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Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez
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Indoctrinated Americans: The Worst Kind of Bigots

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On the Internet last Wednesday, the bigots were going berserk. A federal judge prevented the most Draconian sections of Arizona's anti-immigrant law from taking effect, and the sore losers were throwing childish tantrums. It was hilarious!

Justice had prevailed, but right-wing extremists took it as a slap in the face — and they were itching to strike back. They were pledging revenge in the November midterm elections, impeachment for President Barack Obama and appeals all the way to the Supreme Court.

When I write about undocumented immigrants, the bigots always ask me the same question: "What part of the word 'illegal' don't you understand?"

So Wednesday, in response to their bitter diatribes on a social networking site, I posed the same question with a little twist: "What part of the word 'unconstitutional' don't you understand?"

The question was directed at a childhood friend whom I have not seen for many years. Since becoming reacquainted on a networking website recently, I began to notice how often he used his page to bash undocumented immigrants and promote extremist right-wing propaganda.

But when he railed against the ruling in Arizona, I couldn't take it anymore. "It's really sad to see you on the side of America's bigots," I told him. "You are an immigrant, or did you conveniently forget?"

As teenagers growing up in Miami's Little Havana, we had many things in common. After all, our parents brought us here to save us from communist indoctrination in our native Cuba, to be free of the mind-controlling propaganda spewed by leftist extremists. Yet now my friend has become a propaganda machine — for the other extreme!

He argued that he came here legally, that he did not sneak or force himself in. And I had to remind him that as a Cuban like me, he had privileges that others did not have, that if he had not been given political asylum, his parents — justifiably — probably would have brought him here illegally just to get him out of communist Cuba.

But he kept spewing the xenophobic propaganda that is tearing this nation apart, generalizing against all immigrants for "drugs, kidnappings (and) killings" at the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet he should know that the overwhelming majority of undocumented immigrants are not drug-dealing criminals, but hardworking people seeking the same opportunities that were given to his family.

The message board conversation between two old friends was moving along quite well. I thought that in the end, we both could agree to disagree. But it soon became obvious that given his knack for xenophobic propaganda, my friend had built himself a network of haters. And on the day justice prevailed in Arizona, other sore losers had to jump in.

There was the woman who claimed that I must not care about her "Greek friend" who has been waiting seven years to come here legally, when in fact I have a nephew who has been waiting even longer in Colombia and it hasn't turned me into a xenophobic bigot or made me lose compassion for undocumented families already living here.

There was the Mexican-American woman who went on and on about all her relatives who were lucky enough to come here legally, but she showed no compassion for her compatriots who were not so lucky.

"Now that I know your history," I told her, "all I can say is you ought to be ashamed of hating your own people. Self-hatred is like racism — very ugly!"

And there was a white woman who claimed not to be racist but went on to prove otherwise. "Illegals are coming here and stealing from us in the form of welfare, health care and other freebies that they get from hardworking taxpaying Americans," she said, noting that these immigrants should try to "effect change in their own damn countries." I had to remind her that I'm a hardworking taxpaying American, too, and that there are many others like me who feel as I do. She claimed she was very knowledgeable of the U.S. Constitution and then erroneously claimed that "the only people granted rights under our Constitution are American citizens."

This particular paranoid conspiracy theorist claimed that because the judge in the Arizona case was appointed by a Democrat (former President Bill Clinton), "I wouldn't be surprised if (White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel strong-armed her into making such a bad decision."

When I explained that she was terribly misinformed, that Emanuel is the worst enemy immigrants have in the White House, that he is known for calling immigration "a political third rail" that is not to be touched, that this is a "liberal" who is actually on her side, she seemed to be offended. After all, she also claimed to be some kind of expert on all the Marxists who — in her warped mind — have taken over the White House.

I told her that I lived under and fled from a Marxist regime, that I hate communists with every fiber of my being, that I'm no fan of President Obama's and that when she claims the White House is ruled by Marxists, she demonstrates she has no clue about what real Marxism is all about. I also said extremists like her are a dangerous threat to our democracy.

Frankly, I can understand second- and third-generation Americans who forget that their ancestors were once immigrants or that many arrived at Ellis Island without prior permission to enter the country or that those immigrants also had to deal with xenophobes when they arrived. Their repulsive lack of compassion can be blamed on ignorance.

