Monday, July 5, 2010

The Cruel Boycott Of The Gulf Coast

I’ve never heard of an accidental or unintentional boycott, but the five southern Gulf Coast states are suffering under one right now. The causes are different, but the effects of shunning those states is at least as devastating as the boycott of Arizona. By now, we’re all aware that some people are calling for a boycott of Arizona because of their recently passed immigration laws (SB 1070, modified by HB 2162). Those who want the boycott of Arizona feel that the state's law is unfair to Hispanics and Latinos. I don’t agree with their position, but confess that I understand their motivation: Harm Arizona to force them to comply with their wishes. The people who are shunning Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida don't have that kind of motivation. Rather, their own thoughtless selfishness is causing them to, in effect, punish them. Whether it’s a boycott of Arizona or a boycott of a business, boycotters always have the motivation of, and intention to, send a statement of disapproval by means of economic punishment. Yet, nobody disapproves of the Gulf Coast states. They disapprove of the BP oil spill that is making them victims. By shunning those states, the victim is being punished. Since the BP oil spill, tens of thousands of people have decided to not vacation in the coastal areas of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida because of their irrational fear of the BP oil spill. Many people who have vacationed there for years are going elsewhere, and many others who have never been to those states are doing the same. Although it’s not literally a boycott, the harsh effect is the same: Economic hardship caused by business lost. The drop in tourism to the region amounts to a massive, tacit boycott of states, businesses and hard working residents. Stephen Perry, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, proposed the $500 million figure as a reasonable sum for lifting tourism in the Gulf states. He did not say whether the money should come from the $20 billion escrow fund for damages that BP promised at the urging of President Barack Obama. The city of New Orleans has asked BP for $75 million to use for marketing. Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have sought $55 million from BP in a joint request from SouthCoast USA, a nonprofit trade association that helped revive tourism after Hurricane Katrina. More at Huffington Post... Compare that with the meager $250,000 that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has approved in state funds “for a marketing campaign to help her state combat its negative associations with illegal immigration and its controversial new immigration law.” Source: CBS News The oil spill in the Gulf, of course, is different from Arizona’s immigration law in many ways. The spill is a natural disaster. The illegal immigration problem is a legal disaster. Whereas SB 1070 will be the law in every square inch of Arizona when it takes effect on July 28, the oil spill is affecting a relatively tiny percentage of each of the five Gulf states. The spill, in fact is affecting less than one percent of the entire area of any of those states. If you visit Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or Florida you will find many wonderful attractions that are completely untouched by BP’s rogue oil. There is more to do in any of those states than just walking along the ocean beach. There is freshwater fishing, for example, in beautiful inland lakes, streams and rivers - all untouched by the oil. Hundreds of historical sites beckon throughout the South, and there’s incredible cuisine even without some of the local saltwater varieties available. A number of the best golf courses in the world can be found down there. I can’t list all of the thousands of wonderful things to do in those states, but it seems a shame that so many people have such limited imaginations that they didn’t figure this out for themselves before deciding to cause additional economic harm to the hundreds of thousands of innocent Gulf Coast residents. The opposite of any boycott is a “buycott,” where people who support the target of those opposed to its policies. The five Gulf Coast states need a buycott. Those who support an “Arizona Buycott” should also consider a “Gulf Coast Buycott.” There are tens of thousands of Americans there who need your tourism dollars, and would love to see your smiling faces. Finally, a note of irony: Many of those who call for a boycott of Arizona because they say SB 1070 makes the state “dangerous” for illegals. They don’t take into account, however, the fact that Phoenix became the “kidnapping capitol of America” because of illegals involved in criminal activity. SB 1070 is an attempt to curb the kidnapping and other crime in Arizona. Meanwhile, the boycotters are silent on the virtual narcotics-fueled civil war in Mexico, a nation whose own civil rights violations are legion. RELATED: Task force urges campaign to clarify law, reassure tourists that Ariz. is 'safe and welcoming' Washington Examiner BP oil spill: Florida tourism suffers, 4th of July gloomy... Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force (Florida govt site) Texas tourists arrive to back SB 1070 Revised text of Arizona immigration law (SB 1070; HB 2162) Tucson Sentinel Arizona tourism damaged by SB 1070... New York Daily News Louisiana Attractions Alabama Tourism Department Louisiana Office of Tourism State of Florida Travel Information State of Texas Tourism