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Idaho Republicans Validate Arizona's Ethnic Cleansing Motives
Idaho Republicans just can't help embarrassing themselves by providing continuous examples for making our fair state live up to its reputation as a haven for xenophobes and racists. The Bonner County Republican Central Committee wrote a letter(.pdf) to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer proudly proclaiming it's affirmation of Arizona's controversial and unconstitutional immigration law. Then they note:
The theme of this year’s fair is the Spanish word for celebration: “fiesta”. The Republicans at BCRCC want to make it very clear that English is our primary language, and call our booths “Celebrate!” We’d like to display some Arizona license plates if you have some to spare.
Never mind that the word "fiesta" has long been incorporated into the American nomenclature. Or that Spanish was spoken in Idaho centuries before Lewis and Clark uttered the words "oh, shit", and other choice expletives, after summiting the continental divide and seeing miles of Idaho wilderness instead of a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean. Indeed the history of Hispanic influence in Idaho is manifest.
Spanish explorers made trips to the Northwest beginning in 1592. Spaniards introduced pigs, horses, domestic fowl, tomatoes, beans, corn and garlic to the Native Americans of the Northwest. Lewis and Clark were the first Euro-Americans to set foot on what is now known as Idaho. They encountered Spanish-speaking Native Americans as well as those who spoke their tribal language. They were followed by French-Canadian fur trappers; resulting in names of communities like Coeur d'Alene (French for "heart of an awl") and Boise (Le Bois-French for "the trees").
Mountain men, including some Spaniards and Mexicans, lived off the land as trappers and hunters. In the 1860's, there were a number of Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) living in the Treasure Valley. By 1863, Mexicans were mining at Spanishtown, a camp near Rocky Bar. Jesus Urquirdes, one of several successful Mexican business people, came to Boise in 1863, became a prominent Pacific Northwest packer and built the Spanish Village in 1870s to house his Mexican packers. The 1870 census included 60 Mexican-born individuals.
As I write this I'm looking at Boise's iconic Spanish architecture train depot. This hostility isn't confined to Bonner County. Recently Idaho's Department of Labor noted that Idaho Hispanics' buying power increased tenfold while other groups languished in the down economy. And the Governor's completely illogical response to this revenue raising prospect was to permanently get rid of the Idaho Hispanic Commission.
This is more than a bunch of rubes putting their ignorance on display for the nation. This is a full blown validation of the perception by Idaho Republicans that Arizona's immigration law was designed to purge America of Hispanic ethnicity. Some people have compared BCRCC's efforts to the trite Republican tactic of renaming French Fries to "freedom fries." The consequences of demonstrating hostility to Hispanic ethnicity are much more violently tangible. Its another example of small people struggling to know who they are better than. And plenty of Idahoans find this to be an example of Republican racism.
This broke yesterday and has already gone viral. Would Bonner County have Boise State return their Fiesta Bowl trophies?
Updated 7/9: In case you're not up to speed on the baseless fear mongering engaged in by Governor Brewer, John McCain and the rest of the Irrational Right check out this piece by Milbank in the WaPo.
The Arizona governor, seemingly determined to repel every last tourist dollar from her pariah state, has sounded a new alarm about border violence. "Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," she announced on local television.
Ay, caramba! Those dark-skinned foreigners are now severing the heads of fair-haired Americans? Maybe they're also scalping them or shrinking them or putting them on a spike.
But those in fear of losing parts north of the neckline can relax. There's not a follicle of evidence to support Brewer's claim.
Its the Republican booga booga booga strategy again.