Tuesday, June 4, 2013

American Immigration and Civil Rights

Over the past few months Americans and our pathetic government have been fighting, arguing and negotiating whether or not certain Americans and immigrants should be given any kind of immigration rights. At the same time the Supreme Court has been mulling over whether or not gay Americans should have the same rights as straight Americans, when it comes to marriage or the granting of federal benefits to people involved in a same sex relationship.

I began thinking back into American history when other groups had fought for their civil and human rights. I grew up during the period of time when the Civil Rights movement was in full swing. After hundreds of years of being treated as second class citizens and suffering blatant discrimination and violence against them, Blacks were finally recognized as deserving of civil and human rights. Congress ultimately did the right thing and passed the Civil Rights Bill. Lyndon Johnson pushed the bill through Congress, as Southerners, both Republicans and Democrats tried to kill every aspect of the bill, as they are doing now, in the fight against immigration reform and anything that would  grant gay people any kind of rights.

Many years ago women fought for the right to vote, as they were relegated to second class citizens. Finally they were given the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1920. It was a shame that the country actually had to vote on a basic civil right. It is more of a shame that some Southern Republicans are trying to pass amendments that would not grant a civil right, but deny a civil right, in the case of same sex marriages. In our past the American government has taken it upon itself to vote one way or the other to grant or deny civil and human rights.

One group of people that have always been left out is the only group of people who actually are the only ones who should have all of the basic civil and human rights because of the nature of their birth. These are the indigenous peoples of America, our Native Americans. Native Americans are the only people who should be dealing with immigration rights, not a bunch of old white Europeans who do not belong here in the first place.

White Europeans came to this country and forced their culture, their languages and their religion on the indigenous people. If they didn't accept this new way of life they were then slaughtered. The newcomers came to steal their land, pollute their rivers and streams, kill their game, poison their air and cut down their forests. The White Europeans then took  the Native Americans away from their homes where they had been living since the beginning of time, and put them on reservations, forcing Christianity down their throats. Women and children were raped and abused by missionaries, while the men were either enslaved or killed.

We were brought up on a culture of movies and television shows where Native Americans, known to us then as Indians, were demonized and killed off to the enjoyment of the white only audiences. The once thriving cultures and peoples of the many varied Native American tribes were decimated in one the worst acts of genocide in the Western hemisphere since the Europeans destroyed the native peoples of South and Central America. Yet the descendants of these uninvited European immigrants sit in judgement of others and decide who is allowed into this country and who is not and who deserves rights and who does not. They actually think they can be trusted to do the right thing using their own moral judgement.

Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota Nation summed up how our Congress can be trusted, when many years ago he said, "the white man promised us many things, more than I can recall. But he only kept one promise. He promised to take our land, and he took it". We should all stop a moment and think about this when we seek to be given our own civil rights.

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Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues