I like many things about State Senator Andrew Rice, and I might vote for him as the better choice if all we have to choose from is him or Inhofe, but I cannot support him (and I don’t think other progressives should either) until he comes out clearly in favor of immigrant rights and says that his vote in favor of the horrid anti-undocumented immigrant law (you know, the one that makes helping undocumented people with charitable assistance a felony in Oklahoma) was a mistake in judgment.
I’ve talked about his vote on my blog before (see May 10, 2007 – Time to Resist Racist Laws and April 18, 2007 – Why did Andrew Rice and Anastasia Pittman vote FOR the anti-immigrant hate law?, and yes Rice has addressed the rationale behind his yes vote, but I’m not satisfied with it. He explained to me and others that he had to compromise if he was going to negotiate in good faith to omit the most onerous provisions. But, **** what could be worse than making it a FELONY for a church to give an undocumented single mother baby clothes? What could be worse than making it a FELONY to shelter an undocumented victim of domestic violence?
So I say it’s time for Senator Rice to make amends. If he wants my support, he’s going to have to earn it. I’m not convinced that he’s progressive, and I have to admit I’m now a bit cynical of his vote when seen in the light of this US Senate campaign (since unfortunately the anti-immigrant hate law is popular in the short-term among many swing voters). Either he needs to prove that he is a voice for the oppressed, or the oppressed will have to find another champion to fight on their behalf. I don’t care if he is a popular democrat and is perceived as an electable progressive, voting for anti-immigrant hate legislation is wrong.