American Paranoia

By | April 20, 2006

I wanted to share what I wrote in response to receiving the email forward described at this link: http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/mexicoflag.asp. This is a topic which I had been planning to write about anyway, and this made for a good opportunity.

I am quite disturbed about this email. I am appalled at the attitudes of fear and bias which this message communicates. I believe that it is wrong to think of the U.S. as virtually perfect place. I believe that this attitude of paranoia that someone is going to come in and ruin our “perfect” lives is wrong. I can’t see anyway around viewing this as leading to significant racism.

Quite similar is the story of Dubois ports world. Simply because there is a connection to the middle east, people are up in arms over them simply owning a business here. (And really, if the Bush administration, which has been running around the globe fighting wars in the name of national security ok’d the deal, I’m thinking it was a pretty safe bet.)

What’s more, what is portrayed in this email isn’t entirely accurate. I participated in the immigrant march here in Indianapolis. More than any other one thing, people were waving U.S. flags, and sometimes chanting, “U.S.A.” They are not here causing trouble, they are simply hard workers. Again I see no other way of explaining this other than paranoia.

I say this because it seems that people seem to be under some kind of illusion that we can be “perfectly” safe, and reduce all risk. This of course is untrue and chasing it will be like chasing a phantom. I fear because some people would have us locked down to a near police state, losing much freedom in the name of security.

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  • gRegor

    Well I can see why people would get uppity about the US flag being flown upside-down, and under the Mexican flag. I’m not very nationalistic myself, so it doesn’t bother me much, but I don’t think racism is the right term for these people.

    I think it’s part xenophobia but also part of the entitlement mentality in America. Because we’ve become so socialistic and have all sorts of handouts in America today, citizens don’t like the idea of foreigners coming here illegally and collecting. Also, people think they’re entitled to jobs at a certain pay rate, so they complain that the foreigners are undermining their jobs. Like I commented on Sheryl’s post, if we get rid of the handouts, the first problem goes away. Instead people call for the government to take even more control. You’re absolutly right about the losing of freedom in the name of security. I suspect a national ID is coming for several reasons, including immigration. The Real ID Act has already been passed which will nationalize drivers licenses.

    I’ve read a few interesting blogs lately that indicate immigrant workers don’t necessarily get paid less, either – construction contractors will gladly pay market wages to immigrants and have found them to be harder workers and more reliable than some American workers.

  • livingthelostgospel

    I read in the criterion that it is also illegal to aid and abed illegal immigrants, and you could actually go to jail for it. There is a priest calling for people to follow him to the jail house because he believes that the laws are making it illegal to care for your fellow man.

    I have heard that argument of “their stealing from us, and they’re takin our jobs!” I have had the priviledge of working with many people from mexico, and illegal or not, they have my respect. The Mexican government does not care about it’s citizens, and squanders money that is given to them on their own agenda so the people suffer. People have to eat, and live so what do you think is going to happen?

    I met this one guy at a previous job, who would work for eight months, save his money, take a four month sabbatical to go home, and take care of his family. The guy wasn’t illegal, but if he was, I wouldn’t have cared. The man is doing what he could to take care of his family, and that is worthy of respect.

    The puzzling thing I have come across is that at my last job, I knew this Christian who espoused the right wing view, and when he got on his soap box about the “mexicans stealing from us.” I wondered if he paid attention to how hateful he sounded? I also wonder if he(or any christian that holds to right wing polititcs) understands that there are quite a few immigrants here who call on the name of Jesus, and belong to his church? I wonder if it is understood when st. paul says “to good to everyone, especially if they are a fellow believer?” When did nationalism become more important than one’s own Christianity, or for that matter become assimilated into it? What I have read in my bible is that we are indeed supposed to submit to the laws of the land, but not blindly, and when they contradict with the teachings of Jesus then we hold back the incense for ceasar.

    Something is going to happen, and if it is not checked we will destroy ourselves in the process. The Real ID act is quite scary in it of itself, and it smacks of the gold stars of david in Germany during the holocaust, and I wonder how long it will be before there are camps set up for these, and those that help them because their christianity mattered more them them than their flag. Don’t forget that st. paul was a roman citizen, and was martyred by the roman government.