A great thing about writing a blog is that one can just check the events of the day and respond with a quick post immediately. A bad thing about writing a blog is that those same events rarely behave and adhere to your schedule, and you end up writing from behind, so to speak.
Such is the nature of the evolving debate over the Arizona anti-immigrant law. I have started and abandoned many posts on this topic because its ever-changing nature and unending cascade of loony behavior have made my points obsolete before I could slap punctuation at the end of a given sentence.
The Arizona law, which makes it unlawful to so much as resemble an illegal immigrant, has offered America even more ludicrous moments and bizarre antics than we’ve come to expect from our political theater.
I thought the absurdity had reached its nadir when Senator John McCain insisted, on national television, that illegal immigrants were intentionally ramming unsuspecting citizens on the freeway. But the best was yet to come.
First the GOP, in the true spirit of leadership, announced that it was picking up its loose marbles and going home. Republicans screamed and yelled about how illegal immigration was out of control, but when pressed on how to resolve the problem, they demurred, en masse.
Sounding almost apologetic, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said, “We’ve got a lot of work left on our plate between now and the end of the summer. And we’re starting on financial regulatory reform…. I’m not sure where you find the time to deal with these other major issues.”
Chambliss sounded like a teenager complaining about how much homework he received over winter break. But at least he was more rational than Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, who said “moving forward on immigration” in a “hurried, panicked manner” had offended him so much that he was walking out of talks on climate change legislation. It was as if conservatives had said, “Don’t even ask us to even think about this whole immigration mess. I mean it. We’re willing to destroy the environment over this… if we believed in global warming, that is. So there.”
This caused the rest of us to ask, “Who dragged climate change into this?” But we had no time to ponder because the all-American sport of baseball became the next collateral damage.
With a certain amount of glee, Keith Olbermann stated that the Arizona Diamondbacks are arguably the only MLB team without a prominent Latino player. In addition, many commentators pointed out that Hispanics and Latin American immigrants make up a large percentage of today’s top players. So we should have been unsurprised when protests erupted at Wrigley Field and fans started threatening to boycott next year’s All-Star game, which is being held in (gulp) Chase Field in Phoenix. But at least that shrinking violet, Ozzie Guillen, spoke his mind, for once in his life.
Of course, as we know, nothing really exists in America unless a celebrity is involved. So we were all relieved when our first pop star entered the fray. The beautiful and talented Shakira announced that she is opposed to the Arizona law. I can only hope that if she is pulled over in Tucson, she gives the cops one of those icy glares she utilizes before launching into an especially violent hip shimmy. It will be out of context but even more intense.
By the way, it’s odd that few American-born Latino celebrities are speaking out on the issue. One would think that Jennifer Lopez, for example, could take a brief break from peddling her latest cinematic disaster to at least appear socially conscious. But that’s ok – keep shaking it, J Lo, we still love you!
However, things have now come around again to the world of politics. No, I’m not talking about Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s superficial change to the law, which she announced yesterday. I’m talking about the once-obscure Pat Bertroche, who is trying to gain the GOP nomination in Iowa to run for a House seat. His recent comments top the list of offensive, perplexing, and just plain oddball statements about Arizona’s efforts.
Bertroche said, when referring to illegal immigrants, that “We should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going. I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal?”
Before anyone could answer this most unanswerable of questions, Bertroche said of his own proposal, “That’s not a popular thing to say.”
Perhaps he’s a master of understatement, but Bertroche could have added, “And it’s not sane, coherent, respectful, or in any way related to the real world. In fact, it’s just batshit crazy and wildly racist.”
But he didn’t, so we’ll just have to imagine it. Fear not, however, I’m sure before all this is over, somebody or something else will top the insanity we’ve seen so far.
Perhaps we should start praying now.