Friday, April 30, 2010

Boycotting Arizona

So, Arizona passed a law empowering local police to ask for identification and check the legal status of people on the streets, to see if they are in the United States legally - the tourist magnet of Arizona also being a state where an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants live.

The much-publicized law, scheduled to go into effect July 29, has attracted attention from all over the U.S. Supporters defend it as necessary to keep from being flooded with mainly Hispanic migrant workers who cross the border without bothering to ask. Opponents deride it as racist. From the latter group have come calls to boycott Arizona - all of it, its meetings and conventions, its sports teams, its big tourist draws, like the Grand Canyon, all of its products. Media reports say Arizona's tourism industry generates $18 billion a year in revenue, so a travel-and-more boycott could hit 'em in the pocketbook, right?

But, hey, why stop there? There are many ways to punish a jurisdiction that has the effrontery to pass a law some people don't like. Let's think outside the box.

Some livid demonstrators have called for boycotting AriZona iced tea - though the sugary drink in the mega cans is not made in Arizona, it's made on Long Island. Close enough.

Why not expand the circle of concern and boycott Hawaii? It's got a memorial to the sunken World War II battleship USS Arizona, remember? If they change the ship's name, the boycott could be called off.

For really creative thinking, I like the recent Bronstein at Large blog post by San Francisco Chronicle editor and scribbler Phil Bronstein (

Bronstein thinks big. He writes:

"Let's just throw the entire state of Arizona into the slammer. And not just the old-school mobsters, dicey arms salesmen and jaywalkers - all 6.6 million residents should be put away in a safe place until we sort out what kind of ongoing criminal-thought enterprise they've got happening there.''

Bronstein, a Californian, continues: "Is refusing to attend conferences enough? How about immediately creating a demilitarized or Gaza Strip-like zone in the space where our state touches theirs?''

Arizona's population is about 30 percent Hispanic, and some 200,000 jobs there are dependent on travel and tourism. You don't suppose those workers would be hurt by a boycott, do you?

Details, details. Why worry about details when being angry and feeling bad feels so good?

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