By the time you read this, I will sitting on my brother’s back deck where it is 40 degrees in the shade.
My fiancé and I are heading to Arizona to tie the knot in his back yard as he and his wife stand up for us, and my niece officiates.
And I know the question that is burning in the back of your minds: Why is a good liberal, like you, not boycotting that racial-profiling, intolerant state, Arizona?
I could just answer that we want to be surrounded by family and my brother and sister-in-law are good, decent people. It’s true, but there is another compelling reason.
Boycotts are effective to send a message, but I don’t think that is a problem here. Arizonans know that their new law to demand identification of people they suspect to be illegal aliens is unpopular. Believe me, they get it.
Arizona now needs to receive a different message: we, the rest of North America, understand this is a knee-jerk reaction to an ongoing problem that is not your fault. It is the job of the federal government to guard the borders; it is North Americans’ addictions to illegal drugs and the violence it creates; and it is the universal lure of a better life … real or perceived.
And, so, this knee-jerk reaction … which is wrong, but understandable.
Let’s throw in the fact that every time the economy suffers, in any society, immigration issues become heated. That’s wrong, too, but it happens … then it passes when the economy picks up and business owners are grateful for the extra customers.
So, Daisy and I will go to Arizona and we will enjoy the company of Arizonans. Even those among the 60 per cent who approve of their governor’s controversial legislation will welcome us.
They will know we are tourists because we will be wearing sandals on a weekday and we will be wearing big sun hats and over-sized shirts. The sight of us will send a message that the world has not forsaken Arizona for this, shall I say, negotiation tactic.
Now, my lovely bride’s gorgeous brown skin (courtesy of her Sri Lankan heritage) does make her look Mexican, and there will be some good-natured ribbing about keeping her passport handy, but I hope this sends another message, too:
As a bi-racial couple, we want Arizonans to know that we are not afraid of racism. Just because their new legislation is racist, it doesn’t mean Arizonans are racist … nor even those who wrote the legislation.
This is just how knee-jerk reactions work: people, who are pushed to the limit, do extreme things.
It is now up to us, who want genuine improvement in the lives of people everywhere, to avoid the temptation to rub Arizonans’ faces in the bad decision they made. It will only entrench an us-against-the-world mentality that will continue to hurt everyone.