It is not irony that I have waited until May 5, Cinco De Mayo, to publish this post. I really wanted to avoid commenting on SB 1070, the most volatile issue anyone in Arizona has to contend with at the present time. It stinks in so many ways, because the problem of illegal immigration should have been taken care of ages ago so Arizona and its people would not be in the situation it is in now. It stinks because it affects everyone and is an issue that people really get fired up about, sparking some heated debate and a lot of ill will.
Will I piss off some people with this post? Probably. Do I care? Probably not. Apathy is a useful emotion sometimes.
THE PRO SIDE
Those of you that know me know exactly how I feel about illegal immigration. However, if you do not know, here is the skinny from Tfronky’s perspective. I wholeheartedly support LOGICAL legislation to help this country get the problem of illegal immigration squared away. And yes my friends, there is a definite problem.
I agree the process of becoming a legal citizen is too long an ordeal, too antiquated and causes a lot of well-meaning people to bypass what is right and just stay in this country without doing the right thing. If I was in the same situation I am sure I would be inclined to say “screw it” as well. That does not make disobeying the law an okay thing. If you live here illegally, you are wrong. That much is black and white.
I joke around a lot in regards to immigration and in regards to the stereotypes surrounding my heritage. But do not let my humor distract you from the facts. I am proud of my heritage. I am better as an adult than I ever was growing up about studying the history of the country of Mexico. However, the fact that I am part of the 9th generation of people in my family to have been born and raised in this country leads me to qualify 100% as an American in regards to nationality. I am proud of who and what I am in that respect.
I do not believe it is okay to live in this country and not speak English when out in the general public. I do not believe society has an obligation to cater to me or anyone else in that respect, and I am proud of the fact that I was taught early in my childhood that I had a responsibility to be fluent in English. I have many issues with the fact that the current generation of children are being taught by their parents, many of those parents around my age, that the opposite is okay. I ran into that on too many occasions when I was working in the education system.
I do not believe it is okay to boycott places of employment or institutions, walk out of a school if you are a high school student and fly the Mexican flag above the flag of the United States of America. I definitely do not believe it is okay to do all these things, then turn around and demand free health care, capitalize on free lunch programs at schools, free programs that the City of Phoenix and other cities in this state offer, simply because one is of “Hispanic” heritage.
The lack of a truly protected border had led to an increase in crime in this state. There is no denying that as a fact. I drive in fear everyday that I will be smashed into by an individual that is in the U.S. illegally and be left to completely fend for myself in regards to repairs, even it the other party was at fault. It happens everyday people.
I guess from everything I have written so far it is obvious I 100% support SB 1070. WRONG!
THE CON SIDE
First of all, just like pretty much anything that is written by politicians, SB 1070 had several flaws in it from the get-go. A lot of people came out strongly against Governor Brewer for signing the bill into law. Personally, I think the only thing she did wrong was sign the original version of it. To her credit she did sign a revised version a few days later that made an attempt to stifle the overwhelmingly loud opposition, but the damage was already done.
A strong law in Arizona is needed! Let’s get that straight first of all people. To ignore the fact that there is a problem with illegal immigration is simply asinine. However, it would be nice if some better logic was put into place when this effort came to light to “solve” things.
I applaud the effort that State Senator Russell Pearce and others put into the creation of SB 1070. Seriously. The federal government was not doing anything concrete to alleviate things, so people in office in the state took matters into their own hands. I do not applaud the end result.
The people involved in the creation of Senate Bill 1070 can try to claim all they want racial profiling was not written into the bill. It is absurd that they would try to make that claim, because the original version of SB 1070 made racial profiling a vital part of the bill, whether by design or accidentally.
Racial profiling has existed in this state for years. Deny it all you want, but I know first-hand it exists and has for at least a decade. Back in 1999 I was living in the northwest part of the Valley, around 61st Avenue and Happy Valley. This was a brand new community at the time, and the area was definitely one where a higher class of people lived, so let’s just say the fact a Mexican that drove a 1970 Malibu Chevelle was a bit out of place.
