I make no bones about being a political animal. It is one of my greatest obsessions. But even I recognize that there are times when it doesn’t apply. Hell, I am an active participant in two other forums that have nothing to do with politics, and I get mad as hell when politics intrudes there.
Likewise, in the real world. As important as politics are, there are times and places when it should not be relevant. And the Arizona immigration law situation is demonstrating that in spades.
In Illinois, a girls’ high school basketball team had done exceptionally well, They had earned a slot in a national tournament, and the team members had raised money for the trip. It was going to be a great experience for them.
Until a school administrator found out the tournament was being held in Arizona, and she unilaterally canceled the trip. Because one person — Assistant Superintendant Suzen Hebson — doesn’t like the new law, the girls are being punished.
The new law isn’t popular in California, either.The state has decided to cancel a lot of pending contracts with businesses in the Copper State, specifically citing the immigration enforcement law. Some Arizonans haven’t taken that too well, and have started their own individual boycotts of California — which has some Californians whining.
Others are pressuring major league sports to get in on the boycott fun. The Phoenix Suns have already held a night where they wore uniforms emblazoned with “Las Suns” (although wouldn’t “Las Sols” be more accurate), which led to some wags suggesting that people sneak into the game and refuse to leave if caught, and now other teams who have training facilities there are feeling pressured to pull out. Further, Arizona is slated to host Major League Baseball’s All Star Game next year, and there’s a lot of talk of moving that.
There are two possible responses to this kind of pressure. The first is to hit back just as hard, to organize counter boycotts and “buycotts” (where people go out of their way to patronize a boycotted business or state). That’s already being done — and with some slight early success; witness the squealing coming out of San Diego as they see their summer profits stay in Arizona.
There’s another way. And that’s to fight not the boycott, but to fight the boycotters.
This is one of those situations that calls for what I call “shotgun problem solving.” That’s where you try several solutions at once, and hope at least one of them sticks. The advantage is that you tend to fix the problem fairly quickly; the disadvantage is you often don’t know which worked or what the precise problem was in the first place. It’s not always the best answer, but it works often enough to merit its consideration.
First up, challenge the boycotters. Ask them why they are so opposed to Arizona simply trying to solve its problems on its own. The legislature passed the law; if it doesn’t work, they can repeal it. And ask them why the hell Arizona should have gotten to this point — why hasn’t the federal government actually accepted its responsibilities and handled the illegal immigration problem itself?
Second, there’s the shame angle. Why do these boycotters want to carry their political fights into so many places where it isn’t appropriate? Is there a really justifiable reason to punish high-school girls in Illinois because you don’t like a law passed in Arizona?
Third, there’s the threat. Look, your boycott is already causing some backlash. People are going out of their way to support Arizona and punish those persecuting the state. Are you sure you want to start this fight?
The Arizona law has already been demogogued halfway to death, and it won’t even take effect for a couple of months. It’s time people actually started talking reasonably about it, discussing the subject in a rational matter.
Alternately, those of us who have been supporting Arizona’s law should start taking very, very careful notes on the tactics used by its opponents, and applying them to things like the ObamaCare health care takeover…