News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Hopeful Counter-current

The ousting of Arizona's self-appointed Demagogue-in-Chief, Russell Pearce, is a hopeful counter-current to the nativist backlash of punitive laws like those enacted in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and underway in other states.

Pearce was the architect of Arizona's SB1070, a bill which has become a model for regressive forces across the nation. Despite widespread protests that the law condoned racial profiling, polls showed a slight majority of Americans favored the measure. Now, the very constituents who elected Pearce have voted him out. Is this a sign of a change in attitude?

More likely, the voters in Pearce's district have grown weary of a heavy-handed politician whose methods alienated many and whose policies brought an economic backlash as many groups boycotted Arizona over Pearce's nativist legislative agenda. And perhaps that is the object lesson in this development.

Economic pressure may be a more powerful force for change than moral suasion.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

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