Yesterday, a group of students were arrested in Arizona as they protested the bill that would make them vulnerable to future harassment in their home state, in their home country.
The arrests led to even more unrest as supporters of the incarcerated youth turned up at the jail and demanded their release. Today passions remain strong as young Latino activists commit to continue to hit the streets demanding national leadership on the immigration issue and a veto of the Arizona State Bill 1070.
The passion however has yet to be matched in the US Senate or in other halls of power. Senator Reid has said that Comprehensive Immigration Reform is not on the agenda yet for this year in a frustrating blow to the newest generation of voters that correctly see this as a defining moral issue. While John McCain flips and flops on immigration, the issue he is most associated with, national Democrats are currently providing no real contrast. The silence of national Democratic leadership on the Arizona police state bill is a huge mistake since in great moral debates silence is often equated with approval of the status quo. This thankfully means nothing to the activists who are clearly aware that they are currently without much support beyond their convictions and yet remain undaunted.
While Arizona Governor Brewer contemplates her role in history the youth that were arrested yesterday have adamantly chosen their course. Clearly the foresight of these activists is 20-20 as they find the tools of resistance forged in the world wide struggles against oppression and fine tuned in Americas own civil rights battles. The question only becomes who will join them?
During the civil rights struggle Southern Sheriffs imposed state oppression with attack dogs and fire hoses creating a television spectacle that woke a nation's conscience. Arizona Bill 1070 has the destructive, divisive, and demeaning power of hundreds of fire hoses and thousands of attack dogs. While the tools of the police state are firmly in place the audience of conscience is yet to appear. The youth who found themselves so courted via text and web sites during the 2008 election now find themselves alone in jails.
The incredible part about this dilemma is that these Millennials are not fighting against Arizona they are fighting for America. They understand that any police state left to its own devices grows and is never satisfied with only one group to arrest. The protesters understand that America belongs on the side of freedom and they demonstrate through their actions that they believe it must always remain so. Those arrested in Arizona and those about to be arrested in Arizona are fighting for you and I. They fight in behalf of our continued civil liberties and the moral character of our nation. They joined the battle vigorously and history will show who joined them.
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Mario Solis-Marich is a radio talk show host who can be heard on AM 760 in Denver and world wide at www.GoToMario.com. You can find Mario on Facebook.