Tag Archives: Arizona

Declare Liberty for All – Boycott Indiana

Thomas Edward "Bud" Pence
Thomas Edward “Bud” Pence 1842-1880

Bud & Donnie Pence were members of the Jesse James gang. The Pence brothers are ancestral cousins of Gov. Mike Pence in Indiana. Today Gov. Pence signed SB101, Indiana’s “right to discriminate” law. Old history has come around again. The solution is to declare liberty for all, and boycott Indiana.

Those Pence people have seemed somewhat flaky to me. When Bud and Donnie came riding through Kentucky with Quantrill, Jesse & Frank James, and the Younger brothers in 1865, Maj. James Bridgewater chased them into a deadly shootout on a bleak winter night outside Harrodsburg. Eight men were killed. Bridgewater’s wife was Bud and Donnie’s cousin! It appears that even among family, the Pence penchant for discrimination was OK.

Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana
Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana

Today, following the signing of the bill by Gov. Mike Pence, I have decided to boycott the 5th Annual Authors Fair in Indiana. I’ve submitted my resignation. Since SB101 is state law, I will boycott Indiana entirely. Ever since Arizona legalized bigotry with its notorious “papers please” law, I have boycotted Arizona.

Previously I wrote about what the Youngers would have to say about that nativist discrimination. I also wrote about Frank and Jesse’s cousin, Daniel Lewis James, and how he would deal with discrimination, too, after his own U.S. Government blacklisted him.  As other states legalize their blatant bigotry and hatred, I will boycott them, too.

The history and people I write about are devoted to social justice. As an author, so am I. If I disrespect my subjects and their beings, as Arizona and Indiana disrespects the people its laws target, I as a creative artist becomes a target also, as does the brand of my art. Bigotry, when supported, diminishes not one person or one class, but everyone.

Upon my liberty and for the liberty of others, I will stand up against such bigotry and put my art, my money, and my livelihood where my mouth is. I have never forgotten “with liberty and justice for all.” That spells equality.

In the words of Jesse & Frank’s cousin, Daniel Lewis James, who wrote The Great Dictator with Charlie Chaplin, “Speak. You must. It’s our only hope.”

What would Jesse James’ cousin, Dan James, do about Arizona ?

American’s iconic outlaw Jesse James had a modern day cousin who wrote movies and books using pseudonyms. One of the names he wrote under was Danny Santiago.

As Danny Santiago, Daniel Lewis James Jr. wrote an award winning novel, titled Famous All Over Town. Today the book is a classic, that is studied in countless college Hispanic studies programs. Dan’s protagonist is a 24 year old Chicano, named Chato Medina. Literally translated, his name means a cat from the old part of town.

Like Jesse James and Dan James, Chato had political problems. When the Southern Pacific Railroad began demolishing Chato’s neighborhood, Chato took up arms. His firearm of choice was a piece of chalk. Chato took his chalk to the streets. Everywhere he went Chato chalked his name in protest. Like Jesse and Dan who fought injustice, Chato suffered retribution. He became an outlaw and was jailed for his crimes. Like Jesse and Dan, Chato also became famous all over town.

Dan James wrote his novel after spending a significant part of his life working with his wife Lillith in the barrios of Los Angeles with the disadvantaged from the Hispanic community. Dan and Lillith introduced Hispanics kids to Hollywood celebrities, got their parents trade jobs in the film industry, lent them money when necessary, sent them to college, drank with them in their cantinas, and became godparents to a multitude of Hispanic children.

Dan’s grandfather was Jesse’s uncle Thomas Martin James. Taking some fancy European chinaware that was useless to fur traders heading into the Far West, T. M. James transformed his trading business in Kansas City into the famed T.M. James Fine China Co., later purchased by the Havilland Fine China Company. On the side of Dan’s mother Lillie Snyder, Dan’s great grandfather was Andrew Jackson Snyder. A.J. served as Brigadier General for Gov. Green Clay Smith in Montana Territory during the gold rush there. Later, as a stockman, A.J. offered to buy the Cherokee Strip to annex to his Texas ranch that sold 30,000 head of cattle per year.

Dan’s father and namesake, Daniel Lewis James Sr., wrote plays with characters that resembled Jesse James, too. Dan Sr. could never figure out, though, if his cousin Jesse was a sinner, or was sinned against. None of his plays was produced.

Daniel Lewis James, aka Danny Santiago

Dan Jr. was more like his cousin Jesse. Dan was a social activist. He worked for the longshoreman union organizer Harry Bridges. When Dan was arrested in the Bloody Thursday riots of 1934 in San Francisco, about the same time his cousin Barbara James was jailed for demonstrating for birth control, Dan Sr. suggested Dan confine his politics instead to the use of his pen.

Wielding a pen as his weapon also got Dan into trouble. Dan wrote the movie The Great Dictator with Charlie Chaplin, confronting the Fascist government of Mussolini. Like his cousin Jesse, his own government came down hard on Dan. He was brought before the House on Un-American Activities. Dan was accused of being a Communist, and he was blacklisted from making a living as a screenwriter.

Chaplin fled to his native England. Daniel Lewis James Jr. fled to the barrios of Los Angeles to continue to fight with the Hispanic community against bigotry and social inequality. Today, Daniel Lewis James would probably be in Arizona.

LINKS:

New York Times Obituary for Daniel Lewis James

Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration

What’s the Matter with Arizona?

Hey Arizona… We don’t need no stinkin’ “papers”!