Estimadas/os: “History is being made today…what side will you be on?”
That’s the lead-in to David Abie Morales’ very popular blog, the “Three Sonorans.” Florence Patton Reece’s 1931 union song, “Which side are you on?,” poses the same question.
Although separated in time by 81 years, the Three Sonorans lead-in and Reece’s song have circumstances and context in common:
“Which Side Are You On?” was written in the midst of a 1931 hard-fought miners’ strike in Kentucky, during which the political establishment waged war on workers and their families and was hell-bent on destroying the union and the culture of cooperation and family cohesion the union nurtured and used the Harlan County Sheriff to intimidate union members and their families.
“Three Sonorans” takes on the contemporary Arizona political establishment that is hell-bent on destroying unions and is waging war on Latinos in general and people of Mexican descent in particular. Given the rich union-labor history of Mexican Americans in the Southwest and elsewhere, the political establishment’s attack on unions and the war against Mexicans are, for all intents and purposes, one and the same. And the political establishment uses County Sheriffs Paul Babeu (Pinal) and Joe Arpaio (Maricopa) as their vehicles of intimidation.
I thought of the Three Sonorans’ and Reece’s question as I read the responses to my recent postings regarding the Arizona Democratic Party.
Before I go on—some things to bear in mind…
- In the late 1960s-early 1970s, the Democratic Party engaged in behaviors analogous to what I detailed in my postings (these are summarized below) and paid a heavy price for it, i.e., there was amass exodus of Latinos, and especially young people…it took decades for those folks to come back to the party, and even then, not all did.
- It’s too glib—and frankly, insults one’s intelligence—to invoke the tired canard of “lesser of evils,” i.e., that a “Democratic” evil is qualitatively better than a “Republican” evil.
For example, in my postings I discussed the Payday Loan industry, a vulture industry that preys on people’s misfortunes—and that specifically targets African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos—and makes hundreds of millions in profits off of the misfortune of its victims, destroys families, etc.
Minerva G. Carcano, Methodist Bishop and president of the Arizona Ecumenical Council, described the Payday lenders as “…thieves stealing from the most vulnerable.” (Tucson Citizen, Oct. 02, 2008)
Per the “lesser of evils” nonsense, the harm that the Payday Loan industry does to individuals and families is OK if it’s done by a Democrat but is to be condemned if done by a Republican.
But the point, Ralph, is…
To a person, the young people who responded agreed with me, re: the Arizona Democratic Party. These young people are—as we were at their age—loyal to principles and ideals, not to political parties or political hacks.
Older folks tended to scold me for criticizing the Democratic Party. Even as many agreed with my criticisms of the Arizona Democratic Party, they asked me: “Why are you doing this?”
Their question brought to mind the conversation Henry David Thoreau is said to have had with Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Thoreau was in a jail cell, incarcerated for civil disobedience he engaged in to protest the Mexican War. Emerson came to visit him and asked, “David, what are you doing in there?”
Thoreau responded, “The point is, Ralph, what are you doing out there? Why aren’t you in here?”
In essence, Thoreau was asking, Which side are you on?
In the above-referenced postings I detailed:
- How the Arizona Democratic Party decides whom to support and whom not to support on the basis of race and ethnicity, with Native American and Mexican American candidates and communities on the losing end of those decisions, viz.:
- the Arizona Democratic Party tramples on its own policy and tradition of not taking sides in a contested Democratic primary election to derail the historic congressional candidacy of Native American Wenona Benally Baldenegro by calling her supporters and pressuring them to withdraw their support of her and by sponsoring fundraisers for Wenona’s primary-election opponent.
- the Arizona Democratic Party chooses to support a white candidate, Ann Kirkpatrick, it knows in its heart will lose the CD1 congressional race (she lost it by 68,000[!!] votes in 2010, the largest and most embarrassing electoral defeat in Arizona history) rather than support a Native American woman who would most likely win that race. [Given Kirkpatrick’s massive unpopularity, her presence on the general-election ballot will virtually guarantee that the CD1 seat will go to the (Payday Loan lobbyist) Republican candidate.]
