Posted by Mack
Not that it will matter to the rabid anti-immigration forces, but applying the word amnesty to the proposed immigration bill is factually incorrect. According to Wikipedia:
Amnesty (from the Greek amnestia, oblivion) is an act of justice by which the supreme power in a state restores those who may have been guilty of any offence against it to the position of innocent persons. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the offense. (emphasis mine)
Clearly, imposing fines and other "punishments" for this civil infraction in no way resembles the definition or even the spirit of the word amnesty.
That said, I no longer respond to allegations of amnesty by pointing out how wrong it is to apply the term. No, in fact, I now simply ask "well, why not amnesty?"
What part of the amnesty idea is so foreign to the ideals of America? In almost every case, Americans love an underdog. Our movies and novels typically involve some lone hero, fighting overwhelming odds. Don't we find ourselves rooting for him/her to win? The ideas of fairness and compassion appeal to Americans, in no small part because we identify ourselves as a Faith-based society. I do not think it is unreasonable to assume that Jesus surely would have favored bridges instead of walls, and forgiveness over retribution. Even Secularists believe, in the end, that it is "good to do good."
I think many of us have "signed on" to the proposed bill because we desperately want something to be done. A step in the wrong direction is still a step. It breaks the inertia. It requires less energy to correct a ship's course than it does to begin it's journey.
So, we all wait for our elected officials to get to work on this issue, and find a solution that is best for this country. My hope is that enough will find the courage to offer solutions that may at first seem politically risky. I think time will prove that they were the true leaders.