By Ted Rushton
Just as Canada was basically “created” by United Empire Loyalists who remained true to Farmer George, as the King of England was known in the 1770s; Arizona was basically “created” by settlers who complained about Border Security.
It helps explain the current campaign to create a ‘Baja Arizona’.
Border Security is the motivating political, social, economic and moral issue in Arizona, just as it was 150 years ago. In those days the “border” consisted of the Apacheria, the land still controlled or at least contested by the Apaches … who were undocumented migrants to the Southwest before the undocumented Spanish migrants arrived before the undocumented American migrants arrived before the undocumented Mexicans arrived. Arizona’s history, heritage and culture for at least the last thousand years has been shaped by undocumented immigrants — just as Canada today is the product of United Empire Loyalists (even if they have debates over which “empire” to which they should remain loyal).
In 1861, after the “Disagreement Among the States” broke out, also known as The Civil War, the Union forces abandoned Arizona to go liberate African-American slaves. The immediate response by Arizona Apaches, in the lands they’d lived in for a thousand years, was to exclaim, “Free at last, free at last . . . thanks to the Great Spirit . . . we are free at last!”
Geronimo became the most noted leader in this effort; at one point, one quarter of the entire US Army was based in Arizona, chasing him hither and yon but never capturing or killing one person from his supporters. The US Army lost at least 1,500 casualties. It created a tremendous economic boom for Arizona . . . which state officials would like to see repeated. When Geronimo finally reached retirement age, the US Army arranged his surrender and provided him with a solid military escort to take the Southern Pacific train out of California.
A military band from Fort Huachuca provided the music during his departure ceremonies.
Less than 20 years later, Geronimo was one of the guests of honor who rode in President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade. Given their ‘druthers, the Arizona Legislature would like to re-do that inaugural parade of President Roosevelt – – – next time without Geronimo, but with Sheriff Joe Arpaio instead.
For the Apaches, the departure of the US Army meant reclaiming their lands from settlers and ranchers, most of whom got no more than six-feet of Arizona soil. This upset the Arizonans who survived; in effect the state seceded and joined the Confederacy. Texas quickly sent troops to occupy New Mexico and Arizona with the ultimate goal of capturing the goldfields of California.
Silicon Valley and Napa, then known as Northern California, quickly organized local militia forces and quashed Confederate sympathizers in southern California. Then as now, ‘Orange County’ in southern California was very conservative; northern California was liberal.
To this day, southern California makes fantasy movies; northern California makes computer chips which never deal in anything more complicated than “1” and “0” numbers.
With the Apaches reclaiming their homelands, Arizonans were delighted when Texas sent troops to provide border security. In response, the California “volunteers” marched east to restore Union authority in Arizona. The two groups met at Picacho Pass, had a brief battle — the westernmost battle of the entire US Civil War — after which the Union forces went back to the Pima villages (near modern Phoenix) and the Texans went back to Tucson, and then New Mexico.
The Californians subsequently went to to Tucson, then New Mexico, where they fought a couple of glorious battles and forced the Texans to advance in the direction of Texas (Texans never retreat.) Texas, being filled with Texans, was left alone by the Californians who returned to California and began building sand castles and eventually turned this silicon into computer chips.
On March 13, the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Picacho Pass is held at Picacho Peak State Park. This year, a detachment of the California Volunteers attended, as well as Confederate re-enactors from New Mexico. Once again, the US flag flew briefly over Arizona – which the Arizona Legislature is soon sure to “correct” by adopting the “stars and bars” of the Confederacy as the state alternative – with much the same thinking as adopting the ‘Colt 45’ as the state pistol rather than the AK-47 as the state rifle.
Presumably, on Monday all is well . . .
The US forces returned “home” to California, Arizona is spared Californification and Sheriff Joe is once again raining upon the state . . .