I want to begin my blog entry with this clip from Chris Matthews' show Hardball this evening.
I'm not the greatest fan of Mr. Matthews. He's the kind of guy that is too in love with the game of politics most of the time. He tends to miss a lot of things, but I do admire his tenacity and his drive...and the very enthusiasm that annoys me, also amuses me. But he's right on the money in this final comment from tonight's show. So let's start here before I talk about the state where I was born, Arizona.
OK, first point made. I agree. Can we drop this shit already? Godwin's Law covered...now to Fear and Loathing.
I was born in Tucson, Arizona, Pima County nearly 50 years ago. We left when I was just a year old and I've only been back twice since.
I love Arizona. It is breathtakingly beautiful country. Tucson in particular to me because of the Santa Catalina mountains that surround it and the unbelievable cast of light the sun makes when shining through the blue sky and through the wind carved mountains.
My grandmother and grandfather moved there in the late 40s from Waterloo, Iowa for my father's severe asthma. Basically, Arizona saved his life.
My mother's parents moved to Tucson in 1952 from Arcadia, in the Los Angeles area because of my grandfather's job moving them. A new plant apparently for Hughes.
The Santa Catalinas as seen from the University of Arizona in Tucson, my dad's Alma Mater.
Mount Lemmon, where my dad apparently spent many a college night with pals and a case of Coors. In the winter you can ski here and then drive over to Tucson at the bottom where it's 80 degrees.
Arizona was the place to be, the place to go. Jobs were growing, housing was booming. America's fixation with the myth of Cowboys and Indians was building to fever pitch.
Decades later, after we moved to New York City in the early 60s, Arizona began to fall on hard times. Terrible employment, decaying industry as like every where else, jobs moved out of the country. Sure there was the tourist industry and there's a fuck ton of wonderfulness to tour to in Arizona (notice that I haven't even brought up the Grand Canyon), but tourist dollars are never enough.
As I understand it things are starting to pick up a little in Arizona as they are slowly, oh so slowly picking up in the rest of the country. It's still got a ways to go...
So...why has the Arizona legislature created a law that has not only alienated it from so much of the rest of the country, just about the entire Latino population OF that country and threatened it's economy with boycotts?
Remember the USA Patriot Act? Same thing. U.S. gets attacked. White House and Congress need to look like they are doing SOMEthing...but they have no idea what, so they go with the easy instead of the smart. They are also operating from absolute fear. Fear of attack, fear of losing elections, fear for life of family and nation. Fuck with civil liberties, the Constitution and what we stand for in order to give the illusion that we have taken a major step to solve the problem. Then use the powers given by said act to listen to soldiers having phone sex with their partners overseas.
Now, the AZ legislature follows suit. Only they go even further. Arizona feels attacked. And not entirely without justification. Just over the border is Mexico, a country so thoroughly fucked up that to call it a rogue nation might be a compliment. The government there is dysfunctional. Drug cartels are running everything and so heavily out-arm Mexican law enforcement that they basically run the show....and they are now moving through to the U.S. to kidnap and ransom.
This is not a frequent occurrence, but once is enough.
Clearly we have a problem.
To be sure, illegal immigration has been an issue for a long long time and something needs to be done about it. But it's the Federal government's job as it is an international issue.
I'm not going to get into the inherent racism of the bill. Other's have written and blogged and broadcast about it. I can't add anything that is at all helpful except to say that I agree entirely. And so does the Sheriff of my home county.
Unfortunately he has a good bit of opposition among his constituents, but he's been sheriff of Pima County for 37 years, there must be more they like about him than dislike. But I'm encouraged to know that good men of courage and conviction are in the state to counter the cowardly acts of a legislature that can't function. For now.
There's a lot of bigotry in Arizona, so I expect that idiots who don't learn from history think nothing of having to show papers to police on a whim. MusingMadman (who is covering the outrage end of this argument very well, which is largely why I'm not going into it myself) already had a ridiculous argument with someone using the "If you're a law abiding citizen you have nothing to worry about" argument. I can't even begin to go into how fucking stupid that guy has to be.
Anyway, I happen to like what Lindsay Graham, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman (yeah, I'm liking something LIEberman did...scares me too) are pushing. It's a sensible law that solves the current issue and deals with the issue of those who have been here for a long time with humanity and logic.
Folks against "amnesty" don't like it...but that's idealogical claptrap. This is reality, Greg. (Points if you get the reference) There's just no way to deal with those any other way.
Congress has to act. It hasn't done so for many Administrations both Democratic and Republican. It's time to deal.
And then we have to deal with Mexico. There's a reason there's fence jumping. Mexican life sucks and there are American businesses perfectly willing to hire illegals because they are cheap and easy to control with fear.
We have to take out these drug cartels. We have to examine our own drug laws. Let's face it, the war on drugs isn't working from a law enforcement standpoint and it can't work unless those fuckers are wiped the fuck out. (By the way, guess where the Al Qaeda gets it's money). We have to find a way to help Mexico get it's infrastructure and everything else in gear so that Mexicans are happy in Mexico.
Remember, Canadians aren't jumping the fence to take advantage of our fabulous healthcare system. Maybe we can find a way to get Mexico working. What that is I really don't know. But there are plenty of good minds out there. Let's get to it.
As to Arizona, I have no doubt that this law will be found unconstitutional and the state will bow to economic pressure (as it did when it was a hold out for Martin Luther King Day). But Texas is already talking about similar laws. There's a trend here...the only way to stop the trend is to actually solve the issue. But too, changing demographics will reverse this trend.
On the other hand...I don't have an issue with Mexican drug cartels taking Texas out. Maybe we can let them secede.
Bottom line, I hate that Arizona has brought this nonsense on itself. I want others to love this state as I do. To appreciate it's beauty and potential. That can't happen while idiots, cowards and bigots are running things.