The Astonishing Bigotry and Paranoia of Russell Pearce
SPLC’s Hatewatch has uncovered private emails from the author of Arizona’s immigration laws.
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.