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Immigration & English Only – Patriotic Issues or Fascist Issues?

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Lou Dobbs on CNN rails on the issues of illegal immigration, and goes further by insisting that English only be implemented, and that immigrants should eschew their native country's customs and meld into a cookie cutter Americana.

I have problems with that. Let me explain. A few years ago, as I was walking to protest a Bush visit to Kansas City, I was illegally arrested by a local policeman who'd been whipped up by the nice folks at Homeland Security. I was later acquitted of the two false charges I'd been detained on. This was after a long expensive battle to make a defense, which followed the initial illegal arrest including being sprawled in the middle of the street, and then being taken to the bowels of the Kansas City jail by a Secret Service (I assume) agent, who after being told by myself that I was a writer, asked "When we look at your writing will we find anything subversive?" I assume he was Secret Service, because later the Kansas City Police Department denied having any record of the man who checked me out of the jail with the permission of the KCPD jailers, and given an interrogation room by them in the basement to take me to for questioning.

I soon discovered I had a large pool of potential witnesses to my illegal arrest, because the many tall office buildings around the "parade route of the Bush visit" had employees stacked up around the office windows waiting to get a glimpse of the passing Bush motorcade. However, as I walked building to building myself looking for witnesses (because I couldn't afford a detective service), I found that my "fellow citizens" mostly lied to my face denying that they saw anything. One admitted seeing what happened, but refused to testify because "her boss might not like it."

Security at a building across the street instructed their employees not to cooperate with me, and refused to let me view their security videos. One woman initially enthusiastically told my attorney what she'd seen which was that I had been unfairly arrested, but then, for some reason when she came to court turned on me and tried to make it seem as though I was antagonistic to the policeman (which I wasn't). Fortunately, she was unaware that her testimony exonerated me because she did truthfully testify that I was in a legal crosswalk when illegally arrested, so in spite of her efforts to betray me her testimony exonerated me in the end.

In the end, the ONLY witness that came forward and was willing to testify the truth about what happened to me, was "not one of my fellow cookie cutter Americans" that Lou Dobbs thinks is so good for America. It was a young man who was in America "illegally" from Mexico. This young man was willing to put his entire way of life on the line, to "tell the truth." Meanwhile my "fellow Americans" were willing to sell me down the river for their own safety and convenience.

Are Mexicans morally superior to Americans? Probably not, as there is corruption in Mexico as well as here. So, what is the point, here? The point is that after 9/11 our "fellow Americans" and "local police" were whipped up by our federal government and our corporate media into a patriotic lather that said you are either "with us," or "against us." In this hypnotic state of irrationality, anyone who didn't fit into the "cookie cutter patriotic lather," and "challenged the system" was "suspect," and outside of their "click."

Meanwhile this young man, who perhaps because of language and cultural differences, had been somewhat immunized from the propaganda our culture experienced after 9/11 . . . simply did what was true and right, by being willing to testify to the truth of what he saw.

This is why diversity is so important to American democracy. When people think differently, and different languages contribute to different thought, they are more capable of thinking beyond "mob mentality" that leads to injustices like the one I experienced at the hands of my "fellow Americans."
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I have another personal anecdote that is pertinent to this issue. When I and my wife and kids moved to Kansas City from California many years ago, it was a culture shock. For the first time in my kid's lives, they experienced being cruelly harassed for being "different," because they were half Chinese. They did well in school in spite of often coming home hurt, or in the case of my daughter crying for being tormented for being Chinese.

Finally, we decided to move to a more affluent area near Kansas City, where we noticed there were more Asians living. When we arrived at our new house with our U-Haul truck, I was comforted to see a home down the street with a Mexican flag flying from the flagpole outside the house. Not because I'm Mexican, and of course my wife originally from Hong Kong is not Mexican, but because we felt we had moved to a more "tolerant" and "diverse" neighborhood. This was very comforting; to know we'd moved to a place where people were free to be who they were, and to feel comfortable about it.

Then came 9/11/2001. On that very day, I noticed that my new neighbor's Mexican flag came down . . . and it has never gone back up. After that we heard reports of Mexicans, Sikhs and others being beaten by Americans who mistook them for Arab terrorists. I saw a Canadian television newsman interviewing New Yorkers asking them if they were concerned about whether America was bombing the right people in Afghanistan. The New Yorkers replied, "I don't care, someone has to pay."

By having diversity in America, with different languages, and different thoughts, and different habits, and different cultures . . . we insulate our nation from the danger of "mob mentalities" that can cause massive damage to people's lives. Not just immigrants lives, or foreigner's lives, but we protect people like me, born and raised in Kansas, the son of Okie farmers, who served in wars and built America. Americans' liberty is protected by having diversity in America.

So, to Lou Dobbs, Bill Maher, and others who off the cuff suggest that all Americans should behave like they do, and leave everything that they are behind when they step foot on American soil . . . I say to you that that thinking is dangerous to our democracy, and in the end un-American. I say to you, that that thinking is a step down the road to fascism.
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God bless America!

By William E. Douglas, Jr., who is author of "The Amateur Parent A Book on Life, Death, War & Peace, and Everything Else in the Universe." Bill has been a guest columnist for the Kansas City Star, The Business Journal, and other media worldwide. His past essays include, "What the Amish Offer America," "Exposing the 9/11 Conspiracy Wingnuts," "The Explosion of the 9-11 Truth Movement -- US Media's Dirty Little Secret," "Good Night, and Good Luck - WMD, NIST, Popular Mechanics, 9/11 and Media Crimes," "Living in the Land of Oz," and also "Why the Jewish Community Should Demand 9/11 Truth."

 

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By William E. Douglas, Jr., who is author of "The Amateur Parent -- A Book on Life, Death, War & Peace, and Everything Else in the Universe." Bill has been a guest columnist for the Kansas City Star, The Business Journal, and other media worldwide. (more...)
 

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