One night I exited the I17 freeway at Happy Valley and proceeded west to my residence. There was very little in terms of housing or anything for that matter on Happy Valley back then, so when I passed the Circle K at 35th Avenue and Happy Valley it was easy to notice that a police car began to follow me. If you have ridden with me you know full well I drive like a sissy and never speed, so the fact this cop car followed me to 59th Avenue, turned south when I did, and followed me all the way to my residence made it pretty clear they noticed “someone brown” driving a beat-up Chevelle in a predominantly “white” area. They stayed close to me until they saw me pull into my driveway and saw the garage door open. At that point they finally realized that yes, I had every “right” to be in that area.
Sorry folks. If that is not racial profiling, then I do not know what is, and I am willing to believe the two gentlemen in that car do not have the education I do, nor a degree in English like I do.
Contrary to what people believe, I do not necessarily feel some of the strong advocates of this bill are necessarily racist. Perhaps some are, but that is an issue those individuals have to contend with on their own. Race has played too big a role in this entire affair. People have lost focus on the fact that SB 1070 is designed to address ILLEGAL immigration. It simply has become a sensitive issue in regards to “Hispanics” (a term I DESPISE by the way) since there is such a high percentage of Mexicans that live in this state.
The bill was poorly written, the execution of it even worse, and the end result is a situation far too similar to what happened in the state of Arizona back in the late eighties and early nineties. I was born and raised here, and remember very well when Governor Evan Mecham was in power and when Arizona refused to initially recognize the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. The state suffered quite a bit, losing several conferences visiting Arizona and of course, losing the opportunity to host Super Bowl XXVII. It was not a good time to live here, as Arizona was the butt of many jokes, plus a lot of hatred and disdain from other states. It is already happening again folks.
I wish I had a good, concrete answer how to solve things. I really am torn on the whole issue, for I support the need for something to be done to curtail the influx of illegal immigration into the state I have called home for all 41+ years of my life. But I cannot believe we have failed so miserably once again to solve things and made ourselves the laughing-stock of the nation for a second time.
Think about all this long and hard today my friends. If you are one of those planning on partying hard today since it is Cinco De Mayo, remember that it is not even Mexican Independence Day. This is a made-up holiday so people have an excuse to go out and get hammered. How pathetically lame is that.
Remember this if you have Mexicans doing your yard for you because it is work you would rather not do. Remember this as you go to your local McDonald’s or other places of business and see many employees that you would stereotype as illegal aliens. There are too many people in this state that will make negative comments about that, but think about this. Is that a job you are willing to do?
To those of you that complain that illegal aliens steal jobs from Americans, you are full of it. Undocumented immigrants take jobs that too many Americans feel they are “above” taking. I know plenty of people who have been unemployed for some time now, yet when I remind them of just how many jobs are available out there the response generally is something like “oh, no way would I work a job like that.”
If you feel you are entitled like that, then YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM! I was unemployed for six weeks when I was laid off December 10, 2009. I put applications and resumes out everywhere, including places where my having a college degree was not even a factor in whether I would get hired or not. But you know what? Unlike many people, I did not have that hubris telling me I was “above that kind of work.” I just wanted to work, somewhere! I replaced someone who is full of that kind of hubris, someone who feels he is entitled, someone who feels everyone owes him something.
One of my high school coaches, and one of my best friends today, taught me years ago there are three types of people in this world. You either lead, follow, or get the hell out-of-the-way. If you feel you are entitled and are helping to contribute to the problems facing this state today, then get the hell out-of-the-way.
These are tough times people. I do not have a solution, but I must have faith that our state and federal elected officials will be able to intelligently solve this crisis. That is what we face as Americans living in a republic. We elect our officials and pray good, logical decisions are made that will benefit all people. If you think we live in a democracy, you need to re-take senior year government and re-educate yourself. Seriously.
If this post pissed you off, I cannot say I will apologize for doing so, but I do hope it will inspire you to read and educate yourself on SB 1070. Make an educated decision on your own, rather than just be a useless sheep and follow what others say based on political affiliation.
Cheers! (not literally just because it’s Cinco De Mayo)
SOME LINKS TO PERUSE FROM BOTH PERSPECTIVES:
So Much Silence – Phoenix New Times Puts Out Call for Protest Songs
Article in the Phoenix New Times Regarding the Victory of Russell Pearce
ESPN Article Regarding the Phoenix Suns