Sunday, June 17, 2018

It's the law? When our standards may not be SO absolute.... - another reflection on current approaches to immigration laws

About 35 years ago, I was on a panel at Wright State University in/near Dayton, OH speaking about the religious views on sexuality to a class in religion and culture. I remember that a minister on the panel was trying to illustrate legal and moral absolutes by using the speed limit (then 55 mph nationally) as an example.  
I didn’t point it out to him, but I should have, that 55 is not an absolute. During the years 1973-1987, when oil prices skyrocketed due to the whims of OPEC, the speed limit was 55, but the rule of thumb for drivers, especially on long trips, was that you could drive up to 62 mph and likely not be charged with speeding. 
That changes these days based on local authorities, especially when driving on a 2-lane road that runs through a small town where there is a quick change from 55 mph to, say, 30 mph. If you are traveling at 40 mph after passing the “reduce speed to 30 mph” sign, you are, technically, breaking the law. Otherwise, there may be 5 mph leeway above a set speed limit. 
How many of us drive exactly 55 mph in a 55 mph zone? Or 65? Or 70? 
I am sure that some of the very people talking about the need for “zero tolerance” in regards to immigration do not stick to the EXACT speed limit, and might exceed it accordingly. These may be two different arenas of law, but I don’t see the comparison as invidious at all. It is about consistency, moral and legal.
Consequently, I have little tolerance for zero-tolerance, unless it is zero-tolerance towards hatred and fear driving national policies. Sometimes the rules are their as targets, not as absolutes, to be enforced reasonably.

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