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Anti-Independence day

A sad commentary on America's Independence Day: a majority of Americans support arresting anyone who can't prove they are a citizen. I fear for my country.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

July 4 is the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Declaration set the 13 colonies on the road to revolution and, after the failure of the Articles of Confederation, to the ratification of the Constitution.

The Declaration includes one of the most famous sentences in politics:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Sadly, Americans have proven all too willing to sacrifice the ideals of the Declaration. Slaves, women, blacks, Americans of Japanese descent and now Arizona Latinos have all heard the hollow ring of the unkept promise.

And now the rest of us may join them.

Arizona: the Show Me Your Papers state A recent Pew Research Center poll shows broad support for police state tactics.

Arizona's police chiefs opposed the law. But the Republican legislature not only ignored the police, but included a provision allowing any citizen to sue the police for not enforcing the law.

"Officer, you ignored someone who might be illegal. See you in court." Great.

Police know that if Arizona's large Latino population doesn't feel safe calling them criminals will have free run. Arizona (like California, Utah, Nevada and part of New Mexico) was part of Mexico until 1848 - and the Gadsden Purchase until 1854 - and many Spanish-speaking Arizonans have more history here than 90% of the Americans who, like me, moved here from other states.

The Storage Bits take This is personal for me: my wife is an immigrant. To think that she might get jailed if she loses her purse is repugnant.

And I have friends like Joyce, born in New York, whose American father raised her in Chile. Her accented English and dark tan might get her arrested. Or Joe, an American whose Hispanic surname belies his inability to speak Spanish.

Ironically, with the Great Recession, the number of illegal immigrants has dropped. But it is easier to focus popular anger on the poor and weak, rather than the true villains: the Treasury-pillaging Masters of the Universe on Wall Street and their "free-market" allies.

A large social security database - granted, not an intended function of SSNs - and employment verification laws with teeth could end the jobs that bring immigrants - but that would upset the campaign contributors who rely on their cheap labor to support their profits.

But what am I thinking? Better to sacrifice American liberty and institute a police state than interfere with the financial spigot that powers American politics. On this July 4th, a majority of Americans agree.

I fear for my country.

Comments welcome, of course.

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