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James T. Harris

Bonfire of the Vanities

Tucson is burning and the left smells victory.

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In the winter of 1990, in the small town of Black Rock, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, I read Tom Wolfe’s classic Bonfire of the Vanities for the first time.


According to Wikipedia, a wholly unreliable source, Bonfire of the Vanities refers to the burning of objects that are deemed to be occasions of sin. Who is the sin? We are the sin. In essence, we Christians are being burned at the stake. The sin?


Our faith.


That was over 20 years and three reincarnations ago, but the ashes of “Bonfire” still smolder in my brain. Today, as I connected the dots of Tucson’s latest debacle, the embers caught flame! Like the New York City in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, Tucson is a hot-bed of racial and cultural tension. It all started when a private Christian university expressed its desire to move into a poor community by buying a dilapidated neighborhood golf course, build a first class university on the property, and infuse it with a thousand jobs, millions of dollars of economic activity, and life-changing opportunity. In other words… life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What could possible go wrong?


In a word… everything.


You see, that golf course has a racial past that over the decades has been watered with racial cups of sorrows. To one group the beautiful greens represent leisure, to another, racial oppression. The very group of activists who fought against the “white man's sport” years ago are fighting for “our neighborhood golf course” today. Huh? What changed? Nothing… except:


Politics. And the soft bigotry of low expectations. Plus, the hard bigotry of sexual politics, and the fear and loathing of Christian conservatism. Then throw in political fiefdoms, community organizing, critical race theory, nepotism and voila’! Tucson’s edition of the classic Bonfire of the Vanities!


Cast of Characters:

  • Tucson City Councilwoman Regina Romero
  • Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik (Special K The Whiz Kid of Tucson)
  • Salomon Baldenegro
  • Wing Span (gay activists who don’t live in District 1 but hate Christians)
  • Raul Grijalva
  • Lillian Lopez-Grant (old school heart of gold activist)
  • Miguel Ortega (radical wacky bird who advocates the rise of Aztlan)



The beautiful Regina Romero has decided to do the right thing for her people by supporting a private university to buy land and set up shop in her district. However, powerful interests oppose the infusion of Private. Christian. Capital.


Protagonist #1: Special K. He likes to pee in public. But more importantly he is a recently converted Democrat! An infusion of Christian votes into Tucson could upset the balance of power. Must stop, but how? Play the sex card. Special K is Metro and is comfortable with playing the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The Tucson weekly aids him in his anti-Christian pro-homosexual assault against the Christian university while putting pressure on Regina Romero to act accordingly.


Protagonist #2: Salomon Baldenegro. Replaced Grijalva at the University of Arizona as assistant dean of Hispanic Student Affairs. Was let go for being more radical than Grijalva! Fights Grijalva every chance he gets. It’s a perpetual pissing match. Who can out race-bait the other. 


Protagonist #3: Wing Span. The local band of LGBT activists whose numbers are… questionable. Some say they are legion (snicker). What is known is that they carry a lot of pull because gay is the new black. My guess? They number in the teens except on parade day.


Protagonist #4: Raul Grijalva. Head of the Progressive Caucus in the U.S. House. Never met a job he liked, except his own. Romero is Grijalva’s puppet. Her husband is Grijalva’s right hand man. 


Protagonist #5: Lillian Lopez-Grant (old school heart of gold activist). Community activist, raised her kids, they all graduated. Would like to see other kids do the same.


Protagonist #6: Miguel Ortega. Former aide of Tucson City Councilwoman.  Threatened elected official a few years ago, has been struggling for work and relevance since then.


Now… Here’s what is insidious. That red-hot fire of racial angst is stoked on a regular basis by Raul Grijalva and his crew of race-baiting gremlins. They wreak havoc at every available opportunity, they work 24/7 to keep people out-of-work.


Out of work + Minority = Power to the politicians.


It's that simple… Keep them stupid, keep them angry, and one day we will transform the world. In that world, activists and their minions will rule. And here it is. Here is the bane of Tucson of the Vanities…


You have to stay in power once you have achieved it. You can’t ever let a good crisis go to waste. You can’t ever miss an opportunity to create a crisis. Keep them off guard, keep beating them down, and the middle class you so abhor will eventually just pay their taxes and stay under the radar and out of your way. Of course, you can always burn them at the stake, in the name of inclusion and tolerance.


The beautiful protagonist Regina says that “Despite the many positives of Grand Canyon's move to El Rio, I have always believed in listening to everyone. After hearing sincere concerns from my friends, allies and colleagues on this issue, I have decided against pursuing the opportunity further.”




I've been warned by my base, which consist of a handful of gay activists, my husband’s boss and Special K. They want me to keep my constituents in poverty. My people do not deserve good things, especially if white Christians are offering it. Besides... Christians do not support socialist racist policies, therefore for the good of the people… they must go.


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