Shame on Arizona

by Rob Horning

25 April 2010

 

When I used to live in Tucson, I often passed the billboard on I-10 on the way to Phoenix: “Get U.S. out of the UN”—a message from the John Birch Society. It was a way quaint legacy from Arizona’s time in the political looney bin in the 50s and 60s—or at least so I thought.

Perhaps longing for the days when Barry Goldwater made the state’s name a byword for egregious right-wing hysteria, or perhaps yearning for the opprobrium it earned when it refused to recognize a national holiday for Martin Luther King, Arizona recently passed a shameful, racist law empowering law enforcement to hassle anyone suspected of being an immigrant, forcing them to show their papers, just like Nazis in hackneyed WW II movies. I’m sure that is an appealing part of the fantasy for the nativist bigots who support this legislation. Anyway, I think a boycott is probably a good idea, for reasons Michael Yaki (via Atrios) explains here.

Boycotts are not lightly entered into or lightly considered. But Arizona has set itself apart from the rest of the nation. It has authored a law that, in effect, creates a system reminiscent of apartheid for persons of Latin American descent. How many American hispanics will want to be walking the streets of Mesa at night.

The state has become a national embarrassment.

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