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Opinion: AZ Republican: We Don't Want Middle Easterners Here

The Buck Starts Here

"If you know Middle Easterners, a lot of them, they look Mexican or they look, you know, like a lot of people in South America: dark skin, dark hair, brown eyes. And they mix. They mix in. And those people, their only, their only goal in life is to, to cause harm to the United States. So why do we want them here, either legally or illegally?"

What should the reaction be to someone who says that we do not want people of Middle East descent in the country legally? What should the reaction be to such hate speech?

In the Republican Party, the reaction is: let's run her for Congress!

That is a quote from GOP Tea Party candidate Gabriela Saucedo Mercer who won a Republican primary in Arizona on August 28, 2012.

She is not only welcomed in the party but she is promoted.

The interview with the Western Free Press is available – in two installments – on YouTube for all the world to watch.

Despite her rhetoric, or more likely because of it, Gabriela Saucedo Mercer was backed by the Governor of Arizona in this critical primary for Republicans.

She is running for a seat that is targeted not just by Arizona Republicans and the state's mining industry, but a seat targeted by Eric Cantor and House leadership as well.

Gabriela Saucedo Mercer isn't some random candidate that is going up against an entrenched Democrat in a district Republicans have written off.

Her opponent, Raul Grijalva, has been a thorn in the side of Republicans and business interests that want to execute mining in public lands.

For example, they want to mine uranium in the Grand Canyon.

Seriously. They want to mine in the Grand Canyon and other public lands in Arizona. Congressman Grijalva has repeatedly stood in the way.

Grijalva has been a staunch advocate for another of Arizona's industry: the tourism industry. Protecting these lands brings in dollars and jobs – not just for a few years until what minerals are there are stripped away – but for decades or centuries.

People will want to visit a pristine Grand Canyon for generations.

Grijalva has been a long time target of Republicans because of his staunch defense of public lands. He is Chairman of the House Progressive Caucus and is a target of the NRCC, the House electoral arm of the Republican National Committee.

His opponent in this race is a big deal not just to Tucson Republicans or Arizona Republicans, this seat is a priority for the Leadership of the Republican Congress.

So in an effort to divide people and run a nasty, negative campaign the GOP has turned to a clone of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann – the woman who recently attacked long time Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abiden for being a plant of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This and other attempts to fan the flames of hatred are wrong.

Middle Eastern immigrants, like immigrants from all over the world, have helped America become the country it is today. The effort to paint the Middle East as a monolithic land of Arab hatred for America is reprehensible.

I, for example, have relatives that are of Middle Eastern heritage. I have friends, some who work in public service, who share that background as well. I guess they do blend into America – which is a good thing because they’re Americans just like anyone else.

It is important that people stand up and say that we are a better country for having such proud Americans.

Republican efforts to promote hatred across racial and religious lines are heating up this electoral season. They have found a new warrior to promote the cause in Arizona. Her name is Gabriela Saucedo Mercer. Her mission is to demagogue Middle Easterners and their ability to "mix in".

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.


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