- the Arizona Democratic Party provides access to party resources (e.g., voter lists) to white candidates but denies these same resources to Mexican American candidates.
- the Arizona Democratic Party’s official policy in 2010 was not to oppose SB 1070 so as not to upset—i.e., to appease—Russell Pearce, Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio, Tom Horne, John Huppenthal, and the Mexican Haters.
- the Arizona Democratic Party has been completely MIA in our community’s struggle against HB 2281 and the Mexican Haters’ war against our history and literature, our children, our teachers, our books.
- How the Arizona Democratic Party betrayed its principles and several of its key constituencies by jumping in bed with the Payday Loan industry…and how, for example,
- the Arizona Democratic Party is demonizing Republican Jonathan Paton, CD1 candidate, for his ties to the Payday Loan industry…
- even as it, the Arizona Democratic Party, is being subsidized by the same Payday Loan industry lobbyists that are subsidizing Paton’s campaign and that are subsidizing the Arizona Democratic Party’s favored CD1 candidate, Ann Kirkpatrick…
- How the Arizona Democratic Party betrayed its principles and several of its key constituencies—particularly unions and working women and families and Latinos—by supporting a candidate, Ann Kirkpatrick, whose campaign
- is being heavily funded by American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) lobbyists, such as those of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which traffics in human beings, Mexicans in particular, and stands to make hundreds of millions in profits from the incarceration of immigrants occasioned by SB 1070…
A relevant aside: CCA has joined the Arizona Democratic Party in going after Wenona. CCA lobbyist and board member, former (Democratic) U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini, is calling potential donors to Wenona’s campaign and asking them not to contribute to Wenona (instead, DeConcini pressures these donors to contribute to the Arizona Democratic Party’s favored candidate, Ann Kirkpatrick).
Getting in bed with ALEC is particularly noxious: ALEC is racist, anti-union, anti-women, anti-children…
Much has been written about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), so its agenda and activities are well known. But, just in case some of you may benefit from it, here’s a summary of who and what ALEC is and what it’s about:
ALEC is a right-wing organization funded by brothers Charles and David Koch. Its purpose is to implement right-wing legislation throughout the country. Its major strategy is to infiltrate state governments and legislatures and have its members introduce and pass ALEC’s “model laws” on matters such as those detailed below.
The Koch brothers and ALEC…
- are the major funders of the Tea Party movement…
- were the major funders of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his crusade to destroy the unions in Wisconsin…
- were involved in the drafting of SB 1070 and converting it to “model legislation” that they marketed to other states…
- develop and market legislation to state legislatures to exempt the Payday Lending industry from usury laws, allowing Payday Loan businesses to charge interest rates of 400% to 680%…
(e.g., the 2008 Payday Loan industry-sponsored Proposition 200 in Arizona that would have allowed Payday lenders to charge 391% interest…the Payday Loan industry lobbyists who worked together on Prop 200 were [Republican] Jonathan Paton, [Democrat] Mario Diaz, and [Republican] Stan Barnes….Diaz and Barnes have contributed thousands of dollars to Ann Kirkpatrick as well as to the Arizona Democratic Party)…
- develop and market legislation to state legislatures
- to defund Planned Parenthood…
- to make it more difficult for poor children to receive state aid (health care, food-related assistance, etc.)…
- to outsource to for-profit companies the collection of child support…
- to limit regulation of toxic and hazardous substances that adversely affect children’s health even more so than adults…
- to eliminate or severely curtail day-care services for working mothers.
It’s crystal clear which side ALEC is on.
There’s no wiggle room here: One has to be abysmally stupid, hopelessly myopic, or irremediably corrupt, to not see that ALEC’s right-wing agenda is diametrically opposed to the principles the Arizona Democratic Party purports to stand for and represent!
