Paul R. Lehman, Arizona Rep. Stringer’s comments on (im) migration show a lack of understanding of democracy

June 21, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American history, American Indian, American Racism, Bigotry in America, black inferiority, blacks, desegregation, discrimination, education, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, European Americans, immigration, Pilgrims, Prejudice, Puritans, race, respect, skin color, social conditioning, The Associated Press, tolerance, white supremacy, whites | 2 Comments
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When the Puritans came to America in 1630, they came with the idea that God had given this land to them based on the Mayflower Compact that John Winthrop drew-up while on board the Arbela during a storm. The Compact was not preplanned but was deemed a necessary safeguard against death and destruction. Winthrop stated that “Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.” So, the possibility of being shipwrecked prompted the compact which stated these requirements: “For we must consider that we shall be a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.”(John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity”)

The “we” of which Winthrop spoke was not a diverse ethnic group, but Anglo-Saxons who believed that God gave America to them. The idea of America being the country of Anglo-Saxons and later European Americans (whites) continued throughout America’s history. The discriminatory treatment of the African Americans has been a never-ending story. Some Americans came to the belief that the European American was the God-ordained superior human being on the planet and would eventually rule the world. The idea of the superiority was based on the belief of a race by skin color with the Anglo-Saxon (white) being the highest order of mankind. All the laws and practices supported that concept of Anglo-Saxon or Nordic supremacy. The challenge for the Anglo-Saxons in America was knowing how to control the population so as to keep the race as pure as possible.

In the late 1800 and early 1900’s, a fear among many Nordic (white) Americans were the expansion of power by people of color over them. One concerned European American, Lothrop Stoddard, stated in 1920 the fear that wars between white countries would provide an opportunity for people of color to take over power in those countries. He added: “However, such colored triumphs of arms are less to be dreaded than more enduring conquest like migrations which would swamp whole populations and turn countries now white into colored man’s lands irretrievably lost to the white world.”He saw migration as the destruction of whites.

Echoing the same fear of migration of people of color as the enemy of the Nordic people, Madison Grant stated that “Democratic ideals among an homogenous population of Nordic blood, as in England or America, is one thing, but it is quite another for the white man to share his blood with, or intrust his ideals to, brown, yellow, black, or red men.” In effect, measures must be taken to control the population of immigrants in order to protect the Anglo-Saxon or Nordic racial superiority. Grant was a lawyer, writer and more importantly, a eugenicist. He was responsible for one of the most important works of scientific racism and along with Stoddard played a significant part in promoting anti-immigration and anti-miscegenation legislation in America.

The results of Stoddard and Grant’s efforts were the Immigration Act of 1924 or Johnson-Reed Act. This was a federal law that effectively excluded Asians from immigrating to America. In addition, it established quotas on the number of immigrants coming from specific countries and included money to make certain the ban on non-white immigrants was firmly in place. Because of the fear of race contamination, the law focused on “decreasing immigration of Southern Europeans, countries with Roman Catholic majorities, Eastern Europeans, Arabs, and Jews. The law affirmed the longstanding ban on the immigration of other non-white persons, with the exception of black African immigrants.”The immigrants from these countries except for Africa, were later to be called Caucasians, not white.

The point for providing this historical background on a small portion of America’s immigration actions involves a news report in The Associated Press (2/1/2018) regarding Rep. David Stringer, a Republican from Prescott, Arizona.  Stringer was reported to have made a number of statements that mirror the attitude on immigration discussed earlier. Following are a few of his comments: “Sixty percent of public school children in the state of Arizona today are minorities. That complicates racial integration because there aren’t enough white kids to go around.” He also stated that “immigration is politically destabilizing” and “immigration today represents an existential threat to the United States.”

He issued a note of warning when he said that “If we don’t do something about immigration very, very soon, the demographics of our country will be irrevocably changed and we will be a very different country and we will not be the country you were born into.”

In summing up his fears  Stringer stated that “I maybe touched a third rail of politics but what I said is accurate. Anybody that talks about this in this way is shut down and called a racist. I’m speaking the truth.” He added: “Diversity may be a great thing, there might be a lot of advantages, I’m not arguing against diversity at all, but no country can be demographically transformed without any political or social consequences.” His statement is definitely true, and what is also true is that America is changing demographically.

