More than ever before, I am mindful of the important role played by Latino immigrants in American society. Supporters have argued for years that they are critical to our economy because they perform important jobs that most Americans are unwilling to do.
As I watch scenes of passionate but peaceful demonstrations throughout the country, I am convinced that it is not just the economy that benefits from their efforts, but our democracy as well. Or at least I hope so! Looking at photos of hundreds of thousands of protesters swarming the streets of Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta, San Francisco, and many other cities, it is clear that one of the jobs these immigrants are willing to perform - that most Americans won’t - is to stand up for themselves when they are threatened by the forces of power!
What would have happened if, during the 2000 presidential elections, ordinary Americans had taken to the streets in such large numbers to protest the outcome of a fraudulent election? What would have happened if ordinary Americans had protested en masse the decision to invade Iraq in defiance of world opinion?
I’ll suggest that we would have a much different world today if we all could value our own lives with the dignity and strength and persistence that we are seeing in response to the current Republican-sponsored threat to illegal immigrants.