by David Safier
I've spent countless hours and spilled millions of pixels covering the SB1070 story. I consider it time and pixels well spent. But occasionally I feel a pang of guilt combined with concern over my own political intelligence. Every time I focus on immigration, I feel like I'm pushing the Republican agenda.
I've heard forever that immigration isn't a winning election issue, but you wouldn't know it from listening to Arizona Republicans. Rs are pushing the anti-immigrant agenda big time. Even McCain has gone from co-sponsoring a sane comprehensive immigration reform bill a few short years ago to putting up insane anti-immigrant billboards. What's the slogan at the bottom of his billboards all over the state? Something like, "McCain, securing the Arizona border since 1910." I may have a word wrong here or there, but you get the idea.
And I know why they're running for the border, especially the Republican statewide candidates. They sure can't run on their legislative track record when it comes to things that genuinely affect Arizonans' lives, like cutting education, health care, rest stops, parks and on and on. Immigration is the straw they're grasping at. They're hoping "immigration" is the new "gay marriage" and the new "abortion" rolled into one. It's their current "Don't look at how we've made your lives harder, look over there at what those terrible people are doing!" issue.
Arizona Democrats need to concentrate on how the Republicans have failed this state. No, it's not Janet Napolitano who dug us into this hole. It's the 44 years of Republican rule in the legislature. And they plan to dig us still deeper. Their idea of making things better next term is giving even more tax breaks to corporations. If you think things are bad now, just watch what will happen if they keep all their legislative seats or gain a few more — and send the bills they pass to a Republican governor with a big rubber stamp in her hand.
If they get another four years, trust me, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
So why do I spend so much time on SB1070, and plan to keep it up? Because, damn it, it's a horrible bill, and shutting up about how horrible it is allows the Rs to trumpet their lies unopposed. No, SB1070 doesn't simply mirror federal law. No, SB1070 doesn't forbid racial profiling. No, SB1070 doesn't only affect the lives of people who are undocumented. At its heart, it's hateful, xenophobic, anti-Hispanic legislation, and I plan to keep beating that drum.
I'm not a politician, I'm not running for office, so I can focus my postings wherever I please. But I know, as I continue to write about SB1070, the real election issues are the economy and jobs and education and those kinds of bread-and-butter issues that are about keeping food on people's tables and giving our children a brighter future.