Feathered Bastard

Raul Grijalva Urges Boycott of Arizona, and Scott Rasmussen Proves That a Majority of Arizonans Are Bigots

I completely agree with Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva: It's time to punish Arizona. If Governor Jan Brewer refuses to veto state Senator Russell Pearce's bigot bill SB 1070, then those who oppose it need to support an economic boycott of the state.

Tuesday on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, in a segment amusingly entitled "State Out of Mind," Olbermann interviewed Rep. Grijalva, who laid out a plan for a tentative boycott.

"We're asking organizations," he told Olbermann, "civic, religious, labor, Latino, organizations of color to refrain from using Arizona as a convention site, to refrain from spending their dollars in the state of Arizona until Arizona turns the clock forward instead of backwards and joins the rest of the union."

Indeed, Arizona needs to be quarantined from the rest of the nation, isolated and sanctioned until there's a regime change, much like South Africa under apartheid was in the 1980s.

The South under Jim Crow was the same way. The majority of the white, voting population rabidly supported segregation. Only the intervention of the federal government, economic boycotts against businesses that discriminated, and a prolonged Civil Rights Movement finally prevailed over the great mass of Caucasians who wanted the color line to remain intact.

As a son of the South myself, I am very familiar with this phenomenon. I know from prolonged exposure to rednecks that you have to force them into submission, shame them mercilessly, and constantly expose their stupidity for all to see.

To be sure, Rasmussen misrepresented the poll to some degree. The editorial accompanying the poll feigns analysis, saying that 70 percent "of likely voters in Arizona approve of" SB 1070. 

Of course, SB 1070 is never mentioned in the question the pollsters asked, which was, "Do you favor or oppose legislation that authorizes local police to stop and verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant?"

Rasmussen, which is a conservative outlet, asked the right question to elicit the response they wanted. For instance, the survey did not wonder, "Would you approve of the police stopping U.S. citizens on the basis of race, color or nationality and asking to see their papers?" 

The majority may have agreed with this, but it's unlikely Rasmussen would have scored 70 percent this way.

I called Scott Rasmussen himself to inquire about the question the Rasmussenites asked in their poll of 500 likely Arizona voters, and he defended his survey to me.

"This is the key point of the legislation that's been discussed," he stated. "We're not measuring the substance or the quality of the legislation, we're measuring political reaction to it."

He also admitted, casually, that 81 percent of the respondents to his poll were white. Contrast this with the fact that 30 percent of Arizona residents are Hispanic.

But Rasmussen observed that not all of that 30 percent vote. And he's right, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, the percentage of Hispanics voting in the 2008 presidential election in Arizona was 16 percent.

He also pointed out that about 53 percent of those surveyed were either very concerned or somewhat concerned that, in the words of the poll, "efforts to identify and deport illegal immigrants will also end up violating the civil rights of some U.S. citizens."

Thing is, most white folk don't see themselves being the subject of racial profiling by the cops. And if someone else's rights are being violated, that's a whole different barrel of buckeyes than your own rights being violated.

Slavery was not only legal at one time, it was also very popular. People were willing to fight and die for it. And it took the Union victory in the Civil War to end that particular institution.

Nowadays, we can't count on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder waging total war on Sand Land, laying siege to Maricopa County, and taking state Senator Russell Pearce and Sheriff Joe Arpaio prisoner. (Though, we can hope for an indictment against Joe.)

But if Scott Rasmussen is correct, and I think he is, that 70 percent of the voting public are bigots who support an apartheid-like policy, then that 70 percent must be made to feel the boot, at least economically speaking.

Only after prolonged economic suffering will the rednecks in this state relent in their war on the Hispanic people. Meanwhile, those here must work for a regime change, through civil disobedience, protest, and, most importantly, registering Latinos to vote.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons