By Dana Levy
Wow, was I ever amazed when I turned on the TV following an actual news alert not related to the dreaded federal shutdown. Low and behold, our California Governor Brown had actually signed the bill to allow “unauthorized immigrants” to apply for California Drivers Licenses.
What made me start reflect on this, besides the obvious, is that it is the exact same issue that caused our previous democratic governor, Gray Davis, to be recalled (or impeached by the hateful) and replaced by another immigrant, Arnold The Terrible (both actor and executive). Seems like a whole lifetime ago but it was 2003. The offshoot from the recall was that it set the tone for the legalization movement of those in our country illegally and that conversation has dominated then airwaves for quite some time now.
This is a monumental step and if it passes muster, what with the legal challenges that may ensue, it will bode well for all immigrants now living amongst us. They were branded with several (4) titles including: illegal aliens, illegal immigrants, undocumented immigrants, and now unauthorized immigrants, not to mention many ethnic slurs and cuss words that rolled so easily off the tongue for some. All code words for “I am better than you” and used to separate and demean them.
The current statute has built in protections that actually make sense. The new licenses won’t be able to be used to board an airplane or for an employer to certify the legality of the worker. Those are both federal issues. Proof of car insurance will be required to be shown and maintained, just like the rest of us, and the insurance companies are required to notify the state government when the insurance is cancelled or lapses, just like the rest of us. We will all be safer for these reasons alone but the actual collection of information on those who now live in the shadows will benefit the entire citizenry.
This makes California fall in line with ten (10) other states that grant drivers license to individuals of the four groups named above. Just like the strides that have been made for the gay community locally and country wide, it is now time for the country as a whole to finally address the legal and sensible status of those “unauthorized immigrants” and make our country whole again.
Once again California is a juggernaut in leading righteous social issues to the forefront and this might be the exact impetus that is needed to put this issue before the entire country as a whole.
There are several other issues that need redress such as the legalization of marijuana, gerrymandering reform, repealing the Citizens United decision, labeling of GMO’s, and other similar topics but their day will surely come too.
This is and should be a proud day for us all, and, this issue too will become passe in the not too distant future like lots of others. But, I can hear the wailing now from all the perceived patriots that “feel” beset upon by the indignities of the progressive movement and must surely be the last nail in the coffin to all “real”Americans lamenting a return to the good old days. Sort of like the previously acceptable hatred and discrimination towards the Irish, Polish, Slavs, Muslims, Asians, Indians, Jews, Negroes, and many more in our illustrious history.
We have come a long way but there is still much to do. The attainable “more perfect union” is still before us and this, along with many other freedoms and liberties, must be continually guarded and reinforced, whether unpopular, acceptable minority repressed, or simply that it has always been that way. Go California!! WE continue to be the shining beacon of hope to the rest of the country and 40 million strong can’t be ignored.
Dana Levy is a retired member of Local 230, Plumbers and Pipefitters who grew up in La Mesa, graduated from Helix, and used to surf in San Diego as a teenager.