Sunday, May 02, 2010

Arizona: A State of Hatred

Mami is a Mexican-American. Not just an American, but an American with a qualifier: Mexican. The Great Melting Pot has been showing cracks similar to those in the Liberty Bell for a long time, but now a sledgehammer is making some very serious dents in it.

A sledgehammer blow came on Thursday night, April 29, 2010 when Governor Jan Brewer signed an Act “Relating to unlawfully present aliens”. (The full text of the Act is here in .pdf format.) On the last page of the law it says, “This act may be cited as the ‘Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act’".

Horse manure. Here is the kicker in the Act that gives Arizona lawmen the ability to violate a U.S. citizen's civil rights:
"For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person."
The bolding is mine because these terms are wide open to interpretation both on the street and in a courtroom. Explain to me, for example, what “Beyond a reasonable doubt” means when a judge is instructing a jury. Few, if any, understand it, and that includes yours truly.

Because Mami’s skin color is brown, she is a prime candidate for what boils down to search and seizure of her person. I don’t have to worry about it, though, because my skin color is a sickly, pasty white. This could change sometime in the future, however, if I refuse to salute the neo-Nazi flag.

J.T. Ready (left) and Russell Pearce

This is where the hatred part comes in. State Representative Russell Pearce, who authored the new law, is a friend of J.T. Ready, who in turn is one of Arizona’s leading neo-Nazis. According to an article on Crooks and, “At a June [2010] anti-illegal demonstration at the state Capitol, Ready and Pearce worked the crowd arm-in-arm.”

J.T. Ready, second from right in the suit, at a neo-Nazi rally in Omaha, NB in 2007

A report in the Phoenix New Times on September 9, 2007, had this to say about Ready:
"For anyone who's doubted J.T.'s National Socialist bona fides, especially after he outed himself on, the neo-Nazi MySpace, his participation in this rally is about as blatant as it gets."

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona

Add another hate-monger to the group: Sheriff Joe Arpaio is noted for his unannounced "sweeps” of suspected undocumented immigrants in suspected businesses and drop houses. So unannounced that local police departments are not informed and have no idea what illegal activity by the Sheriff's Department is going on in their own jurisdictions.

USA founder Rusty Childress with Arpaio inside the MCSO's taped-off command post on March 21, 2008

Does Arpaio have ties to neo-Nazi groups? Yes. Arpaio is friends with Rusty Childress, founder of USA, "United for a Sovereign America". When pressed by the New Phoenix Times in an exhaustive report on May 14, 2009, Arpaio said, "Childress is a good guy".

I have barely touched the tip of a filthy iceberg. As I was researching this post one link would lead to another link, immersing me in some very dark and sick corners of the Internet. If you have been following dates of photos and articles, the hatred of our elected officials for those of Latino heritage has been around much longer than the law that purports to be about supporting law enforcement and making our neighborhoods safe. What we have, in effect, is a go to jail free card for anyone with brown skin without any Federal interference.

Criticism of the state of Arizona is more than justified, but don't be fooled. The state of Texas is considering a similar law, and White Supremacist groups thrive in every state of America. For a country that did not recognize black-skinned people as equal humans until 1964, it appears that we are regressing rather than progressing.


hope said...

Dang, that Nazi fellow looks like he ATE everyone who got in his way.

Yep, Lady Liberty is dropping her head in shame. Wish she'd drop that big book on the politicians!

Hmmm, I'm pasty white, with freckles. Wonder what they'll do to me some day?

Fay's Too said...

First of all, I wish you'd told me I wasn't supposed to blog about religion or politics a long time ago. Sheeeeeesh. That exlains a lot.
Secondly, DAMN STRAIGHT, MAN. I'm ashamed of Arizona. I really think we need to raise a major, major stink about this. Who in the world could think this could happen in the US! I'm thinking of becoming a Canadian Jewish priest and moving to Norway.

Lady_Amanda said...

Not all Catholics feel that way. My parish had us sign petitions to let people not yet citizens to stay with their families that were. I live in New York (not the city). My congresswoman actually wrote me and said that she supported the idea. Just to let you know all fifty states don't suck!


Wandering Coyote said...

