These are brave people here in Arizona. I don't think they meant to make a political statement, I think things were getting so bad for the citizens here that something had to be done. Luckily, there are people in the state government who actually respond to the needs of their citizens. Or maybe it is because the politicians here in Arizona don't seem as high and mighty as they do in California, for example.
Russell Pearce, one of the co-authors of Arizona's SB1070 spoke several times at the conference I attended, and at the rally last night. At first I had to ask who he was, and I was surprised to learn that the man I was listening to was the one making national news; where was the small army of bodyguards, assistants, spokespeople and make-up artists that usually flank our politicians these days? Funny, I had not heard a helicopter land anywhere close by...
I would have never guessed that the man up at the podium, describing how one of his sons, a police officer, had been shot by an illegal alien, was the Russell Pearce. He actually seemed...humble.
That was the only time he talked about himself, for the rest of the conference he mostly introduced others.
I am very glad I came to Arizona to attend this conference. The press, if they report on this at all, will try to portray it as radical tea-party racist white people who kick puppies and small children. They will do so because the truth must be scaring the living daylights out of them right about now; The people who quietly met on Saturday, July 31, 2010 in the Arizona State Senate to have a serious discussion on illegal immigration were anything but. This group would have made any college diversity coordinator proud, except that they were not chosen based on skin color to attend the conference.
They chose to attend the conference much in the same way I did. I saw the announcement and I said, hey, I want to come too! And so we all showed up in Phoenix, coming from all over the country, white people, black people, brown people, Christian people, Jewish people, tall people, short people, old people, young people who strangely enough, don't think of themselves so much as belonging to one of those classifications as they think of themselves as something much better: They think of themselves as Americans.
So, in that sense, there was no diversity. There was unity.
Then there was this: