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Why Arizona?

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    Arizona has certainly had its share of the news lately...some of it earned...some not, depending on your perspective.  Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnikhas called his own state a "mecca of prejudice and bigotry" much to the chagrin of many of its citizens.  Is Arizona unique or is it just the only state that happens to be under a micrscope?  Is Arizona the "canary in the coal mine" as we look at how the "vitriolic rhetoric" is spreading within our own states and our nation as a whole?

    Will Bunch of Media Matters provides his perspective of Arizona in his January 11th article, Arizona, where the American Dream went to die. Bunch relates his experiences traveling and interviewing Tea Party and other people in Arizona almost a year ago when that state was earning the reputation as "the undisputed No. 1 in vitriol and bile." We've read about all the stories in the media...but why Arizona?

    As Bunch points out, "the state is coming to represent a violent revolution of rising, and failed expectations. For much of the last generation, Arizona was held out as a promised land -- for retirees looking to write the closing chapters of life under heavenly skies, for immigrants who would meet the bottomless demand for hard work, for families looking to raise their kids into this thriving and up-and-coming economy, buoyed by boundless real estate and low taxes. It seemed too good to be true, and it was. By the time I got there in March 2010, it was clear that Arizona was the place that the American Dream went to die."

    "Entire subdivisions were unfinished and half-empty, victims of the housing bubble. The immigrants from Mexico who once flooded the Home Depot parking lots to get picked up for day labor were not only unable to find work, but they went from backbone of the Arizona economy to scapegoats, blamed (despite studies to the contrary) of taking jobs and draining services. Those retirees spent mornings on the golf course but afternoons inside the bubble of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and vitriolic local radio hosts like once and future GOP candidate J.D. Hayworth, and fear and anger sizzled like an egg cracked down on a desert highway. Government was useless -- closing rest stops on the interstates and farming out the prison system to inept contractors rather than truly balancing the budget."

    Instead of focusing on the real factors...the banks, and too much borrowing and outsourcing of jobs...the people of Arizona engaged in blaming "The Other" in listening to the toxic soup of talk radio where "virulent anti-immigrant nativism -- occasionally sprinkled with things like neo-Nazism -- grew into the desert, as did fear of Muslims."  Bunch calls it a "new zeitgeist" -- where "moderate Democrats like Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords were not just to be disagreed with but to be physically threatened with vandalism or worse... and where guns became a statewide obsession."

    Bunch's article is worth reading and reflecting upon. In reading it, ask yourself not just "Why Arizona?" but also could what is happening in Arizona be a harbinger to what will happen in your state. Is Arizona the canary in the coal mine?


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    People were not meant to live in the desert in such large numbers.  Say what you want about the wonders of irrigation, but it does not block out the fucking sun.  Arizona is and always will be the closest thing to Mars in this hemisphere.   I am a big believer in considering the totality of enviornmental factors on human behavior.  So let me say this about Arizona, the fluctuation from searing heat in the day to the firigid cold at night does something to your mind.  The native peoples may be use to it, but for the white newcomers, it may take several generations....  

    When thinking about the current state of Arizona, remember this is the state that John McCain and Jon Kyl represent, the state of Barry Goldwater, the American Outback.......What sort of people would you expect to dwell in such a hostile climate?    In a land where the Grand Canyon serves as a Western Statue of Liberty, weird shit is bound to go down.  It's inevitable.  Radical redneck spirtuality thrives in a region defined by its "toughness."  And with the mainstream state GOP kicking up a sandstorm of hate with the rhetoric of anti-government violence, it's no wonder that a wacko, influenced by even more perverse anti-government ideology further down the spiral of rightwing conspiracy theory, tried to blow the head off of his Congresswoman. 

    This killer is a Lil' Timothy McVeigh.....another lone wolf mental-case triggered to act by the violent impulses of his generation.  And he is only one of many and he will not be the last.   

    Welcome to the Big Darkness and don't say I didn't warn you.
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    I tend to agree. I've watched my little brother go from a right leaning moderate to an almost raging wingnut since retiring to Arizona. I too, think some very dark times are coming unless something fundamental changes.On a happier note the census is saying more people are moving in that direction , especially from more "liberal" areas and maybe, just maybe, a more level headed leavening of the masses will occur.
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    Once again, I urge you folks to check out  the great El-P's "Deep Space 9mm." 

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    I have to add my 2 cents.  I lived in Arizona in the 70's and up to 1990, and it was beautiful then.
    We got used to those wonderful winters with no snow.  But by the early 90's we knew it was
    time to move on, too many people coming over from California, driving up housing costs,
    too many people planting grass like they had back East, which meant it had to be watered
    which raised the wonderful low humidity we had enjoyed.  The orange groves were being
    cut down for more housing, same with the cotton fields.
    And say what you will about the Mexicans coming in.  They took jobs alright, but the hot,
    dirty jobs no whites wanted.  Try working in that heat in landscaping or the orange groves.
    Then on payday they sent the officials to these orange groves to scare the ones that
    were not here legally, therefore, they didn't have to pay them.  Those people worked
    their butts off in order to send most of their little pay back to Mexico to help their
    families.  They took care of their own.  Up on roofs, putting down tar, in that heat.
    And furthermore, Arizona is the  only "Death Panel" place I know.  Cutting their Medicaid
    and transplants for those who need it.  Its racial allright, I am not sorry
    I lived there, but am happy I left too.  It sure isn't the same there any more.