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    Sorry, no racist here. - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    Sorry, no racist here.

    I rarely post political stuff on this blog, unless it directly affects hunting and fishing. I believe illegal immigration fits that bill. As many of you know, for a couple of years now, the maps found in the Game and Fish Regulations indicate a “zone” along the border, with a statement that “Homeland security issues along the international border may affect the quality of a person’s hunt”. Following the passage of SB1070, I was deeply offended to be branded a racist for supporting this law. A drastically shorter version of the following editorial is scheduled to appear in Wednesday’s edition of the Arizona Republic (Mesa edition) ~Desert Rat

    Racist? Really?

    I am an immigrant. I am not a racist.

    I have lived in the United States for almost twenty years, the past thirteen I have lived in Arizona. I love Arizona. I love how the landscape can change when you drive two hours in any direction. I love the weather. I love the west. I love the culture. I grew up in a small town in eastern Canada. Moving to Arizona was like moving to a different world. There’s big city and rural living, there’s awesome scenery, there’s a wonderful history, there’s saguaros, and there is the Hispanic influence that flavors life in Arizona at every turn. I love it all. That being said, the recent strife that came as a result of the signing of SB1070 has been one of the saddest periods of nearly two decades of my living in the US. It is a period when I was called a racist, likened to a Nazi, and accused of being a bigot. Not just by people I don’t know, people of polar opposites of the political spectrum; rather, by friends, by colleagues, by co-workers. By people, who it seemed, for the most part - hadn’t even read the bill. These were the people I considered free thinkers. I was not surprised by opposition to the bill, I was surprised by the lack of intellectual effort in having a debate. It seems that the race card was the first thing that many folks went for, and for them - it was enough.

    I am not so naive to think that racism doesn’t exist any more. Of course it does. Ironically, racism isn’t solely a Caucasian affliction - it knows no boundaries. I’m sure it flourishes in small numbers, on both sides of this debate. I however, am no racist. When I moved to the United States all those years ago, I was told to carry my Green Card with me, wherever I went. I wasn’t sure exactly what would happen to me if I didn’t, but I didn’t want to find out. To my knowledge, I have never left my house without my documentation in all of these years. What a crazy world it has become, when a person is called a racist, for not factoring race into an equation. When I first read of SB1070, race never entered my mind. We, as a society, have been conditioned over the years to be color blind, and rightly so. I didn’t think “Wow, the Mexicans better look out!”. When a new drug law is announced, I don’t think “Boy, those white-trash tweakers are in for it.” Now, it seems, we should think of race, with this new law. The mantra of the past few years has been “tolerance, fairness, be careful not to offend, see the other person’s point of view”. People were awfully quick to call a large portion of the population racists, though. Is that tolerance? Fairness? I understand that many of the people here illegally came here for a better life. How is that fair to all of the people trying to enter this country legally, and all of those before them? Talk to the folks living on the border, the ranchers and others. They are suffering devastating losses to property and livestock. Who stands up for them? Because there were many people that I respected so vehemently opposed to this law, I have read it at least three times. Reading through the bill, I’m sorry - I just cannot draw a straight line from the legislation as written to “pull over all of the brown people”. I just can’t. I have tried to see the other point of view. I’m not getting it. Something else has to initiate the stop, and a Drivers’ License is enough to send you on your way. It’s a virtual cut and paste of existing Federal law, with lots of anti-profiling mechanisms written in.

    The Federal Government, over several administrations had failed miserably, and possibly purposefully, to address the immigration issue. They have not secured the border. They have not made legitimate paths to citizenship quick or easy. They have not cracked down on businesses employing illegal immigrants. That there is indeed a mess, I think most of us can agree on. As I watch people protest against this law, I can’t help but wonder if many of the people would be against any attempt to enforce illegal immigration. Let’s face it - the problem has gone on so long that illegal immigrants are woven into the fabric of our society, especially in the states along the southern borders. They are our co-workers. Their children attend our schools, we worship with them, we go to the gym with them, we share games at the park with families that are undocumented. I cannot imagine any type of serious enforcement that won’t cause pain and hardship in our communities. So, maybe the 30-40% of Arizona’s population that opposes this bill is against any enforcement of immigration laws. I don’t know. I haven’t heard many alternatives offered. Not much constructive criticism. Just protesting. Just name-calling. So, maybe we’re at a crossroads. Ignore the problem. Amnesty. Comprehensive reform. I don’t have the answer, except to say that sometime, somewhere, the rule of law must prevail. I would go so far as to offer that many of the people who come to our country illegally come because the rule of law has been abandoned in their home countries. Drug wars. Tyranny. Corruption. Real ethnic cleansing. Does anyone else see the irony? Abandon our laws to accommodate those who circumvented the law to come here from their broken countries that abandoned their laws. If racism is a by-product of a well-intended law, help us understand. Read the law. Offer well thought-out alternatives. Offer rational arguments. Help us see what you are saying.

    The real victims in the days and weeks following the passage of SB1070 have been our law enforcement officers. It appears that roughly 30% of our population doesn’t trust them to enforce this law fairly and objectively. How sad. They are good enough to respond to our home invasions, good enough to assist in our traffic accidents, perfectly capable of looking for our teenage runaways, investigate assaults and homicides, and otherwise keep our communities safe. How discouraged and resentful they must be that their collective professionalism has been called into question. Make no mistake - there are bad cops. There are racist cops. But those officers are the exception, not the rule. Those officers are already pursuing their racist agendas and will continue to be rooted out. I can only hope that my professionalism is never judged by the populace, based on the actions of only the worst in my industry.

    I am no legal expert - maybe this is a poorly written law. It was clearly written as a reaction to the Federal neglect of the border problem. But a racist law? Really? All of those legislators are racists? The police are racists? I’m a racist? For making an existing Federal law a State Law? Seriously? C’mon. Both sides of any political argument these days have alarmists. Have those who thrive on rhetoric. Have extremists bent on whipping their “side” into a frenzy. Those people I usually ignore. This time though, the racist card was played too quickly, by people who knew better. It detracted from a logical, well thought-out argument against the legislation. That, I could handle. Don’t call me a racist though, because we’ve excluded race from the equation. Just like we’re supposed to.

    Below is a photo taken a few hundred yards away from my friend’s house in Sierra Vista. Garbage, trespassing and damage to his property is a near-constant fact of life for him.

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    4 Responses to “Sorry, no racist here.”

    1. knownasTD Says:

      Rat, this is definitely “one of your best” literary works. It comes from the heart, cuts to the chase, gets to the point, it’s real, and it’s spot on!

      You truly are a gifted writer. I personally feel that you have spoken for many of us - through this “non-racist” point of view. Refreshing and eloquent. Thank you!


    2. If You Support SB1070 - Rut N Hard Forums Says:

      [...] here's a must read - Sorry, no racist here. - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest! [...]

    3. Sorry, No Racist Here : Black Bear Blog Says:

      [...] Read the editorial here. [...]

    4. Sorry, No Racist Here : Conservative Zone Says:

      [...] Read the editorial here. [...]

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