Arizona: Well, at least it isn't boring here
Over the last few years, Arizona's two biggest exports have been some of the most misbegotten pieces of legislation since the Jim Crow era, and punchline material for late night comedians.
I've been covering Arizona politics, particularly the Arizona Legislature, for over five years now, and I can truly say that while the political tone in Arizona during that period could never be described as "moderate," the situation has deteriorated steadily.
Every state has its "colorful characters" in one office or another, but they are usually the exception to the rule.
In Arizona, they ARE the rule.
As a resident of Arizona, I think they are incredibly frustrating to watch in action.
As a writer, however, I have to say they are God's gift to non-creative writers, because nothing in our imaginations can match the reality that is Arizona politics.
In the coming weeks and months, I'll be writing about many of the legislative proposals in Arizona, and the people behind them, and what happens to a society when the majority in the legislature subscribe to an ideology that is anti-society.
I just want to take a moment now to let you know that when I write about people like -
- the legislator, now a sitting president of the state senate, who campaigned for reelection in 2006 by sending white supremacist emails out to his supporters
- that same senator who has used his position to "blacklist," or bar from the state senate building, a public building, immigration activists
- the state senator who goes on national television to proclaim his adherence to "birther" orthodoxy, AFTER the release of President Obama's "long form" birth certificate
- the state senator who is notorious for celebrating America's independence on July 4th by flying a Confederate flag over his house
- the senate majority leader who, earlier this year, was "involved" in a domestic violence incident by the side of a Phoenix freeway, but avoided arrest by invoking legislative immunity from arrest
- a former governor, who had to resign from office after conviction on federal fraud charges,after which he went to cooking school and saw a UFO. He makes noises about running for governor again every four years
- a state senator who, on the occasion of the annual state of the state address from the governor, carried a pistol on the floor of the legislature
- I could go on all day, but you get the point already. It's crazy here, and the craziness isn't limited to fringe candidates or backbenchers in the legislature.
And this first post hasn't even touched on some of the laws and proposed laws here.
I'll be writing about them, and no matter how bizarre some of the topics seem, none of them need to be fabricated.
Fortunately, the topics will also include efforts to reclaim Arizona and its future, which cover things as grassroots as a move to recall the state senator cited in the first two points above or as establishment as the creation of the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona in the wake of January's mass shooting in Tucson.