Saturday, July 24, 2010

Specks and Logs

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? -Matthew 7:3

A week and a half ago, after a lengthy public hearing, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution condemning Arizona's controversial immigration law. Now, personally, I can see why some people have concerns about the new law - there is certainly potential for abuse. But I also understand why it was passed. Thus I am cursed by the ability to see both sides of the issue, which pretty much leaves me in the crossfire.

However, barely ten days later, the Supervisors' resolution has pretty much been forgotten. Furthermore, it won't have any affect whatsoever on what happens in Arizona. So why did they bother? 

Some would argue that this is a human rights issue and we need to take a stand. Fine, but do it on your own time. Local governments shouldn't be second-guessing legislation that was passed in a completely different jurisdiction. Our country has legitimate avenues for addressing grievances, and those systems are being properly utilized by the opponents of Arizona's law. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors is not a part of that system.

Whether it be right or wrong, Arizona's law is Arizona's problem. We have plenty of problems of our own to deal with. How would we feel if another state protested against Monterey County for taking ten years to write a 20-year General Plan Update that still isn't finished. Well, you argue, that doesn't have national implications. It doesn't? Monterey County agriculture feeds the entire country, and local agriculture policy is affected by the General Plan. Surely other states have a right to be concerned. 

So where do we draw the line? Is it ever appropriate for a county or a state to formally protest another state's legislation?