Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce Apologist Linda Bentley's Denial of Guilt Over J.T. Ready

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In addition, some of these individuals were present at a June 16, 2007 anti-immigration rally where Ready spoke. In the case of Galeener, I have a photo of him there. 

Was Bentley present for that speech? Did she applaud Ready's blueprint for American fascism, as did Pearce, state Representative John Kavanaugh, and many of the other nativists present?

I don't know. I do know that Pearce worked the crowd with Ready that day, even though he'd been warned of Ready's unsavory affiliations in 2006 by ADL regional director Bill Straus. Pearce did not publicly disavow Ready until August of 2008, and only then because of pressure from fellow Republicans.

The handout of literature Bentley mentions was in January of 2008. See, Ready had been a GOP precinct committeeman since 2006.

In September of 2007 Ready was photographed in Omaha, Nebraska demonstrating with members of the National Socialist Movement. I posted it to my blog about a week after it happened.

It was only after Ready's extremism was exposed numerous times that he became radioactive. (Gaines, for instance, blocked Ready's participation in a 2009 event.) Even then, I suspect many nativists agreed with his activities rounding up illegal immigrants in the desert and his repeated calls for land mines on the border.

Why did Bentley write this column? After all, no one who observes the facts dispassionately is going to buy that Pearce and the other nativists separated themselves from Ready as soon as they found out what he was involved in. That took awhile.

The key is in her line about Sonoran News covering the nativist rallies Ready spoke at. That is a glimmer of guilt, one Bentley and her fellow nativists have to suppress mercilessly, mainly to salve their own consciences.

That's because Bentley and her nativist cohorts helped create a climate of hate in Arizona that led to the rise of avowed racists such as Ready. This environment fostered the deeds of individuals like minutewoman and kid-killer Shawna Forde and white-on-brown murderer Gary Kelley.

I'm not saying Bentley and her buddies approve of the heinous acts these three committed. But they bear some responsibility for the bigotry that has consumed this state. And it's because of that inkling of a conscience that they're so quick to rationalize away their own culpability.

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