest democracy, when the government's immigration policy is dictated by a tin pot lawmaker best left in 1950s movies.

In fact...

The sort of law enforcement officer depicted so vividly in the 1950s classic, "The Salt of The Earth". Made in 1954 and based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the movie is narrated Esperanza Quintero, played by Rosaura Revueltas. The movie deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who went on strike to win wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by the bosses. There is an amusing scene where the workers joke about the media's lies and cries for alien workers to be sent back home - which in reality would have meant Oklahoma and Texas. But reality and facts never get in the way of the mass media's dedication to keeping the ignorant, ignorant.

Banned in America, Rosaura Revueltas was blacklisted and deported, pretty much putting an end to the career of a brilliant actress. Democracy and freedom of speech - terms and conditions apply.

Fifty-six years after, "The Salt of The Earth" and God knows how many illegal and/or immoral wars to bring freedom, democracy and human rights to foreign countries, (as long as such countries suit the political or economical agenda of the U.S) how far have we really come when it comes to identifying and and respecting the needs and rights of those who have accents that do not belong to "our tribe"?

The road to Rights County, is obstructed by too many roadblocks erected by too many Sheriffs, wearing too many silvery stars of self-righteousness.



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