Hatewatch

The Astonishing Bigotry and Paranoia of Russell Pearce

Former Arizona state Senate President Russell Pearce, the author of his state’s draconian anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, is notorious for making outrageous claims about the supposed dangers posed by immigrants – both documented and not.

In major speeches at least, Pearce usually tries to maintain some modicum of decency. In private (or at least semi-private), his taste has long been known to run even more extreme than he lets on. That’s likely one reason he became, last November, the first sitting state senate president in the U.S. and the first ever Arizona state legislator to be defeated in a recall election.

Now, a series of E-mails – released to a coalition of civil rights organizations that filed a public records request with the state of Arizona – shows just how deep his loathing of immigrants runs.

The documents contain evidence of deep-seated bigotry and paranoia – and an affinity for numerous racist organizations. The E-mails are replete with “facts” drawn from Rense, a racist and anti-Semitic website that bemoans the alleged “Jewish dominance of America”; myths promulgated by immigrant-bashing former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, a birther who resigned after years of being called out by progressive organizations (including the SPLC) for promulgating debunked nativist conspiracy propaganda; and statistics produced by the National Policy Institute, a racist “think tank” whose mission statement says it aims “to elevate the consciousness of whites, ensure our biological and cultural continuity, and protect our civil rights.”

The E-mails include articles by xenophobes like Pat Buchanan and Frosty Wooldridge; and talking points produced by NumbersUSA, the grassroots arm of a network of organizations conceived by John Tanton, racist architect of the modern anti-immigration movement. In several instances, Pearce endorsed anti-immigrant conspiracy theories popular among nativists and border vigilantes.

To those who have followed Pearce’s many gaffes and outright demonstrations of bigotry over the years, none of this should be a surprise. He once sent supporters an article from the neo-Nazi National Alliance website. And he maintained a close friendship with J.T. Ready for more than a year after the latter was outed as a prominent member of the National Socialist Movement, the country’s largest neo-Nazi group. Ready killed himself in May, but not before fatally shooting his girlfriend, her daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend and 15-month-old baby girl.

The following is a sample of the E-Mails Pearce sent. He appears to have quoted heavily and sometimes without attribution from various sources. Hatewatch has made a careful effort to separate his own comments from those of others, but it is possible that some comments attributed to Pearce were plagiarized from other sources.

April 6, 2006

“Today, conditions are probably as bad or worse than they ever have been on the border. What we find is a mass invasion of historic proportions: individuals running through backyards, breaking down fences, slaughtering cattle, cutting their dogs' throats if they bark, and terrifying people. Men and women who live on the border walk around armed. Women accompany their children to the bus stop with a gun in their purse in the heaviest cross-corridors.”

June 20, 2006

“Lies and more lies as [people who oppose Pearce’s anti-immigration initiatives] attempt to turn this country over to law breakers. They continue to invent arguments, while the whole issue is about ‘illegal’ aliens and giving them rights they don’t deserve and reserved for U.S. Citizens and the trying to give the left political power, it is complete political corruption.”

Dec. 14, 2006:

“Factual is not racial. Realism is not racism. The new definition of a racist is anyone winning an argument with a liberal, minority, pacifist, bible banger, or moron.”

Jan 29, 2007:

“The United States faces the greatest internal threat to its existence since the Civil War. It faces disintegration of its culture; of its language; of its cohesiveness as a nation of free people. It faces massive infusion of unrelenting poverty; of crime; of diseases; of civil violence; of corruption at all levels; and worst of all, the United States faces balkanization that will destroy the fabric of its ability to function as a peaceful nation.”

“One look at Los Angles with its Mexican-American mayor shows you [former Mexican President] Vicente Fox’s general Varigossa [the correct spelling of the Los Angeles mayor’s name is Antonio Villaraigosa] commanding an American city.”

“Can we maintain our social fabric as a nation with Spanish fighting English for dominance? It's like injecting yourself with cancer cells to see what will happen. It’s like importing leper colonies and hope we don't catch leprosy. It’s like importing thousands of Islamic jihadists and hope they adapt to the American Dream.”

“Tough, nasty illegals and their advocates grow in such numbers that law and order will not subdue them. They run us out of our cities and states. They conquer our language and our schools. They render havoc and chaos in our schools. I’m stunned at the speed of this invasion. I’m further stunned that most American don’t see it or deny it or ignore it. We are much like the Titanic as we inbreed millions of Mexico’s poor, the world’s poor and we watch our country sink.”

June 30, 2009

“NO JOBS!! NO FREE STUFF!! NO SANCTUARY POLICIES!! NO MORE IGNORING THE DAMAGE, THE COST, THE CRIME, THE DEATHS, THE JOBS TAKEN, THE WAGES LOWERED, THE HEALTHCARE CRISIS, THE EDUCATIONAL IMPACT OF OVER 20% OF K - 12 ARE NON-ENGLISH SPEAKERS, AND MOST WILL LEAVE ON THEIR OWN. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. INSTEAD OF BLAMING THE FEDS CLEAN UP OUR ACT AND TAKE THE HANDCUFFS OFF FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO DO OUR JOB???”

May 16, 2011

“IF YOU CROSS THE U.S. BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET: A JOB, A DRIVER’S LICENSE, SOCIAL SECURITY CARD, WELFARE, FOOD STAMPS, CREDIT CARDS, SUBSIDIZED RENT OR A LOAN TO BUY A HOUSE, FREE EDUCATION, FREE HEALTH CARE, A LOBBYIST IN WASHINGTON, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE, THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRYS [sic] FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DONT GET ENOUGH RESPECT.”