So, is Silicon Valley becoming the "epicenter of social change," as Michelle Quinn, the San Jose Mercury News reporter who approached me, suggests in her column? It remains to be seen whether the tech sector will continue to have an outsized impact on social and political issues driving the national dialogue.
History shows that liberals need radicals. We need radicals because drastic change against entrenched evil and concentrated power requires personal bravery to the point of obsession. It requires a radical sensibility to look beyond today's limits and imagine what seems sheer impossibility within the current social order. And sometimes it's necessary to break the law to redeem the Constitution. No great social change in America has occurred without radicals, beginning with the struggle to end slavery. Causes that now seem mainstream began with radical, impolite and sometimes civil disobedient protest. But here's where the story gets complicated. Radicals also need liberals. Liberals can write policy proposals to their hearts' content. But unless they are backed by radicalism on the ground, they are playing in a sandbox.
The last time I wrote about this issue, about the deportation of adopted people who were born in other countries after committing crimes in the U.S., was over two years ago. I said then, and I repeat in light of this new case today, that criminals should absolutely be punished -- but sending them to a place where they know no one and don't speak the native language is simply appalling.