Sunday, June 06, 2010

Colorful Alliance

I took a break from posting on articles put up at Watching America because the offerings had become less interesting and timely. I soon suspected that I had just gotten a little jaded, so I checked in again this week. I'm glad I did. The board contained an article on Arizona's loathsome anti-immigrant bill which presented an angle I hadn't considered.

It seems that those protesting the new law (scheduled to take effect July 29, 2010 unless a federal lawsuit prevails) requested that Native Americans join the cause. Many leaders, especially from the Navajo Nation, agreed to do so.

From Spain's El Pais:

...In this movement that defends the rights of illegal immigrants, one sees posters of Geronimo — the Apache rebel who fought over these deserts — overlapping posters of Zapata.

“They crossed the border because they were here long before the borders,"* explained Salvador Reza, one of the leaders of the mobilization against the SB 1070 law, which will go into effect starting July 29 if the global protests do not prevent it, and which will allow the police to stop and identify whomever they believe to be in the U.S. illegally. ...

...There are two sides to the conflict dividing the state and the country: those who support deportation of all illegal immigrants and those who fight for the civil rights they earned with their work. The Native Americans have chosen to support the latter side. The Navajo Reservation contains two of the most scenic sites in the United States: Monument Valley, with icebergs of red rock that stand in the middle of nowhere, where John Ford filmed masterpieces like The Searchers; and the Canyon de Chelly, a sacred site for the Navajos because it embodies their resistance to the white man and especially symbolizes their principal virtue: that they never gave in and that they keep on living there. A real lesson in life.

What a natural alliance! For the racist segment of Arizona, the Native Americans, like the Latin American immigrants, are objects of scorn and disrespect. They are not, after all, White. Of course, they are not actually Red, either, more like Brown, and that is the whole point. Their culture predates much of the Western European Culture currently running and ruining the planet with wars, pollution, and unfettered capitalism. While in many respects they are no more angelic than their White neighbors, they were here first, long before the White Man.

If President Obama and his Attorney General have any sense of decency, they too will join the alliance by pressing the constitutional issue in a lawsuit against the Arizona law first, and then demanding a rational immigration reform bill from Congress, one that honors the work and contributions of those immigrants already here, documented or not, by allowing them to remain in Arizona and every other state.

That approach would also honor the dream of another person of color, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was more interested in the contents of a person's character than in the color of that person's skin.

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