Well, the news up here certainly didn't cover any iota of a Neo Nazi angle, that's for sure. That's news to me. And very frightening. OK, I'll tell my dad that AZ is off the agenda for a holiday next winter. He can go on his own if he insists.

Unknown Mami said...

Man, when you take the plunge you really take the plunge. Well done!

I had no idea about the background of the author of the bill. Can't say that it makes me feel any better. It really bums me out.

I'm still just shaking my head in disbelief. Sometimes reality is more unbelievable than fiction.

Robert the Skeptic said...

If I avoided politics and religion I'd have half as much to write about. Those are the only two subjects that people have taken issue with me in the comments. Well, that's what they're for! If bloggers put their opinions out there they should expect opposition occasionally.

I did not know about the bill's sponsor having ties to neo-nazis. Why has THAT fact not been put forward by our illustrious Mass Media??

The whole thing is sickening. I sometimes look at the calendar to reassure myself we are really living in the 21st century.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Politics and religion is always best left where you found it Charlie... in this case, on the bottom of your shoe.

Pat said...

Jimmy is right but just BTW I knew the name Joe Arpaio rang an unpleasant bell. I had read about him in the blog Jon's Jail Journal - a Brit who wrote about the inhuman treatment meted out in Arpaio's jail.
This apparently is now a book 'Hard Time' by Shawn Attwood. I wrote about this some time ago in my blog and an American friend pointed out that Arpaio's reign continues because many, many Americans continue to vote for him.

Kim Ayres said...

Us and them. It's always us and them.

The best way to unite "us", is always seems to be to have a "them" to hate.

So differences are the best way to create a "them"

As a child I spent several years in Wales where I was bullied because I was English. There were no blacks of catholics in the area.

A woman I spoke to once from Yorkshire, in England, said when she was a child every kid in the village had at least 10 generations in the graveyard - there were no outsiders at all. So she was bullied because she had red hair.

For all that I love people individually, as a species I often despair of humanity

Tiffin said...

You guys keep acting so darn dopey down there, we may have to build a wall.

What gets me is that your fascist, anti-liberal, anti-thinking right wingers seem to be more cohesive and organised than your intelligent truly liberal folk. Those arses keep doing things like buying tv and radio systems, sponsoring their brand of politicians. Amurca is going to get caught with its pants down and find it has been sitting on an anthill if its folk don't speak up and act against this kind of hatred, Charlie.

Your pinko socialist liberal Canuck friend with health care

p.s. had to delete and repost in order to edit

laytonwoman3rd said...

I'm strongly inclined to avoid religion and politics too, unless I'm absolutely sure of my audience (yeah, that's kind of cowardly, I know). But I'm very glad you chimed in on this issue, Charlie. I knew you'd have something to say about it eventually, and I've been waiting. What a revoltin' development. It's even worse than it appears.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Ooh boy... Thanks for this Charlie.

This new law is very much like our old "sus" laws which in the seventies and eighties were worked in conjunction with a Dulux Paint colour chart (if you were brown enough you got stopped). Even today, black youths and people "who look muslim" are very much more likely to be stopped and searched than even the scallies with the teeth marks in their ears and somebody's blood on their shoes.

(" If we can embrace pedophiles, surely we can embrace Canadian Jews." - WTF!?!?)

Buzzard said...

Wow Charlie, You opened up a can of whip ass today!

Yea, I get a burr up my butt about both these subjects myself, but I hold back from posting.

To go along with that issue, it's now time "they" say that we are officially announce that we are a "Christian" nation. Oops, was that another civil right going down the toilet. What happened to freedom of Religion?

What is happening to our nation when we vote for these bigots and morons?

I can get lost on both subjects for hours.

I need a pill now....

Mary Witzl said...

Is today April Fool's Day? Is this really happening in America? Is this not really some sick joke? Did someone really make that comment about Canadian Jews?

Color me something different from these guys, who take hatred beyond race. We need a Shibboleth or something so we all know each other. Any ideas?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I just do not understand what is happening in your state. It's very very disturbing.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Charlie -
Being a local in the wonderful rouge state of AZ I am very embarrassed - never the less there is hope - we all do not think we live in the "wild west" and can do what ever we darn well please - this is a local perspective which I respect and support from Tempe's Changing Hands book store.

It truly says it all.

I hate to laugh at such a sad situation but the comments.... lol - excellent!