Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust’

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) calls for civility and likens Republicans to Nazis; Democrats remain silent

January 19, 2011

 

A week ago Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) made an urgent plea for civility in public discourse. He warned,

“Reckless and hateful speech often has a terrible human cost. If the horrific events in Arizona are not enough to modulate our public discourse, it is likely there will be more violence, more deaths.”

Yesterday Mr. Cohen gave his own version of civil discourse on the House floor. Speaking of the opposition of the Republican majority in the House to Obamacare, he likened the other party to Nazis:

“They say it’s a government takeover of health care, a big lie. Just like Goebbels; you say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually people believe it.

“Like blood libel. That’s the same kind of thing. The Germans said enough about the Jews and the people believed it and you had the Holocaust. You tell a lie over and over again. And we’ve heard it on this floor; government takeover of health care.”

Anderson Cooper interviewed an unapologetic Mr. Cohen tonight. Cohen said that the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels had perfected the big lie, the Republicans were lying about Obamacare, “Just like Goebbels,” so his statement stands. Cooper’s guest, Democratic strategist and former Obama campaign pollster Cornell Belcher, defended Cohen’s remarks as (more…)

Illegal immigrants: Treat them humanely or make their lives miserable?

April 15, 2010

Ethics can be confusing. Like the case of illegal immigration: how do we decide between compassion and legality? {Disclosure: My ideas may be affected by my family experience. My grandparents came here from Russia and Germany in the 1880s, when there was no such thing as illegal immigration. You just had to be free of TB and you were admitted. Had they not been admitted the whole family would likely have been subjected to fierce anti-Semitism, then murdered in the Holocaust.)

The Arizona House of Representatives this week passed America’s toughest state law against illegal immigration. It makes it a crime to lack proper immigration paperwork and requires police, if they suspect someone is in the country illegally, to determine their immigration status. It also bars people from soliciting work as day laborers. Its author, state Sen. Russell Pearce, explains, “When you make life difficult, most will leave on their own.”

I certainly believe in making life difficult for lawbreakers, but there’s serious collateral damage here. What about the “foreign-looking” people who will be challenged to prove their legal status? Like Graciela Beltran of Tucson, who, the Los Angeles Times reports, was asked for immigration papers while boarding a bus. And the other dark-skinned people who will be “profiled.”

And along with the lawbreakers there are innocents, like the U.S.-born children of illegals, who face having their parents deported. Or who face hunger because their fathers can no longer find day work from the Walmart parking lot.

Americans have contributed to the problem by allowing so many to overstay their visas or to enter illegally. Now it seems to me that we have an obligation to be humane in our treatment.

What’s an ethicist to conclude? Let me know your opinion.