THE ROBERT W. WHITAKER ARCHIVE

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FREEDOM REQUIRES DISCRIMINATION | 2004-01-31

Right after the September 11 attack, they began strip searching grandmothers at airports. The reason for that was that the Feds didn't want to discriminate.

The Secretary of Transportation was a Japanese-American, and Japanese-Americans had been mistreated during World War II. So he didn't want Arabs discriminated against. He didn't want profiling because of a sixty-year-old grudge. He insisted that everybody be treated like a potential terrorist.

Lawyers love to say that a repeat criminal who lives outside the law has just as many rights as you and me. What they don't mention is that that means that you and me get treated just like repeat criminals.

If everybody is treated like a terrorist, there is no freedom. If everybody is treated like a career criminal, freedom is a myth. But I have never heard anybody mention that fact.

If illegal aliens are just "undocumented workers," that means that you and I are here only at the pleasure of those who issue those "documents."

If illegal aliens have all the rights of a citizen, that means that you and I are without a country. They have Mexico, we are in the United States only because we are "documented."

Allowing the Secretary of Transportation to oppress all of us because he has a sixty-year-old grudge is insane. Treating everybody like a repeat criminal is insane. Saying that you and I only have a right to reside in the United States because those who issue documents let us stay here is insane.

And insanity as national policy has consequences.