Archive for August, 2005

Learning To Be Free

August 18, 2005

As some of you might beware, Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo is seemingly on a crusade, if you will, against illegal immigration. In fact, one could say, that he has made it his “wedge” issue. A little more than a month ago, on a Florida talk show, as a guest, he advocated “hypothetically,” that American could or should use “the ultimate weapons” on Islamic religious sites. Essentially he was advocating the use of nuclear weapons. Let me say this, before the crazies come out of the woodwork, and remind me that he never used the words “nuclear” in his interview. This would be correct. However! Unless there is another “ultimate weapon” he was referring to, one can make the assumption he meant nuclear weapons.

At any rate, Colorado has been dealing with the rather outspoken representative for quite some time. But his contribution regarding the “illegal immigration” has spilled itself full force into Colorado politics. This is especially true since the unwarranted killing of an off duty Denver police officer — Donald Young. The assailant was an “undocumented worker” who was attending a wedding reception of a family member. He left the party and later tried to return, but was denied entry by the off duty officers hired to maintain order. According to reports by the Denver media, he then returned to his vehicle to obtain his gun, and went back to shoot the officers at the door from behind. Donald Young died. His partner was severely injured.

This lead to a national manhunt; authorities eventuated that the assassin was Raul Gomez-Garcia, a undocumented worker, who interestingly enough worked at one of the Denver Colorado mayor’s eateries as a dishwasher-busboy, but also had been stopped by Denver Police on a couple occasion for traffic violations. He was ticketed—but his status as a citizen was never questioned. Why? Denver, Colorado is a sanctuary city. Meaning, that even if the officer suspects the person as undocumented worker (illegal alien). The officers cannot inquirer, detain, or inform immigration of their suspicion. They have to accept the “identification” given, which could be a valid identification (which is often not), the workers consulate card, or some other nefarious identification. Needles to say, what often happens, however, is the undocumented worker does not show for their court date and the system is left with a “mystery.”

In any case, Raul Gomez-Garcia had been stopped on more than one occasion for traffic violations, along with failure to appear in courts. This information along with his “undocumented” status brought the public shrill for his capture to a fervor pitch. Local talk radio shows clamored for justice and set into motion an angst-ridden, embittered, and frightened public. Not because the assailant was terrorizing the public-at-large, the emotion stemmed from the perception that the police were inept due to city government policy.

This perception and the “media” savvy talk shows drove home the point the “unfairness,” and unbalanced “privilege” that “undocumented workers” were receiving. This in turn began, to what I refer to as “undocumented insurgent invasion,” the enemy near our American home. “America’s borders are leaking like a sieve,” the talking head shows exclaimed. The drum beating for Raul Garcia-Gomez’s head became a local media “wet dream.” The hunt for him led to Los Angeles, and eventually Mexico. Of course, this revelation sent the public into a feeding frenzy. He had escaped across the border and now seemingly untouchable. This later would prove untrue, but now the long tenuous negotiations with Mexico are still in the mix.
The uncertainty of his return, even though he sits in Mexico jail, has erupted an underpinning of resentment against illegal aliens, undocumented workers, or whatever politically correct term that communicates their unlawful status, has created a witch hunt environment. The latest of the emotional gymnastics with the undocumented insurgents involves the Denver Public Library.

One of the voices and churner of the public outrage is a Denver Colorado talk show host, from 630 KHOW, Peter Boyles, and his producer Greg Hollenbeck. Their attentions were brought to set of “comic books,” a term of which loosely describes the content of these books, and children ability to have access to them. They are adult-oriented material at-its-best, but that would be too kind of a description as well. Some would define them as perverted, evil, or just plain sick. These “comics” are called Policia Novella.

Peter Boyles adamantly and angrily espoused for their removal. His argument was sound and just. His outrage was righteous. But! His vitriol for the undocumented workers seemed embittered, envious, and pious. Denver Public Library was not helping with what “seemed” to be a “secretive” agenda to convert a major portion of the library system for its Latino base. The backlash of the undocumented workers controversy gave the impression that Hispanics were receiving “favorable” treatment. Nonetheless, these comics were received as being “filth,” dehumanizing towards, as well as advocating, violence against women.

Peter Boyles was incensed that such material as the Policia Novella was not only accessible to children, but the fact that it was apparently even published. His emotion was at full boil (pardon the pun). This kind of emotion can be blinding and the greater vision of community and culture can be lost. However repugnant the material may be, there is right of “free speech” for both foreign and domestic. One may not like it, but better for it to be in the open, than hidden in the dark.
Furthermore, although I find the material found on the shelves as vile that still, does not give me or anyone else the right to censor. No one is going to deny that violence, rape, and murder against women is wrong. No one! No one is going to say that such exposure should be in the hands of children. No one! However, when we restrict, censor, deny, and forbid, the only thing we accomplish is the desire to seek it out that much more.

What we should do, when this type of material is brought to our attention is to not only rail against its offensiveness, but also use it to illustrate, ridicule, and castigate the attitude, the mindset which finds such things acceptable. Such vileness should not be cloaked in the darkness of backrooms, mushrooming, subverting, rotting away the principled ideals, and values that we as Americans hold dear.

Censorship should never be advocated even when it is on the public's dole. Such things should be under the harsh light of reality and continually put on display so that we all know what is acceptable and unacceptable by the civilized citizenry of the community. Advocating of its removable is short-sighted and emotional impotency. Be offended yes! Point to its dehumanization of women; use it to foster the betterment of humanity.

But to deny its accessibility to the public, even if it’s in a public library, dooms us to repeat the failures of the past. For instance, if we restricted the access of the Holocaust pictures, where millions of our Jewish brothers were incinerated, humiliated, and violated, because someone found them overtly offensive would be tantamount to blasphemy. Why? Because, this type of inhumanity is part of our history, part of our humanity, part of us, it illustrates, the Holocaust, the worse of us. So do these books, the Novella Policia. They remind us of our darkness, but they also show us what not to be as long as we prominently remind ourselves as a people, as human beings filled with compassion, and as a nation of principles that we never accept tyranny in any form even when it is on our shelves of our library. The best defense against tyranny is to expose it to the light of justice and call it out loud and clear that never again will such terror fill our hearts and minds.