When I went to the state capitol to protest Kyrsten Sinema’s SB1225, I had no idea I would be charged criminally and that I would witness the arrest of three of my friends and community members. Thank God all of us are U.S. Citizens or by now we would have been placed in Joe’s gulag and we would have subsequently ended up in CCA’s profit machine of a concentration camp commonly known as a private Federal Detention Center by those naive white folk who can’t possibly understand what it feels like to be caged like an animal after being offered employment under the current hypocritical U.S. labor system I call modernized slavery.
Of all people, I certainly thought that Senator Sinema understood what activism was all about. I mean, I remember seeing her at marches and protests at the State Capitol. She stood on a stage and riled the masses up. Telling them how much she supported them and how unfair this treatment was. As a member of the LGBT community Senator Sinema claimed to understand what discrimination felt like and how important it was to stand up and demand change from government.
Senator Sinema could have stopped Tuesday’s mayhem by shutting down her press conference. In fact, she was in the process of doing so, when the Capitol Police arrived. Instead she became more empowered by my removal from the press conference and in turn the crowd got more vocal, which lead to the arrest of a Latino businessman, a Latino Mother and a Latino 17 year old girl scheduled to check in for the military that week. As I previously mentioned, all of us are American Citizen’s exercising our rights under first amendment provisions.
I didn’t see Sinema bat an eye when she watched a frail young girl and her mom handcuffed and led away like common criminals, I didn’t see her twitch an eye as Genaro Alcantara an Arizona businessman and constituent of hers pleaded with her, “I voted for you”. And in fact, she even looked smug and fulfilled when she watched a member of the media, Latino Activist and Leader, yours truly, being led out of the hearing room.
When did Sinema decide that Latinos should be examining her backside? Why did Sinema decide that she didn’t have to address Latino’s answers on her offensive and hypocritical bill SB1225? Perhaps it’s always been that way, but her spin machine has always been so polished that a few key appearances on a stage provided by a popular Mexican radio station was sufficient to woo the Latino community. A little rah rah here and a rah rah there and voila, we have an enchanted Latino community ready to believe anything Sinema has to sell.
Why does the image of the guy from the “got milk?” billboard, with a ring of milk around his lips come to mind? However in this case I think “got atole” would be more appropriate. There’s a saying in Spanish that says “Nos dio atole con el dedo”, translated it means, “She gave us atole with her finger”. In other words, she doesn’t let us have the whole cup of atole to drink, she gives us a taste as a teaser every now and then to quell our desires and needs, with a promise of more to come.
Frankly, the Latino community is sick of being teased, sick of being lied to, and sick of being the sole of the opportunist politician’s shoe. One wants to use us for cheap labor (R) and the other obviously uses us for cheap votes (D). Tell me, what’s the difference? They are all cut from the same piece of cloth.
Because of Sinema barking orders for removal of those opposing her bill, and according to Russell Pearce’s allegations that Sinema feared for her safety, I and the rest of those arrested that day were banned from the Senate building.
I never thought I would see the day that Kyrsten Sinema would have 10 Republican co-sponsors on one of her proposed bills, much less the day in which her and Senate Tea Party President Russell Pearce would do a tag team against Latino activists.
So every day I go to the state capitol and protest my ban from the senate building. I sit there with signs and a group of about 20-30 people join me daily in solidarity.
As I sit there, I watch the lobbyists in their monkey suits come and go. State legislators stare at me and mumble as they look at me and read my signs. Frankly I don’t understand what the problem is. I’m exercising my 1st amendment rights. If it was a member of the Tea Party they would be smiling and throwing a thumbs up, but since it’s a Latino trying to exercise his rights, all I get is an index finger straight up.
While walking through the courtyard today I ran into State Senator Ron Gould, he frowned and walked towards me in a threatening manner as I asked him why he was focused on an anti-Immigrant agenda rather than fixing Arizona’s woes. Gould didn’t answer my questions. By the way Ron Gould (R) Lake Havasu City, Arizona, conducts his meetings with a yellow don’t tread on me sticker prominently displayed on his laptop and facing the audience. If Gould believes so much in the Tea Party “motto”, “don’t tread on me”, then I wonder, why is Ron Gould trying to tread on me?
It seems like the nightmare doesn’t end. Everyday there’s a new twist at the Arizona State Capitol. I ran into Paul Babeu yesterday and he didn’t want to answer questions as to why he receives so many border security funds yet he isn’t a border county. I bantered with gun lobbyists and chatted with Senator Steve Gallardo. No, no, no, I didn’t go inside the senate building! I’m banned remember! Senator Gallardo came out to where I sit outside the Senate building to have a cup of coffee with me.
I tried once again to ask Senator Sinema some questions regarding SB1225 and she called capitol police and asked for an escort. Lord have mercy! You would think I’m a Latino terrorist armed with provocative questions.
So I’m sitting here writing this blog and the words to to Alice Coopers song, “welcome to my nightmare” keep popping into my head.
By the way, today I celebrated my one week anniversary of being banned from the Senate building and my sit in at the Arizona State Capitol, or should I say, sit out. It seems that everyday brings a different twist.
Channel 10 interviewed me today and said Russell Pearce denies there’s a blacklist, I’m inclined to agree with the Tea Party Senate President, it’s not a blacklist, it’s a brown list! All of those banned to date from Russell Pearce’s kingdom called the Senate building are Latinos.
Welcome to my nightmare! The life of a Latino living in 2011 Arizona.
Carlos E. Galindo is a radio talk show host & political analyst conducting radio shows in both English and Spanish on four radio stations in Arizona. Mr. Galindo is a weekly contributor to KPFK 98.7 FM Los Angeles and has appeared on CNN, Univision and Telemundo as a political analyst. Mr. Galindo is also an Op-Ed columnist on Prensa Hispana Arizona. www.nospinonair.com/http://www.carlosgalindo.com