What I don't understand are immigrants who come here and then want to shut the golden door for everyone else. Those hypocrites who believe they are superior to others because they managed to acquire legal status and who align themselves with white supremacists to denigrate their own people — they are the worst kind of bigots!

My friend left Cuba because his parents wanted to save him from leftist indoctrination, and he grew up to become a right-wing indoctrinated American. Because my dialogue with him and his extremist friends presented both sides of this controversial matter, he immediately removed our discussion from his propaganda Web page. So much for freedom of expression! He has become a fascist, but he would have made a great communist had he stayed behind!

To find out more about Miguel Perez and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

4 Comments | Post Comment
When immigrants become United States Citizens they swear allegience to the The United States. "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God." When you renounce your allegience to Cuba, Mexico and all other nations, then you will be an American. Until then, you will be a hypenated bigot.
Comment: #1
Posted by: David Henricks
Wed Aug 4, 2010 3:58 AM
From one journalist to another, I understand you. I am 25 years old, but I can carefully and honestly say that I feel your words and sentiments. I now live in Dallas, TX, but I was born and raised in Miami with the exile community. Many people, including friends from college, church and even my own family, have expressed the same views that your "bigots" have said. I completeley agree that there is a campaign of disinformation and hatred, even from the left and right, about this issue, but I think it is because we are not sharing the message clearly about the truth of the matter. It is simple, but others in power want to make it complicated.
Anyway, I do want to share this. Although I completely accept immigrants, undocumented or documented, legal or not in my community, the bottom line is that they arrived here illegally and that is a crime.
Even Cubans have arrived here illegally whenever they have broken the law against wet foot dry foot and crossing through Mexico through coyotes. Whenever they are caught, or arrive in the US, they claim political asylum, different from the cases of other nations that are not communist in Latin AMerica. At leats not yet. Or at least not yet again (Nicaragua; Venezuela). The bottom line is that arriving to this country illegally is a crime.
Do I understand their plight of other immigrants, both legal and illegal? Yes I do.
Are immigrants of all types hungry and wanting jobs because their countries lack them? Most of them, yes.
Do I agree with them breaking the law? No I don't.
Should there be a solution to help solve the illegal immigration problem? Absolutely.
So instead of hating on others, even those of our own Latin American people, I think there should be more solutions and less problems.

The more we fight each other the more problems we cause. Although fascists and marxists are free to say what they wish in the US, they are wrong to label others and not see them as human beings, the way we journalists see people every day.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Alain
Wed Aug 4, 2010 10:34 AM
Miguel - I spend a lot of time reading the news, following this debate over immigration, looking at the Left, looking at the Right, trying to synthesize what I'm seeing and hearing. And at the end of the day, what I'm seeing and what you're writing so often just don't come together.
There are a good many people in the US who see the US as dominantly law-abiding. Our neighborhoods are largely pieceful, we observer traffic laws generally, we have regulations and ordinances we follow - we are a lawful people. You chastise Americans for it. You came here legally from Cuba and now you're a law-abiding, tax-paying US citizen - a truth you somehow twist around as a reason to condemn others for appropriately wanting other countries (like Mexico) to take a stand for their own people beyond simply encouraging their poor and uneducated to leave, and for wanting foreigners to come here through legal channels. You chastise your friend for having come here and assuming the attitude that US law should mean something, as if his being an immigrant means he should toss all lthat away and support flaunting of US immigration law. You're not setting a good example, Miguel.
You talk about xenophobia, you (like everyone on the Left on this issue) conflate legal with illegal behavior, you claim a US flooded with bigotry and hatred for immigrants - in short you paint a picture of America with extreme propaganda of your own. Why would anyone, listening to or reading your columns, want to come to America, given how horrible, how racist, how bigoted, how hateful, America is? If what you say were so much as halfway true, I'd have killed myself long ago.
Stop the America bashing, and as a proud Latino, use your voice to demand that the Mexicos of the world start stepping up on behalf of their own people, those hard-working, family-valued folks so unappreciated there. As it is, your rhetoric makes you complicit in Mexico's and other central American countries' poor efforts.
Comment: #3
Posted by: JosephS
Thu Aug 5, 2010 6:58 PM
So an immigrant who comes here legally and understands that not everyone can come to America...and even if you can, it might not be as fast as you'd like...is a traitor and a bigot because they have respect for reality and the rule of law??? Oh yeah, Miguel, you and your kind - idiots, I mean - are going down and going down hard.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Rex
Sat Aug 7, 2010 9:32 AM
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