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The FP post today about the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index prompted this thought: A State, Arizona, for example, is not really a place.

The thought may not be as trivial as it seems at first blush. The way that we think about States and talk and write about them can be skewed when we do so as though some particular State constitutes an individual and distinct place.  States don't, really, but, just like most nations, States are actually amalgams of people and localities that can be and usually are manifoldly diverse and quite different from one another within what ever artificial political boundary has roped them together with, say, their fellow New Yorkers, whatever the hell that means.  

It is undeniably convenient to lump quite different people and localities together for purposes of political administration. Hence, on a political blog like Daily Kos, we talk endlessly about the particular States, and political subdivisions and districts and the country itself . The planet, Earth, itself, is a single place, in some sense, at least if viewed from elsewhere.

Oddly, though, not politically. Earth is certainly a place where mankind has an interest in preserving for human habitation, there being no reasonable prospect of another coming along any time soon. Mankind has an interest, perhaps even an existential interest, as yet not adequately served, of slowing the pace and even reversing the occurrence of dangerous outcomes from Anthropogenic Climate Change. Yet, mankind has not yet found it convenient to recognize Earth as a place.  

However useful may be National, State, County, Municipal and increasing local levels of political organization, these geopolitical realities can also help enable some possibly unintended thinking. For example, don't think for a moment that the arbitrary boundaries that control our politics have much to do with the distribution among us, as people, of things like happiness, unhappiness, love, hate, acceptance, bigotry, smartness, dumbness, honesty, deceitfulness, diligence, sloth, skepticism, gullibility, or any of the other qualities and factors that are probably more important in shaping the people in our personal lives than, simply, their State of residence.

This is why commenters on DK who, for example, rag on Texas as a lost-cause-Red-State-hell-hole, get rebuffed and reminded that Texas isn't just one kind of place with one kind of people. It's many places with lots of different people just like everywhere else, except politically, perhaps. A lot of those people are hard-working progressives trying to make life in Texas better.

Which brings us to the subject of boycotting, as George Takei has proposed, elective travel to Arizona in response to the LGBT etc. discrimination enabling law now on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk.

The subject of travel interests me. I love travel. I have lots of ideas about it and, as I am about to retire, I hope to do more of it. This subject interests me and I find that I have a sort of argument against boycotting Arizona, despite the utter repugnance of the law in question and the possibility that a new Arizona travel boycott could prove very effective politically.

Come out into the tall grass for a discussion.  

As noted, I love to travel. I love to plan trips and am acknowledged by family and friends as a master at it. I also travel lot for business. I know a lot about with whom one does business as a traveler, business or pleasure.

As a traveler, one must always be careful where the money goes, no matter where one travels. But a heck of lot of every travel dollar goes for salaries and tips for taxi drivers, airline clerks, baggage handlers and porters, servers, cooks, food prep workers, drivers, car rental clerks, parking valets and attendants, cashiers, bookkeepers, desk clerks, maids, etc. By exercising care to stay with national chains lacking State corporate affiliations or by seeking out locally owned establishments without apparent repugnant political connections, a lot can be accomplished to keep money out of the wrong hands and still travel in a State proposed for boycott, like Arizona. For every traveler who stays away, some of these people lose money and, maybe, if enough stay away, their jobs. Still, no matter how true it may be, this is a convenient argument against almost any boycott.

So, the real measure of a boycott is whether its objective is important enough to overcome the risk of harm to innocents and to some of the very people whom the boycott would most wish to help. There has been a boycott against Arizona travel for the "papers please" law that, as I see it, was justified. By the same standard, I think the present argument against Arizona travel wins out as well.

When it comes to travel, its one thing when a government, even an ostensibly democratic one, is dictatorial and oppressive to some, even all of its people. It is another when the dictatorial and oppressive government is taking it out, or allowing its people to take it out upon travelers or emigres or particular classifications of them, by religion, race, origin, gender, identity, etc. It is in this second case that a boycott is perfectly acceptable to me.

In cases of the first kind, I have traveled without guilt to the former Soviet Union when it was still the USSR and what Ronald Reagan later called an Evil Empire. I traveled in Hosni Mubarak's Egypt just before he fell. I have traveled in a variety countries with terrible and utterly antidemocratic governments. Some U.S. States, too. But the "papers please" law told people of color to stay away from Arizona. The law gave such travelers a personal stake in staying the hell out of that State. In solidarity, I haven't been there myself and have routed around Arizona for all travel I have planned for anyone else.

The law on Jan Brewer's desk is another bit of the same thing. It sends a clear message to all persons with anything other than a strictly conventional sexual identity or lifestyle to stay the hell away. In solidarity, I support George Takei's proposal to boycott Arizona travel if Governor Brewer doesn't veto the invidious legislation. I apologize to everyone in Arizona's hospitality and transportation sectors for their personal loss from such boycotts and strongly urge them all to take a larger interest in local politics. It may be the one thing they do in their lives that actually may help them live better. Until then, I am sorry that they remain governed by selfish, plutocratic, hateful and deluded buffoons.


