Just Little Bits of History Repeating
Two of HWWNBN’s* surrogates have spoken to the media about ways to implement his “extreme vetting” of some Muslim immigrants.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach first said there could be a reinstatement of a national registry of immigrants and visitors. He helped design the original program, known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), while serving in George W. Bush’s Department of Justice after September 11.
NSEERS was abandoned in 2011 after much criticism by civil rights groups for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim majority nations but only after the Department of Homeland Security declared it redundant.
Then, Carl Higbie, a spokesman for the Great America PAC, appeared on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” said about precedents: “We’ve done it based on race, we’ve done it based on religion, we’ve done it based on region. We’ve done it with Iran back — back a while ago. We did it during World War II with [the] Japanese.”
Seriously? A solution for anything is to bring back internment camps?
A registry is wrong. Singling out people of one religion for special scrutiny is unconstitutional and violates the 1st Amendment protections for religious liberty.
Additionally, the idea of collective guilt based on religious affiliation goes against basic legal principles. Guilt is personal and based on behavior. Surveillance and other kinds of investigations must be triggered by conduct, not religious, racial, or ethnic classifications.
Furthermore, setting apart any single group, whether it be for a crescent they must sew onto their clothes or registration in digital databases, provides a basis for the brutalization of that group.
Think I’m over exaggerating? There have been many acts of bullying and harassment across the nation since the election (149 at last count). Our leadership should be acting to reduce hate crimes, not stoking the fires that could burn us all.
Combating racism and bigotry will take action from us all. We must protest against such plans — either in the streets, working with allies like The Council on American-Islamic Relations or by contacting our elected representatives (here is a phone script with several advocacy issues).
We must intervene when we witness harassment or intimidation. Here are a couple of things you can do if you witness such attacks:
Be prepared to keep calm
In advance, think about a situation in which a person is threatened, harassed or attacked. Imagine how you would feel and what you could do to help. Think of things you can say to support the victim. Then, when you witness such a thing, concentrate on what you imagined. Don’t let fear or anger distract you.
Direct, Distract, Delegate
React quickly and don’t wait until other people help. The longer you hesitate, the more difficult it becomes. You can directly intervene (say “Hey, that’s not cool. Please stop”), distract either party by beginning a new conversation (“Want to see pictures of the world’s cutest dog?”) and/or delegate to involve other bystanders (“You there in the blue jacket, please get the manager.”).
The Southern Poverty Law Center has a useful guide on Speaking-Up to Everyday Bigotry: https://www.splcenter.org/20150126/speak-responding-everyday-bigotry
Because if we stay silent, there is one thing I know for sure: we will be next.
*HWWNBN means He Who Will Not Be Named. It worked for those fighting Voldemort and it works here!
First published on my blog — https://marygriggs.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/just-little-bits-of-history-repeating/