Twice in a month now, I will have made reference to Groucho Marx' brilliant line, "I would not belong to a club that would have me for a member."
This time, it has to do with the anti-immigration law passed and signed into effect in Arizona a few weeks past.
I am not sure how people become so fearful or high and mighty, considering we are indeed a country of immigrants. That is save the Native Americans, from whom we took the country in the first place.
But, I find it ironic that the same folks who seem to worry so much about protecting the constitution think about how freely they are willing to destroy the same document.
I mean, it is easy enough to say that racial profiling is not allowed, but, I have to wonder if the same number of Caucasians will be queried for their papers, as will Latinos. And, when one thinks about it, they should. After all, we are bordered from Canada to the north, just as Mexico from the south, and there could be undocumented Canadians living here too, right?
Laugh if you will at the suggestion, but to be fair, the same possibility exists, and really, to prove no profiling, that means either everyone is carded, or no one is.
Because we live in an open society, and for better or worse, with the privileges of freedom, so come risks.
But, I wonder too about the same folks who again had compared the current administration to that of the Nazis, and who are in favor of laws where we have to prove our citizenship will remember that is indeed how the Nazis started.
I know because my parents were among those loyal German citizens, who because they were Jewish, suddenly were identified by their yellow cards noting their Semitic origins. All four of my grandparents--including both my grandfathers who were physicians and who had been officers on the German side during World War I--had to flee that along with my few remaining aunts and uncles.
The rest, such as my Uncle Leo, did not make it out and perished.
So, I can say this as not only the progeny of people who were persecuted, but as one of then immigrants, like everyone else here save those Native Americans, who love and value our laws and constitution, and who understand that the freedoms those laws represent need to be open to be alive and vibrant, not restricted.
That is why I loved the statement made by the Phoenix Suns the other day, acknowledging Cinco de Mayo and protesting this un-American law with one swift stroke. It is why I hope the All-Star game for next year is pulled from Arizona, and why the trip Diane and I were going to take in a few weeks, driving back to the Bay Area from Chicago, via Route 66, will no longer follow that path.
We are bagging the Painted Desert and Petrified Forrest and Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, as much as I hate to, because in a small way I can let the business community of Arizona know that I don't think what they did is right or fair or American.
This is tough because I also have to think that undocumented folks are the ones who do many of the tough tasks in restaurants and hotels, so I am vicariously punishing them and that is the last thing I want to do.
But it is just not right. And it is easy to look at the comparison between Jews in the 30's and Latinos today and say, "It is ok, that cannot happen here," but with the law, it already has started.
Like my parents, chances are your ancestors left their home, maybe in Europe, maybe Asia, or maybe Africa, and came here with hope of a better life, and probably were able to realize that dream. And, now you are in the club. The same one that Groucho does not want a part of.
Because, well, for some reason once we are members, we judge all those who are not, and we tend to forget our own past and humanity.
We might need laws and some structure surrounding immigration and legitimizing the undocumented, but please, not like this. It is a slippery slope and with the laws also passed in the last few years regarding habeas corpus, well, we are already sliding down it in my view.