What should you do when you’re the Mayor of America’s 5th largest city, your state has just enacted America’s most far –reaching law regarding illegal immigration, and you’re trying to make a career of leftist, race-baiting politics?
Honestly, there’s only one thing a person in this situation can do – hold a press conference with Shakira.
This, by the way, is precisely what Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon did last Thursday, April 29th. After a week of hand-wringing, editorializing in the Washington Post about how Arizona’s new immigration law “requires” police officers to “profile” people with “brown skin,” and repeatedly vowing “not in my city,” Mayor Gordon got really serious about his city’s illegal immigration crisis, and hosted the Grammy Award winning Latina recording artist (and very sexy dancer) Shakira at City Hall.
After a behind-closed-doors meeting with the beautiful Colombian pop star (who is now, apparently, a U.S. immigration policy analyst), Mayor Gordon, Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris, and Vice Mayor Michael Nowakowski all joined Shakira at the podium as she weighed-in on America’s big public policy debate before the gathered press. And for this, the Phoenix-area media reported that Mayor Gordon’s “position” had “developed clout.”
Gordon, as a matter of background, was once a very moderate, even somewhat “conservative Democrat” who earned the trust and respect of the predominantly Republican city of Phoenix such that he was twice elected Mayor. Yet after his re-election in 2007 things changed.
A series of high-profile incidents back in 2007 and 2008 unfolded, involving illegal immigrant “day laborers” gathering and blocking traffic in front of Phoenix’ landmark “Pruitt’s Furniture” store, while the city leadership did essentially nothing. Mayor Gordon’s refusal to intervene on behalf of the suffering business – combined with his “nothing to see here-move along now” response to the cold-blooded murder of multiple Phoenix police officers at the hands of Hispanic illegal immigrants, eventually prompted famed Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio to move-in and do what the city police refused to do. This is to say that Arpaio and company actually began “policing” crime scenes that appeared to involve illegal immigrants – and come to find out, some of those crime scenes actually did entail actual illegal immigrants.
From there, the political “die” was cast. Mayor Gordon could not continue trying to portray himself as a “moderate” to a predominantly Republican city, when his neglect of U.S citizens, city residents and business owners had just been stood-up by Sheriff Arpaio. He could either move to the right and try to “out Arpaio” Arpaio (which was never going to happen), or he could run to the rabid political left and join Arizona’s small but vocal “open borders-si se’ puede-Somos America – it’s all racism” crowd.
And run to the left he did. From then on, whenever Sheriff Arpaio held a press conference to discuss one of his “crime sweep” operations, Mayor Gordon held a press conference to explain that Arpaio’s efforts were all about “racism.” Last year when a tragic shooting took place at the United States’ Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., Mayor Gordon exploitatively held a press conference to announce that “anti-Semitism” had been involved in the museum murder, and that there was also “anti-Semitism” present within Sheriff Joe’s department (which amounted to quite a non sequitur for the local media).
Indeed, over the past three years or so, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has mastered the artistry of buzz words, headline grabbing, and race baiting. And by bringing Shakira into the mix, the Mayor has now secured for himself a more prominent position in the world of online search engine history.
But let me be clear in stating the obvious. Mayor Gordon has not added more value, or validity, or “clout” to his policies and ideas simply because an attractive, talented singer shared the podium with him (just as a Cameron Diaz press conference about “global warming” adds no validity to junk science). This kind of “politicking” creates headlines and soundbytes to which millions of our fellow Americans gravitate, but it does nothing to advance our nation’s on-going debate, and it is most certainly not the stuff of which rational public policy is made.
Unfortunately, this vacuous approach to public office is dominating Washington right now. The good news, however, is that Americans are waking-up to it, and are beginning in large numbers to reject it.
Despite the fact that in 2008 we elected the “anti-Bush” presidential candidate with the Muslim-sounding middle name, Iran is as threatening and anti-American as ever, and Americans are realizing this. And when Americans question and disagree with the President and the Congress on everything from healthcare to immigration, they are labeled as “anti-American” and “terrorists,” and this, too, is not setting well.
Let America’s liberal left be America’s liberal left. Let their gamesmanship be put on display for all to see. Americans will then be better able to discern who has “clout” - and whether they want statesmanship, or pop-culture politics.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.