It's being suggested that conventioneers, entertainers, even spring training for major league baseball boycott Arizona because of the unprecedented immigration law that just passed. Given the number of Latino players from Mexico, South America, Puerto Rico, etc., it should be interesting next spring, particularly if any of them are stopped at random. Any thoughts from writers? Should we avoid events, signings, etc., in Arizona as a protest? I recently blogged my thoughts about the law at: http://open.salon.com/blog/christopher_valen
I work at Ft. Huachuca, and they're already doing this. They have an aerostat in the air most days, surveilling the border and watching for smuggling activity. You can see it from 50+ miles away on most days.
What I say has no impact, as publishers are lining up in droves not to buy any of my novels, and I live in Maryland, so Arizona is a little off my usual path, but I'm a big believer in the power of small discrete actions that multiply into something effective. People forget this when they see an election with 80,000,000 votes. It's not two blocks, one of 45 million votes and one of 35 million. It's 80 million individual, discrete actions.
I'm willing to go another step: what about a boycott of Arizona products? They want to endorse un-American behavior? Fine. We'll buy things made elsewhere. or sold elsewhere. Get the Chamber of Commerce involved, since they seem to have forgotten how many folks might be sneaking across the border because there are employers looking for them.
I am not right wing. I'm not even a Republican. I think Mexicans have as much right to live and work in Arizona and California as Mexican-Americans and Americans. Illegal? My ass. That part of the world WAS Mexico 150 years ago. Until we grabbed it. I'm just saying a bunch of desperate Arizonians tired of paying for others' free services are not comparable to Nazis.
Understood. Never thought you were the least bit right wing, and I get that there's obviously a serious problem that people are legitimately upset about. But this law will do nothing to address it, and is really a cynical attempt to placate the nativists while keeping the economic structures that are the root of the problem in place. Ultimately it just makes undocumented workers that much easier to exploit--so it's completely, despicably cynical.
One footnote to the discussion. One-third of Arizona's economy is dependent on trade with Mexico. The state is already in huge financial trouble. The Mexican President has issued a statement of outrage over the legislation. This serves as a classic example of the "law of unintended consequences." Arizona will suffer financially and soon . . . and the illegal immigration problem will not be solved.
International Colombian singer/songwriter Shakira is coming to Arizona to speak against the legislation. In the 90s, the NFL moved the Super Bowl from Phoenix after the state refused to honor the Martin Luther King holiday. The boycott in the 90s cost just the city of Phoenix over $300 million in lost revenue. Finally, the mayor of Phoenix has announced he is seeking an immediate injunction and filing a lawsuit against his own state. And so it begins.
People scream about living in high taxation states, but if you refuse to spend taxes for basic services, every face that didn't come out of your neighborhood is the enemy. Arizona is a snow bird state and retirees got theirs and are fighting to keep what they got. So the schools are overwhelmed, the trauma centers are overwhelmed, the state park system just closed 75% of their state parks. It's easier to focus on those outsiders as the cause of all our problems, but taxpayers of Arizona, ya get what you pay for.
Yes, the state park system just closed a lot of parks, I'm sure they'll start cutting back on highway repairs soon, and no doubt early release of violent felons is just around the corner. But you know what? I'll bet the state still has a fully-staffed office of diversity management, a wide range of sexual harassment sensitivity training programs, government forms in Vietnamese and Arabic, touchy-feely anger management classes for state employees, and probably even a global warming official or two. You don't get what you pay for. You get what the politicians WANT you to pay for.
Arizona is definitely NOT ALONE in this. Every state (and for that matter, almost every city) is overloaded with these frivolous expenses stuck in there by politicians to satisfy their political-correctness urges. So whenever they talk about "cutting government spending", what they really mean is "raising taxes yet again to pay for our next round of little things we want to force down your throats". Closing parks, releasing criminals from prison, neglecting roads--these are not things they want to do to "cut spending", they're clubs over the heads of citizens so the citizens will capitulate to higher taxes.
And by the way, everyone here seems to think the Arizona immigration law is stupid. What is truly stupid is what caused it in the first place, the utter lack of federal control over our own borders.
Mike--so you're saying diversity officers and sensitivity trainers are bankrupting Arizona? They're responsible for arizona's 3.2 billion dollar deficit? Damn--those gigs must pay a lot better than I thought; sounds like I'm in the wrong line of work.
As for the feds' failure to control the border with Mexico: it's 1,969 miles long. How do you propose they go about "controlling" it, short of declaring martial law in the border states?
Jon, diversity officers and sensitivity trainers aren't bankrupting Arizona, obviously, but neither are parks, libraries, police departments, violent felons in prison, or fire departments, yet those are always the first expenses on the block for the politicians who claim they are being forced to "cut spending". My point is that libraries, police protection, and the imprisonment of violent felons are far more critical and desirable by the taxpaying public than diversity offices and sexual harassment sensitivity programs.
How do I propose going about controlling the border? You can do it far short of declaring martial law. Put the National Guard on the border as they did a few years ago. It worked. Those areas patrolled by the Guard were plugged up and the illegal activity was moved elsewhere. And no, putting the Guard on the border did not equate to martial law. They were not in control of society along the border, and did not even have the power of arrest. They only were allowed to inform the Border Patrol of illegal activity. Amnesty is not the answer. Securing the border is. And every country has the right to secure its own borders.
In most states you've got two major budget items: corrections and higher ed. In higher ed 80% of the expense comes from personnel costs: salaries and benefits. In our experience here in Wisconsin, higher ed is always the first place politicians look to cut--corrections typically the last. The result is that the state's contribution to the UW system budget is down from 40% to less than 20% at some schools since the late 1970s; meanwhile the corrections budget has more than doubled in the last ten years. We'd rather incarcerate a bunch of non-violent drug offenders (the majority of our prison population) than educate our kids. Go figure. Same in California but with bigger numbers. Nevada is also cutting the living shit out of the UN schools--my brother teaches at UN Reno and has just taken another job at the U of Nebraska because he was worried his department would be eliminated. Eliminated! They always cut higher ed first, then the same assholes complain about the rising cost of tuition. Duh.
You propose controlling parts of the border, which just kicks the problem down the road to somebody else's neighborhood. Any idea how many National Guard troops it would take to secure all 2000 miles of the Mexican border? Or how much that would cost? Me neither. Instead, let's do something that actually makes sense and go after the people who creat the problem in the first place by hiring undocumented workers.