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Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce Embraces Role As Outspoken Bigot

Jill Garvey • Jun 01, 2010

Here’s the downside to being the enthusiastic spokesperson of an abhorrent law: people start paying close attention to you. Such is the case with Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce. Turns out his involvement in passing racist law S.B. 1070 isn’t the only reason to dislike the politician.

Following are a few more:

Pearce is trying to pass legislation that would dismantle the 14th Amendment. On May 25, he justified the proposed law to ban birthright citizenship by inexplicably calling the 14th Amendment, which acts as a constitutional guarantee of citizenship rights, “unconstitutional.” Pearce has added his voice to a chorus of narrow-minded individuals who seek to turn back the clock on hard-won civil rights. The destruction of the 14th Amendment would dismantle civil rights, limit citizenship, and redefine our national identity to something more recognizable as white nationalism.

Pearce also wants to pass a “birther” bill in Arizona. Pearce has all but admitted he is one of those individuals, called Birthers, who claim that they don’t believe or won’t admit that President Obama is a citizen. In actuality, “Birthers” are a thinly veiled political formation with the goal of convincing others that Obama is not white and therefore not American. This proposed legislation in Arizona is not only a crass political maneuver to force Obama to prove his citizenship again in the next election, but could potentially ban candidates whose “citizenship” may be in question from being placed on ballots in Arizona. If the Birthers still aren’t convinced that the U.S. President is a citizen, one wonders how they will react to any person of color on Arizona’s ballot.

He’s not smart or particularly articulate, but never seems to stop talking. If you thought Glenn Beck was annoying, this guy’s hate-filled babbling will blow your mind. When defending Senate Bill 1070, Pearce makes it sound like a law that requires officers to racially profile is nothing new, stating that it merely “mirrors the law of the land for fifty years.” So even though racial profiling is illegal in this country, Pearce says it’s been the “law of the land” for some time. In the same interview and barely two breathes later, Pearce says SB 1070 was necessary because “we’re destroying this nation, becoming a lawless nation.”

Pearce supports House Bill 2281, which bans ethnic studies in Arizona’s public schools. Not only does the law prevent Latino students from learning about their heritage, it also outlaws African-American and Native-American studies. When Pearce is specifically questioned about the law and racism, he says, “…these ethnic studies, they’re not about culture, they’re revolutionary studies.”

He goes on to describe them as sedition. That’s a pretty big word for Pearce. Perhaps he could benefit from a dose of this “real American” education he’s so fond of. After all, during colonial times the English criminal common law of seditious libel made criticizing the government a crime. This is one of the reasons colonists formed the very revolution that led to America and the Constitution and the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Pearce is friends with neo-Nazis like J.T. Ready, which makes sense because his propaganda could come right out of a Third Reich playbook. During a radio interview last week Pearce stated,

“…[there is] room for only one language, the English language; room for only one American, and that’s to be a real American. And if you profess to be anything but an American you’re not an American. It’s time to assimilate.”

He is a pawn for the most powerful anti-immigrant network in the nation. It might look like Russell Pearce is employing the likes of Kris Kobach and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to make true his own vision of Arizona as a mono-cultural (white) state, but in reality, Pearce has merely joined the ranks of eager pawns used by the John Tanton Network to move its anti-immigrant agenda forward nationally. Russell Pearce is clearly racist and on-board the anti-immigrant bus, but based on his sometimes unintelligible rants and the pace at which other states are introducing similar laws, he is definitely not driving the bus.

Every move Russell Pearce makes - from proposing repulsive laws to using dehumanizing rhetoric - is carefully crafted by more than two dozen organizations working in tandem and rooted in a foundation of white nationalist interests. And that’s the real scary part - that there are dozens of Russell Pearces, all over the nation, supported  by the anti-immigrant movement and ready for battle.

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