The recent passage of Arizona's racist S.B. 1070 law has produced a firestorm of wrath; boycotts for visits to the state as well as products and services originating in the state have been legion. Populist wrath can be swift but there is depth to this response - House Progressive Caucus head Raúl Grijalva has himself called for pressure on the businesses in his already stressed home state.
I take a little different view on this delightful new law and the other service Arizona in general, and John McCain in particular, have rendered our great nation. Go ahead and bristle, but check below the fold for the specific nature of my gratitude.
First and foremost, thank you John McCain. Sarah Palin would have gone down in a cloud of dust and indictments worthy of an Illinois governor had she not been elevated to the national stage by a shaky, panicked McCain team during the 2008 Presidential election. Positively prescient in selection, McCain's choice has left the nation with an impulsive, irresponsible, corrupt, photogenic 'leader' of the born again Know Nothing party. Democratic candidates have to proceed carefully when prompted for their views on Alaska's half term governor; too much glee would be unseemly.
The recently passed S.B. 1070 is a Sarah Palin-like piece of legislation; unlawful when compared to constitutional standards, directly offensive to half of Arizona, idiotic in the eyes of half of Republicans on the national level, and fodder for motivational speech of the first order to Democrats everywhere. Boycotts of the already stressed businesses in the state began at once and many which would have failed no matter what given our current economic mess will now be blaming their failure on the 32 members of their legislature who brought this shame upon the state.
The brewing third in the trifecta of fail, Tea Party Senatorial candidate J.D. Hayworth, won't truly begin to deliver unless elected, but let's consider what one seditionist Senator might be able to do. Secret blocks on everything? Check. Real live reading the phone book filibusters? Check. Leaking lunacy, a constant distraction in the news cycle, a vehicle for the nutty 5% of America to thwart the will of the other 95%? Check. The cherry on top would be the 2012 wingnut Presidential dream team of Palin/Hayworth being caught in the midst of a horizontal debate on the vertical integration of religious teachings throughout our public education system. Don't even try to visualize who comes out on top - because our nation would never recover.
Now I'm grateful to Arizona for providing us Sarah Palin, personifying the incompetence and certainty of religious fanaticism in a package the media just can't leave alone. And I'm thrilled by the service the Arizona legislature has done, dragging the immigration reform issue out front and center in a fashion that none can ignore. But I'm not sure the nation can stand six years of willful misgovernance led by J.D. Hayworth and cheered on by every right wing extremist group that has slipped inside the Tea Party's wire.
Yeah, that's no joke, they've got Klansmen, Storm Front, militant militia; every form of reactionary, regressive, racist slime you could imagine, and their leadership is struggling to deal. Fox News ginned up the Tea Party and now are a bit puzzled that their creation has taken on a life of its own. RNC operatives launched the Tea Party Express, which was promptly sniffed out and disdained by their rank and file. The real Tea Party, as the dust clears, seems to be the Republican base; white, middle aged, educated, and mad beyond recovery at the betrayal they've faced at the hands of the wealthiest 1%, but as yet unwilling to see that their ideology is the cause of the grief rather than any sort of solution.
I'm also grateful on a small, personal scale for the opportunity Arizona provides. Spedwybabs volunteered to help with Netroots outreach for the Democratic Senate campaign in Arizona. I'm up on these happenings because I'm sitting in the passenger seat, listening to her cackle Wicked Witch of the West style, as she and I get various bits of news as we make our way towards D.C. and The Great Skulk, a long awaited Progressive non-media event.
Oh, we could try and get the media to pay attention to the historic birthing of a new media channel driven by citizen journalists, and of the bones of a Progressive machine beginning to flesh out as more and more of the primary action and young, rising candidates start using the (loosely) coordinated group that began forming at Netroots Nation last year. But why would we waste our time? If 200,000 immigration reform marchers get ignored in favor of fewer than a thousand kooks cursing and spitting on heroic, long serving Congressmen during the health care vote do you really think they'd cover such things?
We don't have any massive march planned ... we're just skulking. It's nothing but quiet meetings with calculating organizations and political figures. Netroots support is part of the reason Bart Stupak is already gone. Netroots support will be key in John Bottorff's removal of Blue Dog policy chair Baron Hill. And if we're going to propel Rodney Glassman into the Senate seat, Terry Goddard into the governor's mansion, and a platoon hopeful State House candidates into the Arizona legislature we're going to have to provide the new media close air support to back their ground game.
While I've been writing this Spedywbabs has hunted up all of the Arizona candidates ... and Act Blue uptake for our Turn Arizona Blue effort is spotty. If you're an Arizona resident can you start the outreach, letting these people know that their little State House race is now a great big national issue, and that we'll be providing assistance on the regular to the entire Arizona Democratic Party?
The Fine Print: Progressive PST gets paid by some of the campaigns mentioned here for social media support work: Rodney Glassman in Arizona, Baron Hill primary challenger John Bottorff in Indiana 9, Connie Saltonstall in Michigan 1
Annabel Park and Eric Byler, the founders of the Coffee Party, filmed a movie entitled 9500 Liberty, the story of the disaster that befalls a single community in Virgina that tried what Arizona is attempting on a statewide basis.
Prince William County, Virginia becomes ground zero in America’s explosive battle over immigration policy when elected officials adopt a law requiring police officers to question anyone they have "probable cause" to suspect is an undocumented immigrant.
9500 Liberty reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government, targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the Internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens. Alarmed by a climate of fear and racial division, residents form a resistance using YouTube videos and virtual townhalls, setting up a real-life showdown in the seat of county government.
The devastating social and economic impact of the “Immigration Resolution” is felt in the lives of real people in homes and in local businesses. But the ferocious fight to adopt and then reverse this policy unfolds inside government chambers, on the streets, and on the Internet. 9500 Liberty provides a front row seat to all three battlegrounds.