Rusty Childress' Anti-Immigrant "Remember 1986" Coalition Tries to Like Non-Whites for a Day
That moniker is a reference to the Reagan Amnesty, which ended up legalizing nearly 3 million persons. One of the few good things Ronnie Reagan did while prez.
Did the country do a tailspin because close to 3 million people were legalized? Nope. Life kept chugging along like it always does. The Earth didn't open up and swallow the nation. No raining frogs or blood boiling in the street.
Instead, 3 million people came out of the shadows and eventually were granted the necessary papers to work and live without fear, either a green card or a visa for temporary work.
For anti-immigrant clods like Childress, though, 1986 was annus horribilis, because a lot of non-white people were allowed to become permanent residents, and eventually, citizens.
And if 1986 was bad for the haters, you better believe 2013 could be a lot worse in their eyes, as some 12 million brown folk could be legalized if there's comprehensive immigration reform.
Which is why Childress is back in business. Of course, he had to drop the name of his former group United for a Sovereign America, as it had been repeatedly linked to racists and neo-Nazis. Kid-killer J.T. Ready and old-time Stormtrooper Elton Hall being two of the latter.
But as I noted in a recent blog, Remember 1986 is beginning to have some of the same problems U.S.A. had. Its events draw enraged extremists, minutemen who like to hunt Mexicans in the desert, and, apparently, the occasional neo-Nazi.
An excellent tutorial on BALA, FAIR and the so-called "Tanton network," by the pro-immigration group Cuentame
Enter the We Are America Tour, an event at the Arizona Capitol on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., that Remember 1986 is co-sponsoring along with the Black American Leadership Alliance, an offspring of the national nativist group Federation for American Immigration Reform.
BALA and the We Are America Tour are part of a longstanding effort by FAIR and other groups in its orbit to appeal to African-Americans and, sometimes, even "progressives" and environmentalists.
Rev. Peterson thinks slavery was a good thing and African-Americans need to work on plantations again. No joke.
A lawyer, Durant was at one time employed by the Immigration Reform Law Institute, FAIR's legal think-tank, which is tasked with writing anti-immigrant legislation. (Note: FAIR is promoting Saturday's event on its website.)
According to a speaker's list posted by Remember 1986, Durant will be on hand Saturday. But she's pretty tame by comparison to some of the others scheduled to be there.
Take the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, whose calling card is making outrageous statements, such as his referring to Trayvon Martin as a "thug" while a guest of CNN's Piers Morgan, or telling the Huffington Post that, if he had his druthers, he would "take all black people back to the South and put them on the plantation so they would understand the ethic of working."
Peterson's also been quoted as saying, "Thank God for slavery," and comparing passage on a slave ship to a non-first class airplane ride.
"The ride over was pretty tough but you know, it's like riding on a crowded airplane when you're not in First Class," Peterson, an African-American, says in an infamous YouTube recording. "It's a tough ride. But you're happy when you get to your destination."
He's not too hot on women either, opining in one video for his organization Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND) that, "one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote."
Peterson and Durant will be joined by local nativists, such as disbarred, disgraced former Maricopa County Attorney and gubernatorial candidate (or in his case, "goober-natorial") Andy Thomas, and recalled two-time loser Russell Pearce, erstwhile mentor to the aforementioned neo-Nazi J.T. Ready.
Also on the roster is failed GOP Congressional candidate Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, who was clobbered in last year's general election contest for CD 3 by Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva.
Mercer ran into trouble, when, during the election, she gave an interview to a conservative website, in which she went off on folks from the Middle East, asking, "So why do we want them here, either legally or illegally?"
Though Governor Jan Brewer had endorsed Mercer, Brewer backed out of a big fundraiser for the congressional hopeful, shortly after Mercer stuck her foot in her mouth.
Our old pal Jose Borrajero of the Arizona Latino Republican Association, or ALRA, is listed as a speaker as well.
Does anyone remember Olivia Cortes, the sham candidate that the pro-Pearce crowd put forward in 2011 as a way of siphoning off Hispanic votes from Pearce's recall opponent Jerry Lewis?
I know, it seems like a million years ago.
Borrajero, whose distinctive baritone is reminiscent of Dos Equis' "Most interesting Man in the World," denied this when I first confronted him. Later, he admitted doing the deed to another outlet.
There are also a couple of persons slated to speak who, at least on paper, seem as if they should know better. One of these is Dr. C.T. Wright, president of the governing board for the Fountain Hills Unified School District.
Wright runs the non-profit Light of Hope Institute, which espouses views that would seem to be at odds with the likes of Rusty Childress.
Politics and odd bedfellows, I suppose.
Diversity will be a new thing for the Childress crowd. But, hey, it's just for one Saturday morning. Then they can go back to hating on non-Anglos, per usual.
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