Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Arizona Nine

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Arizona Senate Bill 1070 is a racist writ that forces anyone who might be mistaken for an illegal alien (obviously a brown illegal alien) to carry proof of residency. It is bigoted because it's only purpose is to harass Mexican-Americans. If Canadians, Australians, and Brits were also targets, all of us would have to worry about carrying proof a residency - a de facto state identification card.

This bigoted bill forces underpaid and overworked police officers to assume the additional duties of functioning as immigration officers. It also forces communities to quit serving as sanctuaries to people whose only crime might be that their parents crossed illegally into the United States twenty years ago and brought their children with them.

This shameful piece of legislation has been passed by both houses of the Arizona legislature and is now sitting on Governor Jan Brewer's desk awaiting her signature.

Governor Brewer is being coy about whether she will sign the legislation, let it become law without signing it, or veto it. She will sign it. This is Arizona, after all, where the ignorant rule - and Jan, the consummate politician who inherited her office through default, wants to be elected to her own full term.

But today the bill sits on her desk, focusing national attention on the third-rate governor of a fourth-rate state. Today the bill sits on her desk, and all kinds of people are out in front of the state house protesting. Some of the protesters are loud, some are creative, and many are just angry. There are signs, and stunts, and news crews. It would be a great place to set up a hot dog stand. Running a hot dog stand would put some much needed revenue in the state's coffers, and it would give our lame-brained legislators something productive to do with their time.

According to a report in the on-line edition of today's Phoenix New Times, nine people were arrested at the state house today. Their "crime" was chaining themselves to the state house door in opposition to SB 1070. One activist associated with the group handed out a statement from the Nine that called for "massive and ongoing civil disobedience to be organized all over Arizona and the rest of the nation." The press release continued, "A people can only remain oppressed for so long before they rise from the shadows, from the margins, from oblivion...We chain ourselves to the Arizona State Capitol because nothing else has worked."

Forthright action coupled with elegant prose. The tide of ignorance has to turn somewhere at some time. Why not right here in Phoenix - today!

The Arizona Nine were eventually arrested and hauled off to the 4th Street Jail, the entry point to Joe Arpaio's gulag. These people are heroes: Faviola Augustin, Leilani Clark, Daisy Cruz, Gregorio Montes de Oca, Justine Garcia, Ernesto Lopez, Rubin Lucio Palomares, Jr., David Anthony Portugal, Jr. and Armando Rios. They are in jail tonight for all of us - to protect our Constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and to speak freely.

It is never easy for anyone to get out of Joe's house of horrors, and several people have even died while being incarcerated in Maricopa County. Protest in this city, county, and state is not an easy process, and it can be very dangerous. Those who step forward to protect our rights deserve the respect of all of us.

Arizona Nine - you rock!

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