It’s a great experiment

I am a constant critic of conservative/right-wing politicians and their followers–and their policies. It is because I see the greatness of America. Yes, we have done much ill. Yes, conservative administrations under corporate influence have engendered several wars designed to acquire resources or to maintain the military-industrial complex. Yes we have Faux News feeding it’s 25-30% viewing audience with the craziness of Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin and the other corporate shills.

But behind all of that thunder and lightning lies the Great Experiment: Can 300,000,000 people of an unknown number of different ethnicities and cultural histories; can we “all get along?” Can we learn to govern ourselves together for mutual benefit, before we destroy each other–and maybe the planet as well. The greatness of America lies in our willingness to undertake this experiment; in our founder’s willingness to put it in the original documents and to initiate it.

The jury is still out. Perhaps in another 50-100 years there will be some answers; or we will have disintegrated. I feel hope when I watch the youth and young adults of all these backgrounds work together. If we older folk still have a long way to go, they seem to more easily move beyond most of the divisions–I didn’t say they were perfect, I still see a great deal of maltreatment over sexual orientation. But much, even most, of that is from the infection of the older, more traditional elders and especially among the less educated. We have a black president and the alternative to him was a woman. Sure there are racist comments about him and hatred, but we have made great strides.

Some of my friends point to the more enlightened nations of Scandinavia, Germany, Spain. There are great undertakings in many other countries, but without exception, the countries that seem to have solved the problems of inclusion are those with a single ethnicity or racial background. Those nations which are multi-ethnic, like Brazil, struggle to become more inclusive, but themselves recognize how far they must go.

Then I read articles like this one below and it confirms for me both how far we must go, in our country and in others, and how great is the Great Experiment. And how strongly we must resist the anti-immigrant rantings.

Swiss voters back deportation plan

Last Modified: 28 Nov 2010 23:12 GMT
Riot police were called out in Zurich as people protested against the passing of the initiative

Switzerland has endorsed a far-right push to automatically expel foreign residents convicted of certain crimes, to the dismay of critics who described it as a “dark day for human rights”.

The approval of the initiative in a referendum was an expression of insecurity, Simonetta Sommaruga, the country’s justice minister said, stressing the government would examine how to implement the new rule without violating its international obligations.

In the vote, 52.9 per cent were in favour of automatic expulsions and 47.1 per cent were against, with the country’s German-speaking majority largely backing the proposal.

Only six of the country’s 26 cantons rejected the initiative.

The vote came exactly a year after Switzerland shocked the world by agreeing to ban the construction of new minarets, which was another proposal backed by the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP).

The decision on Sunday “is a first step on the way towards greater security,” said the SVP in a statement.

As with their campaign against minarets, the far-right party launched an aggressive push for the expulsion of foreign criminals, saying those guilty of certain crimes should be stripped of their right to remain in the country.

Anti-immigration mood

Its signature poster illustrates a white sheep kicking a black sheep out of the Swiss flag.

Another poster depicts a gangster-like man with the slogan “Ivan S, rapist, and soon a Swiss?”.

Sommaruga noted that the “majority of the voters have sent a clear signal that they consider foreign criminality to be a serious problem.”

It is “an expression of insecurity. I take this very seriously,” she told journalists.

A working group will be set up to examine how the new rule could be implemented in a way that complies with the Swiss constitution and international conventions, she said.

“It is in the interest of all – Swiss, foreigners and the Swiss economy – that we have more clarity on this soon,” she said.

According to the Federal Office of Migration, about 350 to 400 people are expelled every year but this figure would rise to 1,500 with the adoption of the new initiative.

Critics object that it smacks of discrimination and runs in the same xenophobic vein as the banning of minarets.

Amnesty International said the approval of the plan marked a “dark day for human rights in Switzerland”.


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