Sunday, November 6, 2011

Buddhism, Neo-Nazis and Illegal Immigration

Neo-Nazis rally in S. California
Neo Nazis Neo Nazi children could be taken into care to beat brainwashing at Third Reich summer camps

POMONA, Calif. - Neo-Nazis at a rally in Southern California were outnumbered by counter-protestors, as both sides ended up yelling at each other under the watchful eyes of police.
About 75 members of the National Socialist Movement gathered Saturday near Pomona City Hall. The group is opposed to illegal immigration and California's version of the Dream Act, which allows undocumented students to access financial aid.
Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement told CBS Station KCBS, "Illegal immigrants are coming to our country. They're taking away our jobs, they're causing our recession to get worse."
The Detroit-based neo-Nazi group was confronted by several hundred protesters. Angry words flew, and orange traffic cones were tossed at the Neo-Nazis.
Mark Gluba, a city spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times that except for demonstrators and counter-protestors screaming back and forth, the event was generally peaceful and no one was arrested.

The Practical Buddhist Responds
Neo-Nazis are us. They act out of fear and anger. So do we, sometimes. They put on uniforms and parade around and stir up a big fuss. They make us feel superior.  They give us an excuse to abandon compassion, so long as we do it politely.
If I don’t much like Mexicans, and think we’d all be better off if they stayed south of the border,  but want to sound reasonable and virtuous, I can appeal to law and order.  If I live in Arizona, I can point to one of the toughest anti-Mexican laws in the country and remind you that over half of my fellow citizens agree with it completely.  Our current governor was elected because she signed that law into effect.

The California Nazis are marching because they agree with the majority of Arizonans. They are angry because illegal Mexicans take jobs from Americans, strain social services they have no right to, and raise violent crime.  (One fact ignored is that in the recent decade, illegal immigration doubled and violent crime went down 35%).

I wish the Nazis would disappear. Yes, they are a tiny group of swastika-sporting nutcases with little influence. Unfortunately, they provide an  object for easy scorn and rejection.  “I’m nothing like them.  I don’t hate anybody.  I just think everyone should obey our laws, that’s all.”
My problem is that I am far too much like the Nazis. Maybe I’m a Spanish-speaking liberal Buddhist with a Mexican grandfather, but I can be fearful, angry and hateful too.  So can you.  Being better than a Nazi doesn’t excuse me from the hard work of compassion.

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