Friday, July 16, 2010

McCarthy Tactics in Our Modern Times

I thought it was bad enough that some hyper-conservative Utah lawmakers, who crave negative attention like toddlers, started screaming, "We can be fascist, too!  We'll do the same thing!" as soon as Arizona stole the spotlight from them by creating their immigrant round-up law.  Why would anyone want to copy a move that immediately created so many legal, financial and ethical problems?  Are they so afraid of people who are completely powerless in comparison to themselves that they can't rationally look at the bad consequences  presently unfolding in Arizona?  Even if you do believe, as they apparently do, that poor, brown-skinned, Spanish-speakers who build or clean houses are the root of all societal problems, it seems that it would still be obvious that copying tactics that are causing so many new problems in the state next-door is not the solution.

But this week, the anti-immigrant people stepped it up and copied a tactic that has been universally vilified since the 1950's:  McCarthy-style blacklisting.  While this person or group of people had no problem sharing the names and personal information of 1,300 of their neighbors, he/she/they wimped out when it came time to sign his/her/their own name(s), and instead signed the letter, "Concerned Citizens of the United States."  So for blogging purposes, I'll just call him/her/them, "Paranoid, Unethical List-maker(s) whose Citizenship Status Cannot be Verified because the Coward(s) Failed to Identify Him/Her/Themselves" or "Cowards" for short.

The Cowards, who are probably state employees like myself, pulled the names from a state database of applicants for various social services such as Medicaid and CHIP and claimed that they were illegal immigrants.  They sent the list to political leaders, news organizations and probably their equally bigoted friends and demanded that the people listed be run out of the state. News organizations have interviewed people on the list and some do admit to being here without visas but others are legal residents targeted because of their Spanish surnames.

To his credit, the misleading headlines such as "Utah Governor Herbert Investigates List" actually refer to the fact that the governor is investigating who created the list, not the victims whose names are on it. Kudos to the governor for doing the right thing (not that I recommend doing anything drastic like voting for Herbert in the upcoming election).

In the meantime, I will send my message to the Cowards through cyberspace, since they failed to leave their own mailing address (unlike the addresses of all the other people on their list, which were clearly printed).  Cowards, I am one of your colleagues in state employment. (Also, I should mention that I am a white person with an English surname born in the United States, since I know that sort of thing is important to you Cowards).  My job is to gather data about Utah minority health so that it can be used to address health problems, bring grant funding to Utah, and save healthcare dollars. How am I supposed to get accurate data when people are too scared to share information with the state government because we employ criminals like yourselves?  I hope you Cowards get caught, fired, and prosecuted.  But fortunately for you, Cowards, I am too big a person to wish for you to be blacklisted.

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