The David in our own City Council may have launched a good sized-stone at Goliath bullies in Arizona when it first decided to impose a ban on trade with Arizona and then backed up its bravado recently by rejecting an Arizona bid on affordable housing units for replacement of 20 city-owned units at Mountain View Mobile Home Park. The order will instead go to Golden West Homes, a Southern California manufacturer based in Ferris. Ka-pow! Right in the “trailer”, Arizona… although these new homes will be several modern steps away from anything that used to be called a “trailer.”
The action comes as a statement and reaction from the Council and thus our city to Arizona’s recently passed immigration law which requires police to check the immigration papers of those they suspect might be in the country illegally. As Katherine Peach reported in last week’s edition of the Mirror, that new Arizona law is viewed as requiring “a wealth of racial profiling, undermines federal immigration law, and ignores due process and equal protection.” Oh, and it’s also an embarrassment to all Americans.
Our City Council has opted to hurt Arizona for its hasty and ugly decision by hitting where it can hurt the most right now: In Arizona’s wallet. And for dessert, the recent decision will also save Santa Monica $35,000.
Just a few weeks ago, this column discussed individual initiative and fair play as represented by keeping in mind that times are tough right now and suggested that a few extra bucks given on a tip for service might be one way we can all help each other along. Standing behind that view, I’ll now add that pulling the Arizona contract might symbolically align with stiffing a rude waiter who has been ill-tempered with your Latino friends at the dinner table, and it works for me. The waiter will learn and grow, or get fired. Arizona on the other hand has a great deal of thinking to do about its rude new law.
Still, it does cause one to speculate on whether California might have been hit back in the same economic way if Proposition 8 had stood. Arizona’s new law is about pushing people around on the street; Prop 8 went marching right into citizen’s bedrooms and told people that their love would never see the light of a wedding day. Which of these is less mindful of individual freedom and reflects most poorly on voters?
I only bring up Prop 8 to illustrate that repressive decision-making is not exclusive to any one state. And unfortunately, at a time when the states of this nation should be pulling together to deal with the economy and a host of other shared problems, things are trending toward more divisiveness. Fires of anger are being stoked by knuckleheads who should never have been given matches to play with in the first place. Yet primaries in various states indicate that voters in the upcoming election are going to go with their churning ‘gut’ and elect outspoken and under qualified rubes to replace experienced and temperate representatives.
New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino stood in front of Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn this past weekend making clearly homophobic statements, at one point claiming to have knowledge of exactly “how God created us.” This is in New York, where they have a lot of intellectuals and one of the last great daily newspapers.
If a de-evolving monkey like Paladino would somehow get elected, would California take a look at stopping trade and business meetings with New York? Paladino made his statements last week just as eight people were arraigned Sunday in an attack on a gay man and two gay teens in the Bronx on October 3. The Republican candidate for governor in New York fans the flames of homophobia; that’s how acute his judgments in office will be.
If that sort of “leadership” alone isn’t troubling enough for you, there’s the expanding new politics of singling-out specific groups to cause voters to think those groups are the problem. What’s wrong with the economy that claimed your job? Illegal immigrants who work hard for little pay and seek the American dream. What’s at the root of your fear that things are somehow less moral in our culture than they used to be? Loving, child-adopting and tax paying gay couples who seek the right to be married.
Returning to the windows in our own glass house we note that the TV spots for our governor and senate races, some more truthful than others, are almost all of them seething with accusations. Why? Because in our state candidates that lack political experience (those that aren’t movie stars) can obtain credibility by wearing the protective camouflage of their corporate resumes which boast of “success”; success obtained by downsizing and sending American jobs offshore. At some point, just like with Arizona’s new law, somebody has to say something in a way that gets results. And like our Santa Monica City Council, we can make our statement with quiet assertiveness and efficacy: We can vote. I’m not certain how we staunch the current intellectual decay of politics, but by voting for experience and reason in November we can at least punch back at the tsunami of arrogant dumbness and purchased campaigns that is rolling over America. Punch it right in its archaic and outdated… trailer.