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Posted by aaron at 01:01AM, Sunday, December 04th, 2005

The Happy Consequences of a Betrayal of American Idealism?

The news this weekend is filled with accounts of hundreds of thousands of people marching in California, Arizona, and Georgia yesterday and today, in opposition to Republican legislation to make being an illegal immigrant a felony, and criminalize providing assistance to illegal immigrants. How does this square with American ideals and history, and "huddled masses yearning to be free?"

American history is marked by infusions of fresh blood and new ideas, by people yearning to be free, escaping their bounds in America's new world, escaping religious, racial, and ideological persecution in order to make a better land. The fresh blood and ideas, the great melting pot, was what gave to us the technological achievement of saving the world in two World Wars; the political achievement of the United States Constitution, one of the most progressive and looked-up-to charters in world history; the civil rights achievements of the civil war, of women's lib, of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King; the scientific achievements of the U.S. space program, which brought mankind to the moon; and even the artistic achievements of rock and roll and hollywood, which make our language that of business and pleasure in all the world. At what risk do we attempt to stop the flow of that vitality which has always made America the greatest country in the world?

The riots going on now, underreported in the media and particularly in the blogosphere, are one of the most important political events of this decade. American might in all fields has always been tied to this welcome embrace of refugees bringing knowledge, ideas, and energy. We owe it to the proud idealistic history of our country and its founders to think about the ramifications of the legislation the House just passed -- and whether its authors are truly protecting America, or whether they have betrayed her and the mighty ideals that make us strong.
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