One of the first hypocritical sound-bites pro-deportation advocates are repeating, including in public meetings and in print, is that crossing our borders is against the law, “what part of ‘illegal’ don’t you understand?,” and “we can’t pick and choose the laws we’re going to obey.”
Let’s pretend we don’t see the 20% of all drivers on Main Street who are still talking on cell phones. Let’s ignore the fact that while growing marijuana has been legal in California since November, it is still–just like immigration regulations–illegal by federal law. Let’s ignore driving while intoxicated or stoned.
Instead, let’s consider the legend that inspired the Tea Party: a rebellion inspired by tax laws. Let’s review the “legality” of the Jim Crow laws that inspired the civil rights protests of the mid-20th Century. In state after state, laws that have been unjust, ill-conceived, anachronistic, or unconstitutional have been challenged, subject to civil disobedience, overruled and overturned.
Globally, a wide and gruesome array of human rights violations, in the present and throughout history, have been “legal.”
One of the key promises of living in a democracy is that free people can choose to exercise their right of civil disobedience when a law conflicts with abiding moral truths.
Disingenuous commentary about immigration law and our adherence to its ever-wavering ethical constructs is not to be tolerated. It does not represent a “different point of view.” It represents an ancient and sadly familiar point of view, a primitive reaction to “the other.”
We have publicly stated our position in the published word. Now, our actions–small and personal, large and political–must prove our commitment.
(Below, the letter that appeared in today’s Ferndale Enterprise.)