Well it wasn’t raining yesterday in Atlanta where the Braves played the Philadelphia Phillies in the Civil Rights Game but I’m guessing that there were a few who wish that it had been a rain-out. If it had, then the awards presentation wouldn’t have been held, guitar legend Carlos Santana wouldn’t have received a Civil Rights award and he wouldn’t have righteously unloaded on the states of Georgia and Alabama for their stances on immigration.
Santana was livid about a bill signed into law by Georgia’s Governor on Friday. The law will require all Georgia employers with more than 10 employees to use “E-Verify” by 2015, phasing it in based on number of employees starting in 2012. This bill and similar bills passed in Arizona were what Santana was talking about when he said that Georgia and Arizona “should be ashamed”.
He was pointed in his criticism saying:
“I represent the human race. The people of Arizona, the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.”
You know, there’s a big chunk of me that thinks that baseball and others who were part of honoring Santana were opening themselves up to this type of blunt speaking when they presented an award for Civil Rights advocacy to the Mexican born rock icon. I mean, go figure, he’s an outspoken advocate for immigrants both legal and illegal and he was presented a forum. I’m guessing he saw more than a little hypocrisy in the location of the event as well as the timing of the signing of the bill.
Here’s some of his other comments:
"It’s an anti-American law. It’s a cruel law, actually," Santana said. "If you all remember what it was like here with Martin Luther King and the dogs and the hoses, it’s the same thing, only it’s high tech. So let’s change it.”
“This is about fear, that people are going to steal my job,” Santana said of the law. “No we ain’t. You don’t clean toilets and clean sheets, stop shucking and jiving.”
“I would invite all Latin people to do nothing for about two weeks so you can see who really, really is running the economy,” Santana said. “Who cleans the sheets? Who cleans the toilets? Who babysits? I am here to give voice to the invisible. By god’s grace, I represent the invisible ones. It’s a shame that those in charge would pass a law like those in Arizona. The sound that comes to my heart and my fingers is that we are in this together, that we don’t leave anyone out.”
“This is the United States. This is the land of the free. If people want the immigration laws to keep passing, then everybody should get out and leave the American Indians here.”
And then they went out and played baseball. Will anything change because of this? So far it seems to be a somewhat obscure story getting play in Atlanta, perhaps a bit of play on ESPN and there was an article in this morning’s USA Today.
I guess my reaction to it is “good for Santana”. He’s calling it like it is. Santana has spent a career as a maestro of the guitar. Sounds to me like he’s just as passionate about people, especially immigrants. Seems to me that’s what he was being honored for at the Civil Rights Game.
And, maybe if Jose Feliciano were to play the National Anthem at a baseball game today, he could play it like this and not be so villified for it.