While legislators’ political decisions are often made behind closed doors, the repercussions are played out in the public arena, particularly via pop culture. Since drafting and signing the most stringent immigration law in decades, Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce and Governor Jan Brewer are now galvanizing symbols. Before SB1070 passed, they received all kinds of local political pressure after a (white) rancher, Robert Krentz, was shot by a suspected coyote/smuggler/drug dealer. And the state feels utterly unsupported/protected by U.S. agents who have set up checkpoints 60 miles from the border. Yet, after the bill was signed into Arizona law (it is slated to take effect in August), Pearce and Brewer have turned Arizona into a recurring gag on the Colbert Show.
Back in 2007, director Robert Rodriguez’s bloody, R-rated trailer for Machete looked like a joke. But now Rodriguez indicates a feature version starring Robert De Niro as a race baiting Congressman, Danny Trejo as a vigilante, and Cheech Marin as a shotgun wielding priest will have a timely September theatrical release. On Cinco de Mayo, Rodriguez leaked a special preview trailer to Ain’t It Cool News.
Interviewed beforehand by Tony Kornheiser of ESPN, Nash said, “Our owners asked us if any of us had a problem wearing the [Los Suns] jerseys and nobody did. So, I think we’re pretty like-minded on the issue. This league is very multicultural. We have players from all over the world, myself obviously being a foreigner [Canadian], many of my teammates, players on other teams. Our communities are very multicultural. So I think we need to find a different way to combat the issues that we face in our society. And I think this is the wrong way to go about it.” Nash knows how to score points.
As a Tucson native, Suns’ owner, Sarver, is also quite familiar with cultural crossings. The confluence of native, Spanish, and Anglo (primarily U.S. military) culture in Arizona has resulted in a fascinating mix. The city and state has been blessed by all the creativity (and finance) generated from these divergent groups. The Southwest is defined by the arts, tastes, and sounds that come from Mexico, from the Rez, and from the Range. Evidently, a few too many snowbirds have forgotten what makes Arizona buzz with possibilities. When those wide open spaces get a bit too crowded, people get shall we say, “edgy.” Next test–the will and resolve of the baseball players slated to play their 2011 All Star Game in Arizona.
So which team are you cheering for in the NBA playoffs? Are you a fan or foe of Los Suns? I find myself increasingly compelled by the biblical verses about “Welcoming the Stranger.” Over Christmas, I read a great book on the subject. It made a clear case for both the historic initiative brought by immigrants, as well as the ongoing heart of God for those on the margins. I also recall my time as a substitute teacher in LA County public schools. I have never taught sweeter, more motivated students (in junior high school no less!), than the recent immigrants so inspired to learn English and pursue the American Dream. They renewed my faith in our country’s ideals…