Friday, February 10, 2012

Alabama Immigration Law: The Hatefulness Backfires


USA Today columnist Raul Reyes is right ("Repeal Alabama's immigration law") in his comments Friday. The state wants to "retool" its misguided anti-immigrant law rather than repeal it. Alabama is only interested in retooling because state officials are worried about the law's negative impact on the economy and business, not because the law is part of a bigoted national effort to scapegoat Latinos for the USA's economic woes. Alabama, a Deep South state with a long reputation for passing laws that oppress people of color, is simply carrying on a disgraceful tradition of making life miserable for non-whites. While I am saddened to read about farmers having to let crops die in the fields for lack of harvesters, in Alabama, they are simply reaping what they sowed.

Patrick O'Neill 
Garner NC
USA Today
February 6, 2012 


Dear Patrick,

Good work!

Currently, I've been working on a post about "the Alabama situation," prompted to do so by "Reap What You Sow," a broadcast by This American Life -

Despite certain ambiguities over the desired "outcomes" of the Alabama law, it is my intention to point out that -- even if the law achieves intended effects in certain ways -- the hateful bigotry "behind it" is what locks Alabama (and the rest of the rest of the God-damned Bible Belt) in vile socio-economic matrices that are currently trashing the nation while turning stomachs of civilized people everywhere.

Teresa of Avila expressed a brilliant irony: "There are more tears shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones."

If we get our first principles right (indeed, the Latin word for "principle" means "beginning") things tend to work out well... and for The Good.

Get 'em wrong and hell breaks loose.

I think The South was much too quick to forgive itself for centuries of slavery and has not yet done necessary work to expunge the polluting residue of that evil time. (In traditional Catholic terms, they neither did penance nor "firmly resolved" to avoid the same sin in future.)

Just as The South hid behind the pulpit in defense of slavery, so The South continues to hide behind "Christianity" as justification for its insane politics. (And it's not just national politics. Currently, the North Carolina General Assembly looks like Satan doing "stand up.")

It is no accident that the epicenter of this insanity is The Bible Belt - that replacement "cracker whip" now used buckle end first. 

Have you seen the following video clip of a Southern judge whipping his disabled daughter? By my lights it epitomizes everything (still) wrong in Dixie: Christian authoritarianism in whose clutches bible bangers worship their own self-seeking whims while using God the same way terrorists use human shields

We are all sinners. 

We all miss the mark - every day and in many ways.

But the moral affliction of The South is neatly summarized by Jesuit friend Tom Weston who coined a phrase first published by his friend Annie LaMott: “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

As a polity, The South is so twisted that Gordian Knot confusion possesses its very soul.

To restore a semblance of normalcy, Southerners must untwist so many loops-and-hitches that it will be decades - if not centuries - before they escape the web-of-lies they've woven for themselves.  

Pax on both houses


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