Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has now signed Senate Bill 1070. Our state has cruelly used immigration to codify the shadowy subtext of racism .
There is a certain inevitability given the woeful heritage of Arizona’s state political leadership. This is the state that brought us Evan Mecham and Fyfe Symington, poster children for ineptitude and crime in the governor’s office.
This is the state whose political leaders decided not to honor Martin Luther King Day until the groans of national disgust grew too loud to ignore.
The tawdry behavior the Arizona State Senate demonstrated in passing this debasing bill should not come as a surprise. We are chronically mismanaged. Enlightened leadership is a rarity.
Other states attract investment, incubation, and innovation. Arizona attracts scornful glare.
A Republican State Representative from Yuma, Bill Konopnicki, says it best.
“We are going to look like Alabama in the ’60s.”
A spirited strand of what was once admirable frontier self-reliance has mutated into a mean brand of politics. Fear has trumped tolerance. Ignorance has edged aside enlightenment.
The essential search for a more meaningful solution to our complex immigration issues has been replaced by a reactionary law that is mean, harsh, and of questionable effectiveness.
Moderates in the Arizona Republican Party who should know better have allowed their fringe not only to seize control, but to once again steer the state off the rails.
And Arizona business leaders don’t seem terribly interested.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry declared a neutral position on SB 1070. A sadder example of turning one’s corporate back on civic responsibility is difficult to imagine. The Arizona business community has shown that it lacks the guts, knowledge, or interest, to take a stand.
Corporate leaders we would typically expect to bring a measured voice of reason to the discussion have fallen silent.
So let’s say Intel is talking to Srinath Singh about relocating to its facility in Chandler, Arizona. Why should Srinath willingly plunge his family into a community where his daughters can be stopped on the sidewalk by any policeman and ordered to offer proof of legal entry into America?
It is stunning to consider this absence of a stand from the Arizona business community on SB 1070. This is not the stuff growth is made of. The obvious lack of pressure on the Republican Party to pursue a more moderate position is troubling.
In the end, all we are left to consider are the lessons of history. And Arizona SB 1070 brings three to mind.
This legislation, written with the ink of bigotry, is clearly so flawed that its first meaningful and inevitable judicial challenge will wipe it off the books.
Politicians such as Russell Pearce only grab power when more moderate voices are silent.
And once again, Arizona has hurt itself. The perceptions of the rest of America, and now that we are all so connected, the rest of the world, cannot help but wonder what is so wrong here and why.