Arizona is one of the most beautiful states in the nation. I know because I’ve been there. Arizona is so pretty it almost looks like Mexico, where I spent most of my childhood. I lived in Tucson back in the late ’80s and loved it. One night I watched Mojo Nixon performing at the Congress Hotel, and the next I was walking downtown, listening to Mariachis playing old standards like La Negra and Cielito Lindo. At the mall, I could get a hotdog or a couple of taquitos that were the best I’ve had this side of the border.
Hey Arizona, ¿qué pasó?
The anti-Mexican backlash driven by conservative nut-jobs like Gov. Jan Brewer, former Republican State Sen. Russell Pearce and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, as well as crazy anti-immigrant militias, are turning a great place into the scariest state in the nation. By now, Arizona has surpassed Florida as the wackiest state in the union.
Pearce is the clown who came up with the controversial S.B. 1070 law, which directs police to check on the immigration status of anyone who is suspected of being in the country illegally. It doesn’t take a magnifying glass to see what his law really means: racial profiling. Cops and other government agents, can stop and check the status of any person whose skin is any shade darker than white.
Pearce was voted out of office in what has been called a historic recall election last November. Lesson learned? Maybe, maybe not. One thing Latinos can learn from this is that in this country your vote counts. It gives you power. Think about this during all elections, from the presidential election, to your school board members. It all counts.
Gov. Brewer is one of Pearce’s leading supporters. She’s the one who wagged her finger in President Obama’s face a few months ago, which caused quite a brouhaha. She recently signed an extreme anti-abortion law that will affect women’s health throughout the state, and which critics call dangerous and hostile toward women. The fine governor also passed law HB 2281 which bans ethnic studies, specifically targeting Chicano and Mexican-American classes in Tucson’s school district.
It’s all coming from Maricopa county, the most populous and conservative county in the state. The county suffered unprecedented growth during the recent real estate boom. Builders used cheap labor (I think you know what I mean) to build and sell cheap houses for the white folks who are now voting for the government to get tough on the immigrants who built their houses. What do they really know about the rest of the beautiful state and the wonderful diversity that makes it so unique?
Hell, some say the Chimichanga was invented in Tucson. And where would we be without the Chimi?