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The Sleeping Giant

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  • The Sleeping Giant

    On Monday, if many immigrant advocacy groups get their wish, America will awaken to a disturbing silence. Shops and offices will not open, factories will be idle, and classrooms and restaurants will empty out. The nation will rattle with the emptiness of millions of immigrants not working, not shopping and not going to school.

    The noise is supposed to come later, when many of those same immigrants hit the streets, protesting and chanting in a continental chorus of complaint. Their din will be joined by a moan rising from the rest of America, newly exposed as a fat, immobile queen lost without her worker bees. The shaken nation then will buckle and pass forgiving laws that loosen its borders and grant the 11 million to 12 million illegal workers their rightful place in the American landscape.

    That's the plan, anyway. But a few things are seriously wrong with it.

    The groups that chose May 1 for a day of boycotts and rallies for immigrants' rights were emboldened by a miracle of grass-roots mobilization that turned a shadow population into a national movement in less than a month. But many outspoken defenders of the immigrants' cause are drawing a distinction between peaceful rallies and punitive boycotts and work stoppages. They say, rightly, that immigrants should not try to inflict pain on this country just to prove how much they love it.

    Those who argue for aggressive confrontation point to the civil rights era, when another supposedly powerless minority found the power to upend an exploitive system that dangled the possibility of hope while mocking and thwarting it. But that is a superficial comparison. Segregation denied the legal rights and full humanity of American citizens. It was a brutal regime that had to be dismantled. By comparison, current and proposed immigration laws "” even the most punitive ones "” are at worst foolish, impractical and ungenerous. But they are not Jim Crow. To say otherwise is to trivialize evil.

    Today's immigrants and their allies have a different, but no less admirable, task than the 1960's protesters. They are calling on the nation to improve its laws, to draw on a rich tradition of tolerance in devising a fair, decent solution to a complex problem.

    Whether Monday's protests stumble or soar, participants should strive to avoid damaging their worthy cause. Boycotts and walkouts could cause many struggling workers to lose their jobs, send students the wrong message about the importance of education, give the Minutemen and talk-show morons a chance to strut and preen, and unnerve and embolden the lawmakers who are itching for a simple crackdown. This is perilous business: there are signs that fear has already given the boycott a perverse head start. Recent rumors of federal immigration crackdowns appear to have driven thousands of illegal immigrants further underground.

    There needs to be a lot of heavy lifting and delicate consensus building to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. Sleeping giants can, and should, get moving. But they should tread carefully.

  • #2
    On Monday, if many immigrant advocacy groups get their wish, America will awaken to a disturbing silence. Shops and offices will not open, factories will be idle, and classrooms and restaurants will empty out. The nation will rattle with the emptiness of millions of immigrants not working, not shopping and not going to school.

    The noise is supposed to come later, when many of those same immigrants hit the streets, protesting and chanting in a continental chorus of complaint. Their din will be joined by a moan rising from the rest of America, newly exposed as a fat, immobile queen lost without her worker bees. The shaken nation then will buckle and pass forgiving laws that loosen its borders and grant the 11 million to 12 million illegal workers their rightful place in the American landscape.

    That's the plan, anyway. But a few things are seriously wrong with it.

    The groups that chose May 1 for a day of boycotts and rallies for immigrants' rights were emboldened by a miracle of grass-roots mobilization that turned a shadow population into a national movement in less than a month. But many outspoken defenders of the immigrants' cause are drawing a distinction between peaceful rallies and punitive boycotts and work stoppages. They say, rightly, that immigrants should not try to inflict pain on this country just to prove how much they love it.

    Those who argue for aggressive confrontation point to the civil rights era, when another supposedly powerless minority found the power to upend an exploitive system that dangled the possibility of hope while mocking and thwarting it. But that is a superficial comparison. Segregation denied the legal rights and full humanity of American citizens. It was a brutal regime that had to be dismantled. By comparison, current and proposed immigration laws "” even the most punitive ones "” are at worst foolish, impractical and ungenerous. But they are not Jim Crow. To say otherwise is to trivialize evil.

    Today's immigrants and their allies have a different, but no less admirable, task than the 1960's protesters. They are calling on the nation to improve its laws, to draw on a rich tradition of tolerance in devising a fair, decent solution to a complex problem.

    Whether Monday's protests stumble or soar, participants should strive to avoid damaging their worthy cause. Boycotts and walkouts could cause many struggling workers to lose their jobs, send students the wrong message about the importance of education, give the Minutemen and talk-show morons a chance to strut and preen, and unnerve and embolden the lawmakers who are itching for a simple crackdown. This is perilous business: there are signs that fear has already given the boycott a perverse head start. Recent rumors of federal immigration crackdowns appear to have driven thousands of illegal immigrants further underground.

    There needs to be a lot of heavy lifting and delicate consensus building to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. Sleeping giants can, and should, get moving. But they should tread carefully.

    Comment


    • #3
      No matter what happens. These people have been looked down on, they have been discriminated and no one has the right to do that to another human being. It is their time to speak out, and stop anyone from trying to make them into criminals. They are here doing all the hard jobs and we still call them illegals. If only Americans had the drive they do, we would be unstoppable.

      Comment


      • #4
        NYC001: I think that you mean that illegal alien criminals will throw trantrums in the streets on Monday, while not going to jobs that they're not supposed to have in the first place.

        Given that hispanic students, as a group, have a poor academic record, it seems exceedingly reckless for the "leaders" in "their community" to encourage them to miss yet another day of American-taxpayer-funded school.

        The Americans with whom I've been talking are hoping that the illegal aliens realize that we want them to disappear for more than just one day.

        The arrogance of the illegal aliens is unbelievable. It's time that they wake up and understand that the only people in this country who are indispensible are AMERICANS.

        Comment


        • #5
          ScumDevilUSA,

          You use the words tandrum so often. Did you just learn its meaning? Know what you probably cut and paste it from some where else.

          Comment


          • #6
            SunDevilUSA...

            You are a functional illiterate and need to recognize that. Moreover, your assertion that Latinos are doing poorly is school is misguided and wrong information on your ignorant mind. You should do a little bit of research on this issue, many sources will offer you some enlightment.

            Your learning of one word a week has been exposed... What is the next word which we should be looking forward to? I bet we are looking forward to a "guacamoled "

            Comment


            • #7
              You are a functional illiterate and need to recognize that. .. doing poorly IS school is misguided..
              Another hypoctitical dirtbag supporter defecates on our board !!!

              Comment

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