Arizona’s recent immigration law has made the state both a beacon of states’ rights or a cesspool of racism, depending on your perspective. This has been the theme of many conversations and I think both sides have failed: Progressives have lost the ideological principals necessary for believing in a strong national border and immigration standards and conservatives have failed to clearly defend those principles as moral.
Since the inception of this great nation there has been an ideological battle between those who believe we need a stronger national government and those who believe in a weaker national government whose powers are limited in deference to the states, namely an idea called Federalism. This division has been fierce and was embodied through the disagreements between John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. And while the most obvious division during our nation’s only civil war, and which President Lincoln so beautiful articulated, was a moral division, between fulfilling or denying the promise of the Declaration of Independence for all Americans, there was a strong undercurrent of that old Federalism feud between the North and the South. However, Americans shared belief in basic values which transcended those old political rivalries and healed wounds from a civil war, which formed the basis for the American experiment, and are values which can provide the foundation for a lasting and true multiculturalism. We should consider some of the foundational values of this country, that have been the foundation for our melting pot and which immigrants have historically adopted, as common ground for us today.