The movement to boycott businesses in Arizona has spread like wildfire after that state's governor signed a new law giving the police the most draconian powers in the country to deal with illegal immigration.
"Democratic members of Congress, religious leaders and leftwing activists urged a boycott of hotels, convention centres and other economic targets in the state."
Meanwhile, last Thursday, the US moved closer to unilateral sanctions against Iran, after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that set up talks with the Senate on a finalized bill.
With a vote of 403-11, the vote saw only seven Democrats, Reps. Baird (WA), Moore (WI), Baldwin (WI), Blumenauer (OR), Kucinich (OH), Waters (CA) and McDermott (WA), and four Republicans, Reps. Flake (AZ), Jones (NC), Paul (TX) and Duncan (TN) oppose the measure. Three others, Reps. Lee (D – CA), Stark (D – CA), and Ellison (D – MN) voted "present."
The initial sanctions against Iran will not likely affect the Iranian people as much as it will their leaders, but these are initial sanctions that could very well be elevated to impact the civilian population, as with Iraq in the nineties. The sanctions are also a planned prelude to a possible military attack, as those in charge know full well the appropriate bases must be touched before employing that "strategy".
Most readers know the comments made by the Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N Bill Richardson regarding the impacts of the sanctions on Iraq. A half a million children died because of those sanctions and when asked about the sanctions' impact, they both "think it was worth it".
Back to the proposed economic boycott of Arizona and the similarities between boycotts and sanctions. Both are meant as punishment. Both end up punishing innocent people. As with the half million children who died in Iraq because of U.S. sanctions, there will be innocent casualties in Arizona if the boycott of Arizona businesses proceeds.
Be sure to remember that the waitress who is hanging by a thread with her job at the convention center and the small trinket shop owner who sells "Come to Arizona" coffee mugs will be affected. They have children who will be affected. They could lose their jobs and become homeless because of this boycott. Depending on the size and length of the boycott, there could be many.
It's a fine line and one that should be approached with all the pros and cons on the table. We citizens allowed our politicians to sanction Iraq which resulted in a half million children dying, never able to grow into productive human beings. Some think it was worth it. We're now allowing our government to proceed with sanctioning Iran, with results that remain to be seen. No matter what happens, some will think it was worth it.
There is a big difference from placing sanctions on countries like Iraq or Iran versus a national boycott of Arizona businesses. The intent and strategic goals aren't comparable. Sanctions, at least as used recently, have no intent on bringing about an ethical solution. A boycott can more quickly put pressure where it counts and force a change in policy. But innocent people will be affected. That should be understood at the beginning of any analysis as to whether to support a boycott. Will it be worth it?