Rarely has this country been so devoid of perspective, and so desperately in need of it.
Perspective -- the ability to calmly and rationally see things in their proper context and importance -- seems to be totally lost on some in the debate over Arizona's new illegal immigration law.
Media reports promised protests against the law in some 70 U.S. cities today -- ironically enough on national Law Day, when we celebrate the rule of law.
Those who passed or favor the law are being called racists and worse. Hysterical editorial cartoonists have left rationality far behind -- such as Jimmy Margulies of The Record in New Jersey, who drew Hitler with a mustache the shape of Arizona.
What the law does is say it's illegal to be an illegal alien in Arizona.
Hitler? Really? The man responsible for the extermination of millions?
Even guardians of the Hitler Brand of Hate are tired of the trivializing trademark infringements: "There is no comparison between the situation facing immigrants, legal or illegal, in Arizona and what happened in the Holocaust," said the Jewish Anti-Defamation League.
Agreed. It's just beyond the rational brain to make the comparison.
The law was carefully crafted to parallel already-existing federal law -- which Washington has despicably failed to enforce for years, forcing sovereign states to enact their own measures. But Arizona lawmakers late this week went the extra mile to soothe over the hysteria: They clarified language to make it clearer that no one will be stopped due to race or asked for citizenship proof without first being suspected of some other offense.
Meanwhile, the president of Mexico bitterly complains the Arizona law is an abuse of human rights -- while his own country's laws on illegal immigration are infinitely tougher. Amnesty International just this week, says the Associated Press, "called the abuse of migrants in Mexico a major human rights crisis Wednesday, and accused some officials of turning a blind eye or even participating in the kidnapping, rape and murder of migrants."
Yet, the hysteria goes on -- with entertainers and other luminaries lining up to fight Arizona in ways rarely wielded even for mass-murdering regimes. And President Obama is hardly helping quell the panicked frenzy. He has unleashed the Justice Department to take the Arizona law down -- and has made statements about it that the Washington Examiner's Byron York deems "strikingly uninformed."
"You can imagine, if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona ... if you don't have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're going to be harassed," Obama said, utterly -- and, you'd have to think, purposely, since he's a constitutional law professor -- misstating the facts. Under the law, no one can be stopped due to race or nationality. Period. That's the case now, and it would be the case, explicitly, under the Arizona law.
The president knows, or should know, that. And his shameful whipping up of racial fears -- notably after having appealed openly to Latinos and other minorities to help him politically this fall -- is more than sad. A president should appeal for calm, not stoke the fires of misplaced ire.
As York points out, Arizona is 3-for-3 in defending its recent immigration laws in court, involving employer sanctions for hiring illegals, restricting public benefits, cracking down on human smuggling and requiring proof of citizenship for voting. The state even won in the ultraliberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
These are the facts -- as opposed to what you've been hearing from interest groups, entertainers and other flamethrowers.
This country, now at a boiling point over this divisive controversy, desperately needed some thoughtful perspective from the left. The White House could have helped, and chose instead to hurt.