Friday, April 30, 2010

Welcome to the Phoenix Conclave - now show me your papers!

Update - Please vote your preference in the poll on the sidebar. We will let HQ know the result so they can see what the "rank and file" want. Thanks.
The more I see and hear about the new law in Arizona requiring law enforcement personnel to ask anyone "suspicious" for proof of legal status, the more I wonder if it is a place for a biennial celebration of the principles of "Virtue, Diligence, and Brotherly Love."

I am proud of SigEp's heritage of being different by championing of diversity. What that means as a practical matter is that next August a number of our Conclave attendees will look 'different', and possibly 'suspicious,' when they arrive at the Arizona customs center airport. Let's hope everyone remembers to bring a passport or at least a birth certificate so they can avoid spending conclave in an ICE holding cell.

Most who read this post would, I believe, like to see some sort of progress made toward a) making our southern border more secure, and b) finding a path to address those who have already entered the country "without due process." The political and economic factors are complicated and I don't pretend to have an answer, but I do know that people who are here legally by birth or by process deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I may joke about needing a "Texas Passport" but the Arizona law is way too close to that in reality for my comfort.

The new law in Arizona is a refutation of a long held principle in America of freedom to move about. "Show me your papers" is the sort of thing you see in movies about eastern European countries during the cold war, or Gemany in WWII, not in 21st century America. Of course Arizona as a state can make its own laws. That is one of the benefits of being an American state. But if we don't agree with the actions we are not required to enable them. There is no reason to fatten Arizona tax coffers if we don't agree with their actions.

Allow me to make a modest proposal - Move Conclave out of Arizona next year. Don't favor the state with any economic help to keep people in a second class status. Yes, I know the deal was signed long before the bill was even brought up. Yes, I know it will be difficult to find and set up another venue. But isn't it worth the effort? What good is it to say "This Fraternity Will be Different" if we won't be different and make a stand? How can we "Build leaders for the worlds communities" if we don't model that leadership ourselves?

I have stated my feelings, now its time for others to let our leadership know how you feel. You may not share my opinion. Fine, let's hear another viewpoint.