Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome to the funhouse

About a year ago, I was holed up in a foreign land, far far away, waiting to see if the Icelandic volcano would leave me stranded,and the only news of Arizona I could find was in USA Today, which is, let's face it, just barely a newspaper. And what news was it that I found? Why SB1070 of course! I sat there, in the disarray of my hotel room, thinking 'well, you really can't put a price tag on that kind of advertising, can you?' I mean here we are, in the worst recession in 80 years, in a state that depends on tourism for a large part of its economy, and we announce to the rest of the world that if you come to Arizona, and look or act suspiciously foreign (i.e. non-white), you might just end up in jail. And today, a year later, I can happily announce that nothing has changed. The reason for this is simple: Arizona is at heart a southern state and it is run, for the most part, by a gang of angry, stunted hillbillies. Now, hillbillies can be very entertaining. I'm thinking of the first part of Deliverance or the delightful antics of Jed, Jethro, and Granny. But you really shouldn't let them govern you, because, well, they're hillbillies. And they're still re-fighting the Civil War every chance they get, in the hopes that someday they might win.

Every story needs a villain, and so let's blame the Mexicans, their 'liberal' enablers, the Federal government in general, and Barack Obama in particular, for every problem Arizona has. Forget for a moment that the Republicans have controlled the state government for the last 30 years or so. Forget that they've cut taxes to the bone already, which increased the state's deficit and still didn't attract business. Forget that without tons of Federal aid there wouldn't be a modern Arizona as we know it. (Try imaging the place without the Salt River Project, the CAP, the interstate highway system, and all those military bases pumping billions of dollar into the local economy. Pretty bleak, huh?) (Also forget that if your state takes in more Federal aid than it pays in Federal taxes you are benefiting from a form of, yikes, SOCIALISM!!!) Forget that we're in a race to the bottom in education and health care, and that someday soon, the old punchline "thank God for Mississippi", as in "we would be last in a lot of quality of life categories--except that Mississippi is always worse", will be replaced by "thank God for Arizona." No, it's easier to just say "it's all the Mexican's fault--build the dang fence."

Well that's enough for today. I'll leave you with one last thought: anybody who thinks Ronald Reagan was a great president, let alone the greatest president, is either a moron or a defense contractor.

No comments: