Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Home Vs. Home

Arizona Desert Landscape

Not long ago, the Boston City Council voted to boycott Arizona. It is a strange move for a city to boycott a state. The idea is that the Boston City Council oppose the implications of SB1070 and the other ridiculous, racist laws AZ continues to pass, as they rightfully see such laws as discriminatory and promoting racial profiling. These are certainly not Bostonian ideals and, even in a year when Scott Brown could get Ted Kennedy's seat, the Massachusetts ethos remains largely progressive, well-educated, and, to put it bluntly, modern. You would never see the kind of legislative foolishness you see in Arizona in Massachusetts. 

Then, yesterday, I heard on the radio that the city of Worcester is also considering boycotting Arizona. My heart couldn't help breaking a little. I feel caught between Worcester and Tucson, two places I love and identify with. While I hate SB1070 and the other stupid laws as much as every thinking person possibly could (and should), I can't help but feel that boycotting Arizona is not the answer. I understand that it is morally unjustifiable to give money to a place that commits civil rights abuses, and I'm not saying that a boycott of Arizona will never be justified, but it's too soon.  A glance at the news in the Arizona Republic or AZ Daily Star immediately reveals that many, many, many Arizonans despise the laws that our ridiculous, bigoted legislature is passing as much as the rest of the country. 

I think most people remember a time in elementary school when the whole class was punished for the actions of one or few classmates. All the good students keenly felt the injustice and understood that it was the bad kids' fault, not their own, but what was the point?  The good kids couldn't control the bad kids. The result wasn't an overall class improvement, just a unnecessarily sour memory for some good students. If all we progressives in Arizona had to worry about was sour memories, I might support the boycott, but we have much more to contend with. Our schools are already failing. The state superintendent, Tom Horne, is a world-class idiot. He is also the single least qualified person for any position I have ever seen. I think just seeing a school from a distance would give you more insight into education than that man possesses. He is criminally unqualified for the job, but all anyone needs to do to get elected in Arizona is dislike Mexicans. 

If you don't live in Arizona, and you hate the racist laws passed here, come and march with us in Phoenix. Donate badly needed money to an Arizona school or educational program. Support organizations and legal efforts that aim to undo the terrible mistakes of our fascist legislature, but don't punish me and my wife and all those progressive men and women who live here.  Don't take money out of our already dying economy as that hinders our already beleaguered education system and God knows Arizona needs nothing more desperately than a decent education system.    

If, in the Fall, Arizonans elect more fascist pigs to state government positions and courts uphold these terrible, racist laws, boycott away.  Put please, at least say you're firing before you shoot.


BuzzOrHowl said...

I hear what you're saying, but disagree. These people (and by that I mean white people with too much time on their hands) don't care about marches, they care about money. Marching probably strengthens their resolve and grand delusion that they're the last bulwark before uppity scofflaws take away their birthright. Loss of income, however, is something that can be understood by the incurious materialistic types who I see supporting this law. So I say, Boycott Arizona!

Eric said...

I've struggled with whether or not I support a boycott. I think you're totally right about how the pro-SB1070 folks will react to protest vs financial pressure, but I think it's too soon to punish innocent Arizonans, particularly as a legal challenge might rid us of the law anyways. I think there's a place for a boycott, but more as a last resort. I can see how an immediate could put pressure on people to make the right choice sooner rather than later, though, so I understand that position too.