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Current Comedy, 5/20/10: Tales From the Struggle Over SB1070, Parts Three, Four, & Five

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III: "Is this America?" or only Arizona?

You know, Arizona as a state has had quite a few nicknames over the years. Famously once known as the home of inland America's #1 tourist attraction (i mean, prior to SB1070, that is), most highway signs still call us the "Grand Canyon State." Also historically, nickname-wise Arizona, the "Copper State," was considered the least precious among the fabled Southwestern heavy-metal trio, "Golden" California and "Silver" Nevada. And though the maps of Spain once labeled it, "Pimeria Alta," referring to the more readily enslaved Pima Indians, Spaniards in the know called it "Apacheria" for fierce Indians who rendered their "rule" farcical.

Later, after the US conquested the land once ruled by conquistadors, our area, the western end of the New Mexico Territory, was the no-man's land outlaws escaped to from both Mexico and the US. It was a time when Americans like the Glanton Gang scalped both Indians and Mexicans for a hundred dollars for every handful of hair. Back then, fittingly enough, our land was called the "Paradise For Devils."

But in this time of the struggle over SB1070 when duly elected avowed White Supremacists write their own updated version of the "Fugitive Slave Law," punishing those who would harbor, aid or conceal an undocumented immigrant, the nickname that most readily comes to mind derives from a time after the Civil War when the territory flooded with former Confederate soldiers who resented Federal control under Reconstruction in the East and darker skinned people in general. Thus Arizona welcomed such civic leaders as former race warrior/Phoenix founder/drug addict/jailbird Jack Swilling and in 1872, the city of Tempe even made being "Sonoran" a exile-able offense.

For over a hundred years AZ was nationally known as an openly racist society, starting from the Battle of Picacho Peak in 1862 when racial-caste defending Arizonans rebelled against their duly elected national government and took up arms against Union troops (only to quickly get their butts kicked, btw). Our rep as racists was clearly intact 100 years later in the 1960s, when, as Bruce Hartford's recent Huffington Post article notes, " Arizona was (and continues to be) one of those states specifically called out by the Voting Rights Act of 1965" for its widespread disenfranchisement of Hispanic voters. The legend of Arizona as a racist state would later be the centerpiece of rap band Public Enemy's 1991 condemnation of the state for refusing to endorse the national MLK celebration with their hit "By the Time I Get to Arizona."

Between the state superintendent of education firing teachers for having Hispanic accents; and every state official under penalty of lawsuit required to investigate a person's personal heritage for as little "probably cause" as them having a Hispanic accent, one wonders if Arizona will ever outgrow its old Confederate era moniker, the "Mississippi of the West."


IV: "Crappy Nappy"? Is This America?

AZ Central would later run articles covering the national protests around the country that May Day including one that documented the arrest of Illinois US Congressman Luis Gutierrez for civil disobedience at a Whitehouse protest. While rummaging around on Arizona's most popular news site [disclosure--this blog is posted on AZ Central, among other places], in short order i had linked to an article discussing the guilty verdict of a recent case where an undocumented immigrant was accused of killing a border agent. For those who scoff that Arizona is now an enlightened state and racist free, in the interest of waking you guys the heck up, here is an actual comment, typos and all, posted just below the article:

This guy is geting.. Jail time for killing a border patrol officer? He should be held as a HERO.. I can see it now. crappy nappy will be here given this guy a medal.. Obama the Savior/Messiah/God will pardon him.. there will be huge rallies for this useless piece of trash from the "MIGRANT" Community.. I'm amazed the "Migrant" Community aren't protestng this...He only cam here for a better life. How dare hte border patrol stop hiim!!!!! The border patrol needs to be investigated for Racial Profiling.....WHERE ARE HTE PROTESTS !!!!!"

Then the very next comment unabashedly said there should be no limit on hunting and killing illegal aliens and none of the subsequent ones called him out over it. Please, check it yourself:

And so, i have to ask--are people making this up?

Are those comments really written by a spoof satire site that is parodying the worse of the worse of the redneck mentality that is behind this bill or is this the rank and file of Pearce supporters? This being Arizona one cannot be too sure. Certainly when it comes to the wiles of the AZ GOP, their motives are hard to discern but their actions are generally clear--if it is good for the public, they'll work against it.

Make no mistake, the AZ GOP Lege' is not actually attempting to solve an immigration issue. They are pandering to the racist ranchers in the southern end of the state and reveling in their power to punish their enemies. It brings to mind last year's outlandish budget cut package for education, which bragged about noble belt tightening but held hidden daggers among the supposed budget cutting shears.

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Recently a Democratic candidate for Arizona's new Congressional District 4, Mikel Weisser has been challenging the right and raising a ruckus since the 1980s. Born the son of a nightclub singer, Mikel Weisser watched anti-war hippies getting beaten (more...)
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