Many Americans love to say that we have come a long way in accepting our diversity and addressing our socially constructed biases, but after reading Stringer’s comments we must confess that some of us still have not taken that first step towards accepting democracy and  America as a country indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

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Paul R. Lehman, Editorial writer’s attack on President Obama unsupported

January 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, American Racism, blacks, Congress, Disrespect, Ethnicity in America, European American, integregation, minority, Prejudice, President Obama, Respect for President, socioeconomics, The U.S. Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court, whites | 1 Comment
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The old saying that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” certainly applies to the article “Chipping away at republic” published as an editorial in the Washington Times (1/22/13). The first paragraph insinuates that President Obama does not represent the best interest of America and that “those who still honor the Founders’ vision of America must hold fast to their conviction that our republic will someday stand once again as a “shining city on a hill.” The image does not fit with the reality.
The reference to a “city on a hill” came from a sermon preached on board the ship Arbella to British subjects fleeing religious persecution from the Church of England. The sermon was given by John Winthrop in 1630 to his Puritan followers. The reference to a “city on a hill” was meant to underscore the agreement or covenant Winthrop created between God and his fellow Puritans in reference to what kind of society they would create. The type of government the Puritans had in mind was not a republic or democracy, but a theocracy in which God governed through his preachers; not from elected representatives. So, the reference to a “city on a hill” does not apply to the “vision of America” the founders had in 1776.
The editorial stated that “Though the theme of Inauguration Day 2013 was ‘faith in America’s future,’ the United States has seldom chosen a president more determined to separate the nation from its traditional reverence for faith, family and freedom.” This statement accuses the American people for making a poor choice of Obama as President. The statement also implies that President Obama has neither understanding of nor reverence for the values faith, family and freedom, but makes no attempt to underscore the statement with evidence.
Continuing the comments the editorial noted that “The proposition that individuals ‘are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable right,’ enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, is harder to see in the visions of Mr. Obama’s America where administrative agencies make choices for individuals, even down to the details of dictating the design of everyday household appliances.” Evidently, the editorial writer has a confused vision of what life in a society entails, because where large numbers of people reside in a somewhat confined area, a system of laws for order and organization must be imposed in order for the majority to enjoy as many of the freedoms as possible without infringing the right of the minority. In a republic, elected representatives usually create those laws.
The editorial writer makes the claim that President Obama preventing and obstructing America’s progress by employing a “relentless assault on the U.S. Constitution, the mooring securing the ship of state since its inception.” Again, general charges are made that confound this reader because no evidence or examples are presented to underscore the charges. The writer seems to have a serious dislike of President Obama that is being disguised by these charges. One wonders what parts of the Constitution are being relentlessly assaulted by the President and why are we not protesting them?
We are told that “As a former lecturer on constitutional law, Mr. Obama is well aware that relentlessly chipping away at the founding document’s meaning will tear away the country from a past that once recognized the value of individualism…” What this statement underscores is a lack of knowledge of how government works. President Obama cannot create laws and the means to enforce them; Congress must do both of those acts. As for as the changing or determining the meaning of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has that responsibility, not President Obama. So, what is the foundation of the charges against President Obama regarding the assault on the Constitution?
In reference to “individualism” when the Constitution was written, the only recognized individuals were upper-classed European American males—no minorities or women. If the editorial writer has longings for the past, then specificity must be forth-coming or confusion will dominate the picture created. For example, in the last paragraph of the editorial it stated that “The weakening of faith, family and freedom under Mr. Obama must only strengthen Americans’ resolve to keep their dreams alive until time removes his heavy hand and liberty flourishes once again.”
Both reason and logic took a holiday from this editorial writer as indicated when we examined the comments and charges made against President Obama. For one argument against the editorial, President Obama represents one third of the governing process of America; he is not a king or dictator nor can be under our system of government. He is not at liberty to undo things in the Constitution. The picture painted of our society and the president is one of gloom and doom with no evidence to support either. The editorial writer evidently does not like President Obama for some reason, and that is perfectly fine in our society; that is one of the freedoms we enjoy as citizens. What are not reasonable are the unsupported attacks on President Obama as a means of creating fear and foreboding for the destruction he is supposedly causing in society.
The editorial seems to express a desire to go back to the “good old days” when segregation and discrimination against ethnic minorities and women was in full swing, and the upper-classed European American male ruled the day. Unfortunately, for the editorial writer, those days are gone forever, and the realization of knowing that those days are gone is what has created the pain of loss observable from the comments. The editorial writer has a choice in this matter; the perspective can be positive and forward looking, or can be negative and eat upon itself. Regardless of the choice made, society will continue to change and one will either be a participant or a spectator. One drop of advice to the editorial writer is before making a decision to accuse and attack your president, acquire more information about your country, about its history and form of government. That way when charges and claims are made, they will come from an informed source

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