Arizona's new immigration laws
have stirred up a real shitstorm. The ability to trample on civil rights by giving authorities the right to ask brown people for identity papers has brought about calls for boycotts of the state. Close to home, Matt Rothschild of Madison's Progressive magazine is urging
his readers to avoid Arizona this summer while the city of San Francisco is attempting to sever
economic ties to the Grand Canyon state. Just south of the Cheddar Curtain, a Chicago Congressman has taken up Rothschild's cause and is asking people
not to go to Arizona.
Personally, I boycott Arizona because the place is too goddamn hot. No desert dweller am I but are boycotts the best way to go about bringing change in Arizona?
For one thing, why is Arizona to be boycotted whereas Wisconsin's denial of marriage to homosexuals doesn't? Let's look in our own backyard before we cast stones. Here's the Wikipedia entry
on the referendum to ban gay marriage and recognition of anything like it here in The Land of Cheese:As required by the constitution, the amendment was approved by both houses of the legislature, in two consecutive sessions. The legislative history of the amendment is as follows:
* March 5, 2004: Approved by Wisconsin State Assembly by a vote of 68-27.
* March 12, 2004: Approved by Wisconsin State Senate by a vote of 20-13
* December 6, 2005: Approved by the State Senate a second time, by a vote of 19-14.
* February 28, 2006: Approved by the State Assembly a second time.
* November 7, 2006: Approved by referendum, by a margin of 59.4%-40.6%.
For two consecutive sessions Wisconsin legislators decreed that gays and lesbians were second class citizens and that their government will not recognize their relationships as secular marriages. And then 59.4% of Cheeseheads went to the polls and said that this state of affairs was just hunky dory with them. This is a good example of Wisconsin treating a group of people like absolute scum and relegating them to second-class citizen status. How about boycotting Wisconsin? Perhaps when we Cheeseheads have our own house in order we can then mount the soap box and claim moral superiority. Until that day, such talk is just throwing stones in a glass house.
This same reasoning applies to Congressman Gutierrez's statement. But treble. Chicago is one of the most segregated cities in this country. The same place where Fred Hampton was murdered by the CPD and where, during the blizzard of 1979, the L trains were ordered to avoid stopping in black neighborhoods so that they would be on time for the white folk. Discrimination? In Chicago? Forsooth!
Lastly, try walking a mile in the shoes of the citizens of Arizona. We here in Wisconsin aren't being flooded with passport-less Canadians crossing the border and we aren't spending $1.7 billion
per year on dealing with illegal immigrants so it's really easy for us here to merely express outrage and just call for a boycott. To be sure, immigrants are vital to Wisconsin. A whole helluva lot of farms would disappear if it weren't for the new arrivals to these shores. Heck, I'd wager that the future of America is dependent on immigrants. But simply telling people in Arizona that they're assholes for making a mockery of civil rights doesn't address the very real concerns and problems that illegal immigration causes in that state which have essentially been ignored by the federal government under whose purview immigration resides.
So, instead of boycotting Arizona, how about boycotting the Democratic and Republican parties who pay a lot of lip service but haven't done jack shit to address this issue.