Arizona is the 21st Century Mississippi

United-Nations-gun-ban-sculptureNew Orleans I really love Arizona.  It’s beautiful country with an amazing history and people.  So was, Mississippi fifty odd years ago, but sometimes the fusion of time, land, and change produces hybrid aberrations that shake society to the core.   We need to stop pretending that there’s not something serious wrong in the political and social structure of Arizona.  The evidence is too overwhelming.

A friend from British Columbia made the point on my Facebook wall over the weekend and Gail Collins, the New York Times columnist, said the same thing in today’s paper about gun control.  Gun should not be popping out of pockets at public events in Arizona because of a wrongheaded laissez faire carryall policy.  Arizona does not have the political ability to change that, which means Congress needs to do so.

Same thing with automatic weapons.  Collins normally spices her column with humor but today she was deadly serious.  If automatic weapons had been banned, Congresswoman Giffords would have still been shot and perhaps one other, but we would not be dealing with 6 dead and another dozen wounded from a Glock 9mm and reading about a 9-year old girl born on 9/11 and now dead, the heroism of a husband dying as if in a warzone while covering his wife’s body with his own, and a woman who heroically helped wrestle away the 2nd 30-shot gun clip, allowing for the shooter’s capture.  Arizona can’t stop this anymore than Mississippi would integrate itself.  They need help.

The Pima County Sheriff spoke the truth about Arizona being ground zero for haters, baiters, and wildness now, and the reasons matter, but they are not material, especially when we still have Sheriff Joe and his anti-immigrant mischief in Maricopa County up the road, because the situation cries for intervention.

Certainly we need to see a dialing down of the rhetoric from all sides in our political discourse, but even at a whisper hate can grow unabated even in desert soil.  We need start understanding Arizona differently.  This is a cancer on the national soul and the body politic, and as a citizenry and a community, we have intervene and create a different climate.

Now!  Ahora!

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Immigration is All Politics: Arpaio Whitewash, DREAM Deferred

Dream Act RallySeoul No way! Reading the papers from Seoul (props to ROK as the most internet connected country in the world with free hookups at the airport!), I’m reading that Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa got good and passing grades from the federal Marshall’s audit of his jails in September 2009 and recently.   How can you get good grades with inmates living in tents in 120 degree weather and wearing pink pantsuits?  Something is wrong here!   Sheriff Joe of course threw the DOJ division back at the DOJ and its lawsuit on discrimination.

He says it’s “all politics.”  He’s right.  Why aren’t we doing better then?  Why are we not punishing politicians where there are immigrant voting blocks in the districts?

The ease with which the DREAM amendment suddenly materialized with Senator Reid in deep trouble for his reelection in Nevada would seem to be proof positive that when the case is clear, action can happen.  Why didn’t this happen earlier?  Of course the confusion in strategy between a half-loaf, the whole loaf, and not a single slice pretty much doomed us.  Two votes blocking debate from Arkansas from Lincoln and Pryor make no sense when the demand for increase immigration has been on the front pages for years from Tyson, Wal-Mart, and the tomato industry in the southern part of the state.  We have to be ready or not, and in this case it seems “not” was the answer.   Worth noting again as I have before that the courage of the DREAM marchers and others that have stood up in the face of certain deportation in the future fuels this fire.  We need the same courage on other issues.

Time to start playing hardball for immigration reform and admitting that without a better grassroots political strategy, nothing is going to happen good anytime in the future on this issue.

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