George Boardman: Non-sanctuary resolution good for political theater, but little else | TheUnion.com

George Boardman: Non-sanctuary resolution good for political theater, but little else

George Boardman
Columnist

Just what Nevada County needs: A divisive debate that is largely symbolic, but guaranteed to stiffen positions across the political spectrum in our little corner of paradise.

But that's what we're likely to get if the county Board of Supervisors decides to take up a resolution declaring Nevada County a "non-sanctuary" county, presumably making it an inhospitable place for illegal immigrants.

Some local residents are unhappy with California's staunch opposition to the immigration policies of the Trump administration. State officials have threatened to sue over Donald Trump's "big, beautiful" border wall, and the legislature has declared the Golden State a sanctuary state while restricting the ability of law enforcement agencies to work with immigration officials. Several counties and cities have also joined the movement.

But not all Californians agree with this position. At least two counties in the most conservative part of the state — Tehama and Siskiyou — have taken "anti-sanctuary" positions and the area's representative in Congress, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, expects the movement to spread, at least in those areas that are strong supporters of the State of Jefferson movement.

Supporters of the "non" movement see this as an issue of upholding the law and keeping our borders secure against unsavory types who want to settle in the land of milk and honey. Pro sanctuary people see the nons as a bunch of racist rednecks who want to keep this country as white as possible.

All of this is complicated by the American tradition — or is it a myth? — of being a haven for huddled masses yearning to be free. In reality, immigration — particularly from Europe — was encouraged for many years as a way to provide cheap labor for the Robber Barons while keeping unions at bay.

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Neither side can claim the high moral ground in this debate. Liberals, particularly those who see whites as the source of all the evils that afflict mankind, are eager to create a more racially and culturally diverse society. They don't particularly care how "those people" get here, and have never made secured borders a high priority.

Conservatives have traditionally turned a blind eye to cheap illegal labor that is willing to harvest our crops and perform other menial labor that no self-respecting American would touch. Since the rise of Trumpism, these people have been accused of taking away good-paying jobs from citizens and — if they're from the Middle East — bringing terrorism to our shores.

All of these issues are likely to be raised if the supervisors decide to consider a non-sanctuary resolution. The supes generally avoid weighing in on the great issues of the day that are outside their purview, but they have occasionally strayed from that path. Who can forget the time wasted a couple of years ago when Supervisor Ed Scofield brought in a guy to explain how the county could seize land from the federal government.

I suggest the supervisors ignore such a resolution, which is symbolic and will have zero impact on an issue that will be decided by the White House, Congress and the federal courts. The only people who will benefit from consideration of a non-sanctuary resolution are fans of political theater.

A modest proposal

Conservative commentators were shocked — shocked, I tell you — when Democrats in Congress criticized their Republican colleagues for offering prayers on behalf of the shooting victims in Sutherland Springs, Texas. How could Democrats object to the comfort prayer can bring to the survivors of this horrific event?

But Democrats have seen this act before — "thoughts and prayers" followed by a return to the business at hand, in this case the tax cut corporate CEOs and billionaires can't wait to see enacted. Forget about legislation that would ban assault rifles and magazines that can hold up to 30 rounds each. Police found 15 of them — capable of holding 450 rounds — at the church shooting in Texas.

Republicans agreed that it might be a good idea to ban bump stocks, the device that enabled the Las Vegas shooter to kill 58 and wound more than 500 in just a few minutes. That isn't going to happen either; the gun lobby reminded the GOP of the millions of dollars its members have received over the years.

As the NRA and other gun boosters keep telling us, we need to put more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens because "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." As evidence, they like to point to the armed man in Sutherland Springs who confronted the shooter outside the church and shot him twice. Of course, 26 people were dead and 20 were wounded by then.

If we're going to permit just about anybody to buy assault rifles and 30-round magazines, we can expect more mass shooting. And as Sutherland Spring and Rancho Tehama show, any place can be turned into a killing field. Even Grass Valley and Nevada City.

Which leads me to this modest proposal: As a public service, everybody in the western county with a concealed weapon permit should post his or her social schedule where everybody can read it: What restaurant they're planning to patronize, what movie they're going to see, or perhaps a family outing to Western Gateway Park or a concert at Music in the Mountains.

That way, the rest of us will know what venues will be populated by good men with guns. You know, just in case …

There, don't you feel safer already?

George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at ag101board@aol.com.

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