Last Friday, as part of a nationwide rally, twenty thousand people marched in Phoenix against proposed changes in Federal immigration laws, including a proposal to make being an undocumented worker a felony. Contrary to popular opinion, this was not just a march of illegals, because I have friends who participated (although I had to work that day and didn't make it down there.)
It is pretty remarkable actually to get that many people to come together about anything in Phoenix other than a sporting event or a concert, because the city is notoriously apathetic. Even at baseball games, Phoenicians tend to leave towards the end of the seventh inning and rarely exhibit a great deal of passion about anything. So a demonstration of this size, while dwarfed by the demonstrations in Los Angeles and elsewhere was easily the largest political demonstration in the history of Phoenix.
So did this help convince the rabid, anti-immigrant folks to engage in a more reasoned debate than they have hitherto done?
Well, let's say that my suspicion is that they sent their message last night and it is no. Vandals destroyed four radio towers and knocked KMIA-AM, a spanish language sports-talk radio station based north of Phoenix off the air for what could be a matter of months. KMIA is part of a chain of Spanish speaking stations across the southwest, which have been a significant part of the immigration debate, and is a station that many Phoenix Latinos listen to. The FBI is investigating.
It is true that we don't yet know exactly who destroyed the towers and why. It may be that the towers were destroyed by a bunch of teenagers out doing stupid stuff, and it may be that they were destroyed for some other reason completely unrelated to the content of the station. It might be that there was something else that they discussed, other than immigration, that caused someone to be this angry at them. We won't know that until the FBI finishes their investigation. But coming as soon as it did after the immigration march, I have to admit that the timing and target are awful suspicious.