Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I won't go quietly

For over twenty years my parents have lived in Southern Arizona. That's right, in the part of the country that is in the news now because of the new state legislation aimed at pruning immigrants from its midst.

A frequent day trip from my parents' retirement community is to an artsy enclave called Tubac which is about 20 miles away and smack between their home and the Mexican border. Artists have started bemoaning the fact that their business is way down in no small part because of the border patrol posts that create traffic backups as uniformed Homeland Security agents with very dark glasses lean over the drivers' side and check out the passengers.

When they see two tamish white chicks like my Mom and myself, they never ask for any sort of papers and wave us on. I always rail to my mom as she pulls away, threatening to speak Spanish and see what they would do. "How," I always ask, "would they know I'm not Mexican? Since when does my driver's license say anything about my nationality even if they asked for it? They are the worst kind of racial profilers." And on and on. She responds: "Oh, I don't know. Can't we just have a nice outing together?" They make me angry; they could ruin our day.

Now, I am tempted to boycott the road blocks. There are back dusty roads around their posts, I am sure of it. Rattle snakes be damned. Actually, it makes me want to boycott the whole damn state whose Governor Brewer is pandering to the reactionary forces of the state and taking immigration law into its own hands. Of course, they already have a pretty good track record on this in Arizona with sheriffs who proudly display their hatred, racism and fear-mongering on television.

Speaking of reality television and Arizona, a frontpage story today in the New York Times, entitled "Boozy, Bawdy Reality TV, With a Few Wrinkles", tells us about the middle aged "sassy" retirees of Phoenix Arizona who share their meaningless antics, drinking and even their hernia repair operations with the world. All in all, it's not a pretty picture for the state.

In today's New York Times, Linda Greenhouse has an idea. She writes:
Everyone remembers the wartime Danish king who drove through Copenhagen wearing a Star of David in support of his Jewish subjects. It’s an apocryphal story, actually, but an inspiring one. Let the good people of Arizona — and anyone passing through — walk the streets of Tucson and Phoenix wearing buttons that say: I Could Be Illegal.
I'd love one of those buttons. And maybe I will just go down to Tubac, buy some cowboy art and return speaking Spanish. "Ola, que tal, senor?" That's my kind of sass.

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