Thursday, April 25, 2013

America: lousiest host ever

Okay, here's the deal. How it should be.

If you're in the United States for reasons beyond your control-- that is, you didn't decide to come here on your own, pay for it on your own, and physically get yourself here on your own-- you're entitled to the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Additionally, if you're in custody of the U.S. in some way or another, the same goes. If it's a bunch of Americans who are patrolling outside the cell where you're spending day after day, year after year, even decade after decade, you deserve the kind of rights that every native-born American, living out his or her entire life on American soil, enjoys or should enjoy (and can sue if he/she doesn't receive). Like, you know, the right to due process.

All right? Because that's how a civilized country behaves.

A civilized country does not act as if people from other places are inhuman because they weren't lucky enough to burst into existence in a hospital room on American soil or haven't yet gotten the chance to complete the lengthy, tortuous, and utterly capricious experience of becoming a naturalized citizen.

A civilized country does not capture people and lock them up for years without charge or trial, regardless of where it found them or under what circumstances. It finds the time to actually figure out what they supposedly did to merit being locked away from anyone they know or even anyone who speaks their language, officially tells them what it is, and determines whether they're guilty of it. Then releases or punishes them accordingly.

A civilized country remembers that the tired and huddled masses yearning to breathe free are going to want to breathe its free air so long as such a thing exists. It does not respond by vacuuming all of it out and providing oxygen tanks to a selected few favored people, so that the undesirables can properly suffocate. It does not whine "They hate us for our freedoms" and proceed to eliminate those freedoms so that there's nothing left to hate.

And a civilized country would never be so cruel, so inhuman, so devoid of any shred of empathy, that it would fight to deny the ability of people who were brought here without any intention of their own, as children, to remain in that country instead of sending them packing to go live in a location and culture that's alien to anything they've ever known.

You got that, Kris Kobach?

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