9500Liberty Runs in Maximum Overdrive in Arizona

An update on 9500Liberty from The Austin Chronicle   in Phoenix, AZ. Perhaps this review is the most accurate of all the different accounts of what really happened in Prince William County. Obviously, 9500Liberty has become very relevant in recent weeks and months as things heat up over immigration in Arizona.

This interesting documentary, which has spent the last half-year on the film-festival circuit, has achieved, rather suddenly, the utmost in topicality in the wake of Arizona’s passage of its infamous “show me your papers” law. Byler and Park’s film records the 2007-2008 events in Prince William County, Virginia, that surrounded the passage of a similar measure aimed at curbing illegal immigration.

The county board of supervisors there unanimously passed a law requiring police officers to stop anyone whom they had probable cause to believe was an illegal alien. Byler and Park, co-founders of the Coffee Party, were there to observe every public moment as the board wrestled with the fallout and concerned citizens galvanized around both sides of the issue. Events grew more complicated once the police chief calmly informed the board that new taxes would have to be passed in order cover the $14 million of estimated extra expenses to train his people in the details of upholding the law and to purchase cameras to mount on the dashboards of all police cruisers.

Most telling, however, was the eventual testimony of the leaders of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the group ultimately behind both the Virginia and Arizona initiatives. In Virginia, the group helped guide the efforts of the indefatigable blogger who founded Help Save Manassas, the group that led the charge against the illegal aliens.

In the end, this film exposes the calculatedness of politicians who exploit the immigration issue as a boon to their election bids. Part of what makes 9500 Liberty so special is what Byler and Park did with their footage before it was assembled into this feature film. They created a YouTube channel and posted all their interviews and clips online as they were gathered, and they encouraged viewer participation in shaping the material and steering the filmmakers toward unexamined aspects of the subject.

In time, the Virginia statute was amended to eradicate the “probable cause” provision, so that a person’s legal status could not be investigated unless the individual was first apprehended for another crime. The film has served as a cautionary tale, until the legislators in Arizona, of course, stirred things up again. Byler, whose previous narrative films Americanese and Charlotte Sometimes both won Audience Awards at previous South by Southwest Film Festivals. 9500 Liberty has little of the flowing grace of those movies and evidences the jagged video look and on-the-fly cinematography common to so many modern documentaries. Yet what this film has in urgency and timeliness makes it a unique witness to our times.

Eric and Annabel were certainly in the right place at the right time.

Immigration Resolution

Tea Party Poll

From Huffington Post:

A University of Washington poll finds that a majority of “true” Tea Party supporters say it’s not the responsibility of government to guarantee equal rights to African Americans and other minorities.

According to the survey, 74% of Tea Party supporters say they agree with the following statement: “While equal opportunity for blacks and minorities to succeed is important, it’s not really the government’s job to guarantee it.”

Fifty-two percent of respondents also said that “compared to the size of their group, lesbians and gays have too much political power.”

The latest data on the Tea Party reveals that the anger coming from the movement isn’t unilaterally directed at government spending — one of the group’s core issues.

According to University of Washington professor Matt Barreto, who directed the poll, the Tea Party’s frustration with Washington “is going hand in hand with a frustration and opposition to racial and ethnic minorities and gays and lesbians.”

Other noteworthy findings from the University of Washington poll include:

  • 88% of Tea Party supporters approve of the controversial immigration law recently enacted in Arizona.
  • Only 18% of those surveyed say gay and lesbian couples should have the legal right to marry.
  • 73% of Tea Party backers disapprove of President Obama’s policy of engaging with Muslim countries.
  • Certainly polls can be very erroneous in the data they impart to us. Polls have certain criteria they must pass to be considered reliable. The polling sample must be relevant. Questions should be framed to eliminate bias. The sample must be large enough to be considered relevant. Those are just a few basics.  The poll is embedded in the article. (see poll in blue)

    I am going to be bold and suggest that these numbers really don’t represent the Tea Party, at least not on the east coast.  So there is no fight with me over these issues.  I don’t have an opinion.  However, let’s hear from those who might think the Tea Party represents their point of view. Tell us how you really feel on these issues.