Leave it to a conservative, God-fearin' enclave of flag-wavin' all-Americanism like Fremont, Neb., to turn itself into a Stalinist enclave in the name of . . . Americanism.
Because there are Hispanics in town, and because some of them might be illegal, a town's gotta do what a town's gotta do. In the case of the small city northwest of Omaha, that means "requiring renters to provide information to the police and to obtain city occupancy licenses," says an article in today's New York Times.
And people think Barack Obama's a Nazi. Or is he a totalitarian commie? I forget which . . . maybe he's both.
Now I'm wondering what America has to say about this brand-new, pint-sized police state on the Plains?
HERE'S WHAT the Times said, anyway:
In Fremont, a meat-packing town of about 25,000 people, unofficial results from The Associated Press late Monday showed that 57 percent of voters approved a referendum barring landlords from renting to those in the country illegally, requiring renters to provide information to the police and to obtain city occupancy licenses, and obliging city businesses to use a federal database to check for illegal immigrants.AYE, THERE be the rub -- those "small-town values" again. What people forget is "small-town values" cut both ways.
Opponents of the new law, including some business and church leaders, had argued that the City of Fremont simply could not afford the new law, which is all but certain to be challenged in court. In a flurry of television commercials and presentations by opponents in the final days before Monday’s vote, opponents said paying to defend such a local law would require a significant cut in Fremont city services or a stiff tax increase — or some combination of the two.
“There were a lot of tears in this room tonight,” said Kristin Ostrom, an opponent who gathered with others in an old V.F.W. building to await the results. “Unfortunately, people have voted for an ordinance that’s going to cost millions of dollars, and that says to the Hispanic community that the Anglo community is saying they are not welcome here. They thought they were coming to a small-town community with small-town values.”
OFTENTIMES, "small-town values" are dictated by small-minded people with big-boned fears of The Other. Like Mexicans coming into town to work at the packing plants for low wages and few benefits -- big-corporation "values."
This, of course, is more commonly known as "exploitation." And none of it can work without the diligent efforts of local managers who, no doubt, will wax eloquently all day long about how it's "small-town values" that make Fremont such a great place to work and live.
For all I know, some of the packing-plant brass might have voted for Fremont's little totalitarian scheme. It's no skin off their nose; their plants lie outside the Fremont city limits.
As residents of Fremont began considering what the decision would now mean, details of the new law were a new matter for debate. Some noted, with puzzlement, that the law would not apply to the area’s two biggest meatpacking plants (including Hormel, the largest employer) because they are just outside the city’s official boundaries, and that the law would also not apply to “casual labor for domestic tasks” around Fremont homes. But some said they believe the housing requirements — and new $5 occupancy license rule — might apply to people living in nursing homes.SEE, THE LAW doesn't even cover the gardener. Is Fremont a great town, or what?
Still, you have to wonder how seriously anyone -- including what illegal immigrants may reside in Moscow on the Platte -- will take it when the person demanding "Your papers, please" is wearing a seed cap?