Letter: Reflections of 'Les Misérables'
When I read Richard LaMountain's criticism of Columbia County District Attorney Jeff Auxier's view of Measure 105 (see Oct. 5, "Sanctuary law undermines sovereignty, endangers citizens"), I cannot help but recall Victor Hugo's classic, "Les Misérables"— itself a sharp critique of the nature of injustice perpetrated in the name of so-called law and order. LaMountain and his allies, like Javert, tragically fail to question whether laws themselves are just.
Like the novel's antagonist Inspector Javert, LaMountain's idea of "respect for the law" means every violation of the law is an act of war against the very sovereignty of the nation. The most logical conclusion of such thinking is to go execute jaywalkers and imprison those who park their cars illegally. But in a free nation, law enforcement must exercise prosecutorial discretion and prioritize their resources, and punishment must be proportional to an offense; otherwise, we have a totalitarian tyranny — and no one respects the law in a tyranny, only fears them.
In the great tradition of the Boston Tea Party, the Declaration of Independence, the Underground Railroad, and the civil rights movement, it is an American moral duty to openly defy unjust and inhumane laws. We are not mindless drones who worship "law and order" at the expense of basic human decency; as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., famously wrote, "Everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."
Don't fall for this dishonest "law and order" trope. Vote no on Measure 105.