Wednesday, May 19, 2010

SB 1070 Doesn't Suck As Much As You Think It Does; or, My Only Defense of Utilitarianism

I suppose it's time to tackle the whole "Arizona-passing-the-sh*ttiest-laws-ever" problem, seeing as how I am from Arizona, and have a blog, and bloggers are clearly the underestimated source of solutions to all the world's problems. Me being a blogger without a perfectly viable solution to war, famine, and racist bullsh*t would be like me being a philosophy major without a job.
Firstly, I'd like to correct one misconception that the other 49 states seem to have:
The governor passed these stupid, stupid laws, and we did not even vote for our governor. Obama totally stole our kick-ass governor Janet Napolitano and made her director of Homeland Security, leaving us high and dry with only our non-college-graduate lieutenant governor Jan Brewer.
So technically, this is Obama's fault.
Not that I want him to get fired, or anything. I think he's okay. But he could, like, fix this. Or give us back our governor.

Secondly (Oh, God, I'm totally going to get skewered for this), this too shall pass. Yes, it sucks. Yes, our state tends towards the side of racist bigotry. Yes, if you inserted the word "black" everywhere that the term "illegal immigrant" appears, Jesse Jackson would be having Arizona's head for dinner. But I'm not totally convinced that these horrible, horrible laws are really a bad thing.
Because now our racism is out in the open.
Now people can talk about it. Now people have to defend it. Now these ridiculous laws that ban ethnic studies courses and give way too much power to law enforcement will have to go before the courts of law. I guess I just feel like it was way worse when we looked like an ideal state with a good handle on the melting pot and our Mexican border, but secretly we elected officials with a loose interpretation of the law and looked the other way as long as they were catching "illegals." Before last year, nobody knew that we practically have a caste system, and that anyone who even resembles a Mexican gets treated like a second-class citizen, because the disparity in income levels and education is enormous (side note: I really think this is actually a class issue, not a race issue; there's a reason that these laws went into effect while we're in a recession. But that's a post for a different day). But now that we've actually put this into law, all it's going to take is a couple of decent lawsuits and these suckers will get smacked down by any judge with a competent grasp of the United States' legal system.
Examples of lawsuits that should occur in order to incite said smackdown:
My friend, who is a native of the United States, but looks like he isn't, works for NASA and has some kind of ridiculous security clearance by the United States. Wouldn't it be awesome if he got pulled over in AZ and didn't have his papers on him (which, btw, is something I have beef about--it's not like I keep my freaking birth certificate on me, or my social security card. I don't have papers, because I'm a citizen. So how is this crap going to work? Anyway--) and then sued for racial discrimination and they decided that the law wasn't constitutional?
The ban on ethnic studies courses also applies to schools on Indian reservations. Wouldn't it be awesome if they sued because now they can't study their own history, and some judge decided that, after all we have taken from them, we probably shouldn't take their culture, too? Ethnic studies courses for schools on reservations are federally funded. I'm pretty sure the claim that it incites resentment against the government of the United States isn't going to hold up in court. Know what would really incite resentment? HIDING THE FACTS ABOUT HOW WE FOUNDED THIS COUNTRY AND THEN REFUSING TO ALLOW THE DESCENDANTS OF THE PEOPLE WE TOTALLY F*CKED TO LEARN THE TRUTH.
Openness and honesty are always superior to evasion and lies. This is why we have the First Amendment. This is why I think these laws might, in the long, run, not be the worst thing ever. Talking about things is important; owning up to prejudice and resentment are just as important as, if not more important than, giving lip service to rights and equality. This is the reason everyone wants to live here so badly, because we allow people to do that here! (Also, our flat screen TVs are pretty bangin'.) Seriously, people. Hasn't anybody read John Stuart Mill's On Liberty? (Oh, right, we have flat screens. I remember.) This reminds me of the time that my brother refused to say the pledge of allegiance, and his homeroom teacher took him out and tongue-lashed him for not paying respect to people who died for his freedoms. My brother, already a rhetorical genius at the age of fifteen, responded with, "I'm pretty sure they died so I don't have to say the pledge of allegiance if I don't want to." (Seriously, I've never understood that argument. "People died to protect your freedom, so please don't use it. It's rude.")
So, go ahead, boycott us. I think that's awesome! That's exactly what you should do, what you have the right to do. And we're going to go ahead and be racist pricks, because we can, until the justice system points out that we're not exactly in line with constitutional principles of equality and innocence until proven guilty and freedom of speech and freedom from discrimination based on things like race or religion or, you know, just the fact that you're poor. At which point we will fix our deviant ways and get with the equality.
Lastly, can I just say that anybody who wants to walk across the f*cking desert in the middle of July with no water and no shade just to get to the United States where they can work a sh*tty job for ten hours a day, seven days a week, should probably be allowed to stay here? I mean, I thought we valued hard work and rugged individualism, here. Let's cut these kids a break.

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