If Jan Brewer signs the law

89%65 votes
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| 73 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I boycotted lettuce and grapes. (15+ / 0-)

    The factor that justified that boycott in 1973 was that when Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers called for it, it was being asked by those most to suffer from wage and job loss from the boycott and strike. Lacking other words, I call that a kind of consent.

    But I stand by my original point that every boycott must pass the smell test, given the damage that will be done to ordinary working people by most boycotts. Boycotts work and their targets often suffer badly, but so do bystanders. The boycott must justify its own collateral damage.

    Also, corporations are not people and a State is not a place. States are people but people are different.

    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

    by LeftOfYou on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:10:19 PM PST

  •  If Brewer signs the law I will (10+ / 0-)

    be starting a petition to her. The petition will simply say Fuck You. I hope you will all sign.

  •  Whew! (4+ / 0-)

    Arizonans better not ever talk about Oklahoma again! :)

  •  I don't think Brewer will sign it (5+ / 0-)

    But I don't think this is the last we've heard of this law in Az or another state.  

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

    by Rosalie907 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:54:24 PM PST

  •  I've been boycotting Arizona for years (5+ / 0-)

    Originally, I simply had no interest in visiting.  Then the law requiring people suspected to be illegal to show proof of citizenship, caused me to actively boycott them.  Oh, and I won't go to South Carolina.  Or Louisiana. Or  North Carolina. . . Or Georgia . . . Well, you get the picture.
    And I also boycotted grapes and lettuce in '73.

    If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? When I am only for myself, then what am "I"? And if not now, when?

    by betorah on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:54:31 PM PST

  •  Pink Triangles (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, LeftOfYou

    It is time for ANYONE who is appalled by this discrimination to wear pink triangles.

    [I'm going to miss not being able to visit the Grand Canyon if this law goes into effect.]

    [Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

    by MoDem on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 04:35:36 AM PST

  •  I think your petition should be to the NFL ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Intheknow, jayden

    no Super Bowl in AZ next year if they pass discrimination laws.  

  •  I will Boycott (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, LeftOfYou, oortdust

    Whether she signs it or not. Since as far as I remember from my scanning..

    It was voted on and passed.. so I'm done.

    If it wasn't well ok.

    Anyway, I just changed a travel route I plann to take this summer, to fully avoid AZ, all together. Taking a northern route instead.

    My money speaks too!

    •  I can hear it from here. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oortdust, Skyye

      "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

      by LeftOfYou on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 07:57:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

        Just kind of what I'm down to. They act I act.

        I am done with words, scripts, pivots and really I don't care what any politician Believes in..

        Politician, don't tell me what YOU believe, I vote for you to represent the people of this nation, so ask us, ask for our input.. period

        If they refuse to hear or ask the people and/or cannot afford to represent the people. The I say ok ..step out.. NEXT.

        When we all just focus on what we want, express it clearly and then simply act unemotionally in these matters, it will never reach them.

        The TV is off, no phones(robo calls) no surveys, they can spin in their own mix and I can spend where I my good balanced conscious resonates with joy for the people.

        Easy on my nerves too :)

        •  When (0+ / 0-)

          should have been Until. Sorry can't edit.. One day, I will be a better writer! I just Know it! :^o

          We can quietly come together in our own actions and then as we know, money is now speech, the more the louder.

  •  I have been on an Arizona boycott (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For a while now.  The state is so unwillingly filled with mean spirited evil bigots that I would not think of doing any business with Arizonans.

    Boycotting Arizona is not easy, however.  It has no products worth mentioning.  

    I think Arizona is very beautiful, if you could only overlook its white people.

  •  I LIVE in AZ... (0+ / 0-)

    Been stuck here since 1997.  Help!

  •  As an alternative to a travel boycott, might I... (0+ / 0-)

    suggest a more positive action?  Come visit Bisbee, AZ.  Unlike AZ, Bisbee has passed an ordinance recognizing same sex unions, as well as prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.  And the State Legislature doesn't like it...but it was worded in such a way that they can't do anything about it.  Come rub it in their face.  Check out my past diary, for a little more on the story:

    And this followup, to give you some travel incentive:

    "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

    by Bisbonian on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 12:16:31 PM PST

    •  update to my comment! (0+ / 0-)

      I just got an email from my favorite next-door Congressman  (Next district over)  Raúl Grijalva.

      SB 1062 – the latest atrocity to come from the tea party extremist Republicans in the Arizona State Legislature – arrived on Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk on Monday. This bill, which uses religion as a smokescreen for discrimination and bigotry, literally should have been vetoed yesterday, the day it was sent to the Governor’s desk. Arizona needed a leader to stop this from happening in the first place.

      Arizona’s tea party driven and Republican dominated legislature continues to push harmful legislation aimed at demeaning, marginalizing, and now legalizing the discrimination of communities they deem unacceptable. Earlier this session, they filed a bill to make it illegal for an undocumented person to use public services, including public roads. This latest bill just adds to their intolerant and bigoted agenda.

      The one good thing coming out of this effort is that the majority of Arizona’s business community is standing up in opposition, albeit after this legislation was passed. Now we just need them to stop backing the same people who have turned Arizona into another nationwide spectacle so that we can move past this and get Arizona back on a positive track.

      "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

      by Bisbonian on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 12:31:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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