Thus, neither the Arizona Democratic Party nor candidates it supports, nor its members, should be in bed with—i.e., on the side of—ALEC and its right-wing, anti-union, anti-women, anti-family, anti-children, racist agenda. Ditto for CCA, Payday lenders, and other ALEC corporate members.
ALEC doesn’t throw money around for nuthin’…
ALEC and its members extract their pound of flesh from those they fund. ALEC surely has gotten its money’s worth from the Arizona Democratic Party’s candidate Ann Kirkpatrick, viz.:
During her single term in Congress (before she lost her bid for re-election by 68,000 votes!), Ann Kirkpatrick stood with (i.e., was on the side of) the Republicans and ALEC…
- against the Latino community and fought the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against SB 1070, calling it a “sideshow,” and TWICE refused to vote for the DREAM Act.
- against unions regarding the Employee Free Choice Act, which speaks to the issue of the rights of workers to unionize. against Native Americans and unions by supporting the union-busting Rio Tinto corporation that is setting up a non-union mine operation, which will entail the destruction of sacred Apache land, a betrayal of her commitment to the Apache Tribe during her campaign.
- and turned her back on her environmentalist support base (the Sierra Club and others) by supporting the Rio Tinto mine, which, in addition to destroying Apache sacred sites, will do immense environmental damage.
- and voted to support the tax cuts for the wealthy passed under President Bush.
- and voted “Nay” on H.R. 1728, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2009.
- and Big Tobacco and voted “Nay” on HR 1256, the FDA Oversight of Tobacco Products bill.
- and voted “Nay” on H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Accountability and Consumer Protection Act.
- and voted “Nay” on H.R. 3269, the Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act of 2009.
- and voted “Nay” on H.R. 2847, the Jobs for Main Street Act of 2009.
- and voted “Nay” on H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.
- and voted “Nay” on H.R. 1664, the Pay for Performance Act of 2009.
- and…well, you get the picture.
Given Kirkpatrick’s pattern of voting in lockstep with Republicans and ALEC, is there any doubt where her loyalty lies…or, whose side Kirkpatrick’s on?
And this is whose side the Arizona Democratic Party is on, whom the Arizona Democratic Party is supporting and promoting over a progressive, lifelong Democrat (Kirkpatrick changed her party affiliation from Republican in order to run for Congress) who is energizing voters throughout the district?
History is a stickler for details, and it takes notes…
History is being made today on many fronts. One is the breaking of the barriers that have kept Native Americans from having a voice in Congress.
The Arizona Democratic Party has a unique opportunity to be on the right side of history by helping to elect the first Native American woman (ever!!) to be elected to Congress and the first Native American, man or woman, from Arizona to be elected to Congress.
And let’s be clear here: Wenona Benally Baldenegro is not asking for favors or charity!
She is highly qualified, and the numbers favor her: CD1: is 40% Democrat, 30% Republican, 30% Independent and is 19% Latino and 22% Native American, the highest percentage of Native Americans of any congressional district in the country (there are 11 tribes in CD1).
History is a stickler for details, and it takes notes. If the Arizona Democratic Party continues
- to be on the side of the SB 1070-HB 2281 Mexican Haters…
- to be on the side of racial-ethnic discrimination in its treatment of Democratic candidates…
- to be on the side of the predatory Payday Loan industry…
- to be on the side of the human-trafficking Corrections Corporation of America…
- to be on the side of the right-wing, anti-union, anti-women, anti-family, anti-children, racist ALEC and its agenda,
[And make no mistake: the Payday Loan, CCA, and ALEC lobbyists don’t contribute from the goodness of their hearts—they expect reciprocal support from the ADP and its candidates],
…history will not be kind to the Arizona Democratic Party nor to the Arizona Democratic Party’s apologists and excuse makers.
Indeed, History will record who was where when the question “Which side are you on?” mattered. And so will those of us who are fighting the Mexican Haters, the Payday Loan, CCA, and ALEC vultures, etc.
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