Our friends at No More Mister Nice Blog have a nice discussion about the latest outrage to be proposed out of the Arizona legislature, to wit, the denial of birth certificates to children whose parents
have Latino surnames cannot prove that they are White American citizens. What I like about the discussion in particular is what it's about: denial of the franchise to swarthy people who won't vote for the Republican Party, simple as that. The blatant violation of the express wording of the 14th Amendment means nothing: the Roberts Court may well rubber stamp this, assuming Justice Kennedy feels like it,
Yes, the federal government has utterly defaulted in its responsibilities in the immigration area. Yes, the border is out of control. Worse, our self-defeating "war on drugs" has now been escalated to the point where it is being waged as a full-fledged shooting war on the Mexican side of our border, being fought there by both sides of the conflict with weaponry supplied from the United States, and it is only a matter of time before that too crosses the border here.
All that said, notwithstanding some legitimate (and some less legitimate) fears resulting from this, the motivation for Arizona (and for other states behaving similarly) is not, actually "racism" per se (though that is a necessary but not sufficient element), but to protect the continued viability of the Republican Party in the face of the inevitable demographic fact that the United States is becoming "less White" by the day, and in a few decades, will be a "majority minority" country, and the GOP will have had decades establishing itself as an atavistic nativist/racist lunatic fringe not likely to do so well electorally in such a place. [Don't get me wrong; I still remain at a loss to see any meaningful non-cosmetic distinctions in actual governance between the two parties, but certainly, in the GOP's far more effective programs to acquire and then retain power, nasty things can happen in the interim, and it is these kinds of measures, like Arizona's crazy ass laws, that I find troubling... rather than whether or not the Democrats manage to squander what should be a clear electoral advantage for years to come because they prefer to remain asleep while their opponents steal elections.,. as if that ever happened before!]
The solution chosen by the GOP is not, as George W. Bush and Karl Rove would have preferred, of creative pandering by Republicans to try to play to cultural conservatives within the Latino community such as their own immigration reform proposals, but to... wait for it... simply disenfranchise potentially hostile voters. (And as the Greg Palast piece observes, not as some long-term project, though it is that, but to avoid losing power right here, right now, in the very next election, by harassing the bejesus out of all likely Democrats.)
And what did the Obama Administration do about this sentiment? Well, aside from the rhetorical atacks on Arizona's law from the White House, other than the President's actually enabling it by elevating former Governor Janet Napolitano to Homeland Security Secretary (where she's doing a heckuva job, btw), and thereby removing the one bulwark against this sort of thing in the state.. damned if I know.
Well... not to worry (even as a couple of attractive ACLU activists tried to accost me on the street today to "get active" on this issue... sorry folks,,, I'm already a "card carrying member")... the courts will ultimately decide, and we'll just have to hope that Justice Kennedy is in a charitable mood toward the continued functioning of what's left of our republic. Which, as I keep trying to tell all of you who'll listen... is far less than we think it is. Not that I am advocating spending too much effort on trying to get things back to when we were a better functioning constitutional republic... au contraire, I'm suggesting not wasting too much energy on that, and instead, focusing on how you and your families are going to get by in a country whose political and economic systems are on track to fail more or less simultaneously. Think about it: how are you going to eat? where are you going to live? how will you get around? will you have personal and physical security of any kind? will you be in a community of like-minded people? And so forth... we're going to discover that "Going Galt," while vacating ourselves "from the grid" (rather than from the tax system) and not being selfish right-wing Randian assholes about it, and while not actually physically going anywhere or saying anything... might not be such a bad idea, all things told. Certainly, growing our own food near where we live, knowing the herbal medicine practices of our great grandparents and so forth, getting around on foot or bicycle... all not such a bad idea-- even if the republic somehow pulls through..
This is especially true in the kind of country where too much moving around or even talking --might just get us deported, or worse. ,Just saying.