Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cantlon: So what is this about?

Tom hammers home the obvious point that keeping Mexican tourists away is stupid and particularly counterproductive where you've set a city policy of reliance on tourism. The headline declares that the proposal to expand the border zone "is NOT about illegal entry." What Tom diplomatically leaves out is what the objections of our local pols are really about, and that's racist anxiety.

As I've written many times, the whole "immigration issue" is nothing more than a political strategy to win the votes of frightened and generally older white people, a 21st-century take on the Southern Strategy that turned the Republican Party away from the slow-and-steady, pro-business policies of the first half of the last century to the fire-breathing anti-everything nutbar tournament we see today. At its core is reaction to the civil rights movement and the fear of  The Other, which has extended lately from black folk to anyone who is not white, Protestant, male, over 40 and Republican. (And now you have to be the right kind of Republican, too.)

Until we as a community face up to the poorly disguised racism that passes for policy decisions among our elected leaders and politically involved citizens and start calling it what it is, we cannot hope to see progress in the quality of life here. Prescott and Arizona in general will languish as an intellectual laughingstock, the Alabama of the West, and descend ever further into kookery and ultimately dangerous insularism.

Did you hear the one about Leith, ND, the tiny village where neo-Nazis are trying to stack the population in hopes of creating a new Aryan homeland? The residents uniformly stood up and said no. Our elected officials think that's what they're doing, fighting off the invading brown horde. Rather, we as voters should be standing up, vocally and resolutely, against the idiotic, racist self-destruction in our midst.

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