Saturday, 28 July 2012
Politics On Rustum
"...since they are alien, since there are bound to be offenses and clashes, they could become the victims of hatred, even outright persecution. We are not saints on Rustum. We are not immune to the ancient diseases of xenophobia, callousness, legalized robbery, and mob violence. Let us not inflict upon our home the same unhealable wound which was inflicted on Mother America.
"Lead us not into temptation." (p. 149)
The speaker cannot claim an academic neutrality. He is leading into temptation. By speaking as he does, he encourages the most xenophobic tendencies in Rustumite society. If both Coffin and O'Malley had welcomed immigration, then individuals who wanted to articulate xenophobia would have felt isolated and might have been silenced. Instead, O'Malley gives them the opportunity to argue, "We are not saints. There are bound to be clashes (so let's cause some). We cannot help hating aliens. We have support in the Constitutional Convention where O'Malley said, 'We are not immune...'"
Thus, O'Malley could have found his proposed exclusion policy supported by demonstrations expressing that xenophobia that he does not want to "...inflict." If that tendency does exist on Rustum, then it should be opposed, not appeased, and it should be the duty of Convention representatives to unite against it.
I am making a speech here but I think that Anderson's story (rightly) invites, or challenges, each of us to be clear about where we stand on this issue.