Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Arizonans are Nazis, and Other Lazy Rhetorical Devices from City Council

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    NEWSLETTERS

    No matter how right you are, comparing your opponents to the Nazis is always wrong.

    That didn't stop Ald. Danny Solis from drawing an unseemly comparison between Arizona and the Third Reich during Wednesday’s emotional City Council debate on a resolution to boycott Arizona because of its new illegal immigration law.

    “In the early stages of Nazi Germany, there was a law that identified particular groups of people," Solis said in criticizing the Arizona immigration law. "This law has identified a particular group of people. This law is evil.”

    The resolution, which passed 46-3, was sponsored by four Latino aldermen: George Cardenas, Ariel Reboyras, Ray Suarez and Ricardo Munoz. One by one they condemned the law as an attack on their people, but none used a comparison as incendiary as Solis.

    Ald. Roberto Maldonado accused Arizona of passing a law “to legalize racial profiling, which is a politically correct way of legalizing racial discrimination.”

    And Ald. George Cardenas said Arizona’s law has divided the country -- 70 percent of Americans approve, but 80 percent of Hispanics oppose. That opposition led them to pass the symbolic resolution.

    “We’re not telling another state what to do,” said Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno. “We are reacting to what another state has done. We are responding to racially discriminatory laws in one of our states.”

    The only three alderman in opposition were James Balcer,  Brian Doherty and Michael Zalewski.

    Balcer represents Bridgeport, which once literally built a wall -- the Dan Ryan Expressway -- to keep out minorities. While noting that 111 immigrants have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said that “those who have stood in line [to emigrate] must not be jumped over” and argued that the boycott would only hurt the poor people in Arizona: the hospitality workers, the maids, the gardeners.”

    Brian Doherty, the Council’s only Republican, noted that his parents were immigrants -- from Ireland -- then told the story of a Kenyan gang leader who was arrested 26 times in Chicago after his visa expired, and finally ordered the murder of a rival.

    “I do not believe that we should announce a boycott of a sovereign state for handling problems that are different from ours,” Doherty said.

    Even if we do, we shouldn’t call them Nazis.