A reader writes:
You wrote, "I think what we're seeing in Arizona is a glimpse of a possible Republican future: a police state directed against dark-skinned immigrants, legal and illegal."
I'm sorry, but this is truly too much. Hatred and vitriol, such as calling opponents' policies racist, is supposed to be on the decline in the Obama era. Did you not get the message? This kind of over-the-top bullshit really weakens the appeal of reading your blog. And it is wrong on substance as well. Where do you find Republicans against legal immigration? Are all illegal immigrants really "dark-skinned?" Are we to do nothing about controlling our borders for fear of being labeled racist?
I have very mixed feelings about the Arizona anti-illegal-immigrant laws, but the comparison to the Nazi's "show me your papers" smacks of Godwin's law of citing Hitler in arguments. Arizona is trying to deal with real problems, created by people who broke existing, serious, democratically-created laws.
Laws of the type which virtually every country in the world has in place, for good reason. These immigrants knew they were breaking US law when they entered the country. Comparisons to fascist states is ridiculous. By any conservative reading of the situation, what Arizona is trying to do is true crime fighting, not persecuting an ethnic minority.
You wrote: "It was the same attitude toward terror suspects. I do not believe that torture would have occurred in this country if the victims had been white."
I believe the evidence is pretty strong that John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban, was likely tortured while in U.S. custody. His sad story has been largely forgotten, but he was actually one of the first victims of the "get tough" campaign by Rumsfeld, et al.
Yes, Lindh was almost certainly tortured and at the very least degraded and abused. But he was the first captive the US got its hands on. If more white Americans had been sent to Gitmo under orders from the president without due process, I think things would have developed differently. Reifying "the worst of the worst" made due process impossible and torture more palatable to the public. As for Godwin's law, I did not mention Hitler; I mentioned a police state. A police state is one where any cop can pull you aside for any reason and demand papers. If you don't have them, you're guilty till proven innocent. The overwhelming majority of those "reasonably suspected" of being illegal immigrants will be Mexican. What we have here, regardless of how it came about (and I agree the Feds have a terrible record in policing the Southern border), this is a police state directed at a minority, innocent and guilty. That's the reality.