Pro-Trump riots won’t stop the winds of political change blowing in the West – High Country News – Know the West


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What the DC insurgency meant to our regional consciousness.

Large vans displaying American flags and flags supporting President Trump have become commonplace in Tucson, Arizona.

Roberto (Bear) Guerra / High Country News

By now, we are all familiar with the images on display during our nation’s Capitol uprising on January 6 – the MAGA red hats, the American, Confederate and “Trump 2020” flags, the far-right merchandise, the tactical equipment. We saw the crowds unmasked and loudly cheered at the President’s rallies and clashes with Black Lives Matter protesters in the western United States and across the country last summer. And we saw echoes, or perhaps premonitions, during the 2016 occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

I’ve met purveyors of this imagery on the streets here in Tucson and Phoenix; they speed through the interior of vehicles flanked by “Don’t Tread on Me” and American flags, their bumper stickers showing the silhouette of an AR-15. But as the storming of the U.S. Capitol continued on live TV, there was something new about these antics. They had openly plotted this insurgency for weeks on social media; the president had called the attempt himself. The police did not appear to stand in the way when the doors of the Capitol were smashed; a few security guards even took selfies with the terrorists once they entered the rotunda.

When a group of them took over the Senate Chamber as lawmakers were pushed to a safer place, I began to understand what we were witnessing: the future – the kind of spectacle that we should have expected as the final of Donald J. Trump’s presidency from the start.

A house in Globe, Arizona, is covered with signs supporting Trump and other Republican officials, as well as a Confederate flag.

Roberto (Bear) Guerra / High Country News

But from my perspective in Arizona – where young black, native and Latino canvassers and activists have worked hard to engage voters on social justice issues for at least two decades, where a growing number of first-time voters are young people. color and the 2020 election has just toppled this traditionally conservative state – the reality is slightly different.

Arizona is not only the most predominant Western electoral battleground – it is a model for the future of the Western United States. certify the results of the Electoral College, the last step to finalize the presidential victory of Joe Biden. When the time came to count Arizona electoral votes, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Republican Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona halted the generally routine process. “I stand up for myself and 60 of my colleagues to oppose the counting of the ballots in Arizona,” Gosar said. Minutes later, rioters breached the chambers of the House and television cameras filmed the evacuation of the room as lawmakers were in a hurry to secure locations for shelter in place. Jake Angeli, a QAnon supporter and pro-Trump here in Arizona, walked around. Once inside the Senate Chamber, Angeli, 32, wearing her trapper-style fur hat with horns, stood behind the podium shirtless, showing off her Norse tattoos, symbols often associated with white supremacists .

Like California in the 1990s, this state reacted forcefully to the anti-immigrant policies of public officials – in our case, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for his “tent city jail” and pointless tactics. cruelty, like forcing inmates to wear pink underwear – and the Conservative funding of public services for the past 20 years. The Black, Latino and Indigenous-led civic movement that organized our state’s elections shows us that there are consequences to discriminating against communities of color, depriving voters of their civic rights, and underestimating their power and contributions to society. In other words, the so-called “Sleeping Giant” voting block has never been a monolith, it has never been asleep, and it is much stronger than the pundits and elected officials were willing to accept. .

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, local organizations like Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) have applied widely, which has helped topple the historically red state.

Roberto (Bear) Guerra / High Country News

If Arizona follows California’s path, our state will begin to see more people of color and representatives of traditionally disenfranchised groups in public service, and there will be more public investment in all communities. This will make this Sunbelt state a beacon of hope for other western states with large Latin American and Native populations, most notably Nevada and New Mexico, and increasingly Idaho and Colorado.

The Patriot movement, which the supporter of QAnon Angeli claims to support, would have you believe that following in California’s more progressive political footsteps will spell the end of Arizona. Over the past four years, this messy group has espoused dangerous conspiracy theories, warning of a civil war in our country, insisting that the nation’s survival, their nation, is at stake.

In the end, Arizona’s electoral votes were counted. The future is not hypothetical. It’s here. But more importantly, the country and the West are going through the kind of civic awakening to racial justice that has not been seen in decades – an awakening that spans generations and geography. What we witnessed on January 6, 2021 will live on in infamy, but whatever the spectacle may be, it cannot reverse the gains that have been made across the country by traditionally disenfranchised people, both inside and outside the corridors of power.

Editor-in-Chief Ruxandra Guidi writes from Tucson, Arizona. Email him at [email protected] Where submit a letter to the editor.


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