Thursday, October 25, 2007

America, The Country of Laws

One of the central arguments heard in the debate over illegal immigration is that in this country one must obey the law. This is a country of laws. This is not the USSR for heavens sake. In America the government officials or the royalty don’t make their decisions based upon a whim or a bribe. And that all people are treated equally under the law. Rich and poor, black and white, Christian and Muslim, heterosexual and homosexual, skinny and fat, tall and short, young and old.

Driving on the interstate highway system I normally set my cruise control exactly on the speed limit. And I would guess that 95% of the other vehicles pass me; some quite rapidly. Even policemen without their lights flashing. It seems like the Border Patrol guys are among some of the worst at flaunting the law. And virtually no one uses their directional turn indicator lamps anymore when changing lanes or turning.

Many wealthy Republicans go to a dinner party and drink a few martinis, then drive home inebriated, clearly making them criminals. And some of the younger businessmen go into the back room and snort cocaine. A large majority of young people have smoked pot, taken ecstasy, or drank alcohol under age. And if you manage to get over on the IRS many people see you as a hero.
Did the same rule of law apply to OJ as to an "illegal immigrant" who has a court appointed lawyer?

In the early parts of the 21st century it appears that there is an open and clear cut contempt for the rule of law in the last superpower, the oldest democracy on the planet.

Look back to the era of prohibition from 1920 to 1933 and you will see that a large majority of Americans were openly violating the law of the land. During WWII there was government rationing of basic foodstuffs like sugar, and there was a large grey market openly breaking the law.

My analysis is that it is a real stretch to say that America is a country of laws. We may be better than some tin horn banana republic dictatorships, but we really have a very long way to go.

I lived in The Netherlands for 15 years, up until early in 2007. And it seems to me that in both Germany and Holland the people are significantly more law abiding than we are here in the USA. Both countries are democracies.

So it seems to me that the message should be, “Get off your arrogant high horse Americans, and get to work trying to make this a better country.”