Out of Touch in Arizona
But for all its diversity of land and people, Arizona is also a lunatic magnet. As I drove, I listened to the radio blather of a state in mob-rule frenzy of cranky old men. Once in Phoenix, I saw on television that sign in a car’s rear window, the new image of Arizona to the rest of the world: “I’m Mexican. Pull me over.”[...]It's seriously sad and frightening that Arizona has become the central HQ for batshit crazy, a title formerly held by Oklahoma until Brewer went all in and signed off on the US version of aparteid. At least in Oklahoma there appears to be some sane people left who will push back against the crazies and stop them. For instance the harebrained citizen militia deal was shot down rather quickly, even by the Republican leasdership there.
But Arizona is more than a laboratory for intemperate times: this place is a warning of what a state can look like when it’s run by talk-radio demagogues and their television cohorts.
No such filters apparently exist in Arizona. It's easy to forget in the awe of the sanctioning of facism there that they also recently passed a spate of insane measures.
...Another new measure lets people carry concealed weapons without a permit, following on the heels of the new-found freedom to pack heat in bars and restaurants, something that was outlawed in much of the Old West. And the state house has just approved a bill that would require candidates for high office to show a birth certificate.As Egan says, "The crackpot laws owe their genesis to the crackpots who dominate Republican politics, who in turn cannot get elected without the backing of crackpot media." Sadly, the crackpot media shows no signs of tempering their "gin up rage for ratings" tactics and even John McCain has abandoned what little principles he had left to pander to the far right, being locked in a rhetorical contest with his primary opponent to see who can come up with the most extreme eliminationist language.
However, on the bright side, while these tactics are working to raise their ratings with the crazy conservative base, it is also re-energizing the reality based community on the left and the Indys are fleeing the GOP in droves. Perhaps we're finally reaching the legendary "peak wingnut" and saner state governance will be restored in 2010 after all.
[More posts daily at The Detroit News]