April 29, 2010

Arizona is on thin sand with me

I've got a little list. I call it the States We Can Do Without. You know me, I like to think of myself as Mr. America, I love this stupid, fucked-up country, but I do think we could stand to lose a couple of the 50 states. Specifically, two: Alaska, which is essentially a welfare state and isn't worth the wilderness (I'd take the central California coast over it any day); and South Carolina, which has some of the nuttiest politicians known to mankind and, as far as I can tell, has produced nothing of any value apart from Stephen Colbert. Sorry to any natives of these states, but that's my platform. I'll just have to win without their electoral votes.

But a third state is getting dangerously close to the list: Arizona. Yes, for the obvious reason, but a few others too. It's sad, because I've been there several times and had a certain fondness for the state: a wonderful teenage vacation to Phoenix, an appreciation for the magic of Circle K, and the only member of Congress I know personally. And I've never even been to the Grand Canyon.
But in the past few years, the bloom has come off the cactus. Mama and Papa Quizmaster spend a healthy amount of time each winter in AZ, and I rather adamantly advised them against purchasing a house there (first time they listened to me on something relating to money). There really shouldn't be a state there, or at least not a giant, moisture-sucking city like Phoenix (largest state capital in the country), and I shudder to think what life there will be in that region in 10, 20, 25 years, when global warming has reduced the area to a bunch of air-conditioning stores perched on a giant pile of sand. If they razed half the strip malls and replaced them with solar-reflector farms, they'd be on the right track, but I just don't see that happening in the Red State Riviera.

Then there's Uncle John:
Urgh. Call me cliché, but I used to think the guy was all right, and wonder how he resisted the urge to smack George W. Bush over the head with a meat tenderizer, but the '08 election revealed him to be pretty craven and soulless. Besides, it's probably his fault that I've already given up on Alaska.

And now this, Arizona SB1070. Look, I don't follow the issue of illegal immigration all that much, and despite being a lefty, I have a lot of sympathy for the "What part of illegal don't you understand?" argument. (I have an innate passion for following the rules.) But the whole concept of people being forced to show their papers to any cop who asks—brown people, let's not kid ourselves—makes me incredibly uncomfortable. It reminds me of when my parents took me to see Mel Brooks's To Be or Not to Be in 1983, and even in that mediocre comedy, I was terrified to confront the reality of life under the Third Reich. I knew about concentration camps, but to learn that any soldier could stop you and drag you away to your doom if they didn't like what they found—the capriciousness really freaked me out. Yes, yes, this law is nothing like Nazi Germany, and even deportation (which isn't even the penalty for a first offense) isn't Dachau. But as I say, it makes me uncomfortable.

So sorry, Arizona, but you're really starting to burn my hide . I still want to see the big hole someday, but for now, I'm going to lay off the Dial soap and feel bad that the bigquizthing.com URL is registered with Go Daddy. It's all I can do as a true American.

6 comments:

Bill Scurry said...

This was nicely reasoned.

Dolemite said...

I sympathize with you, and I live in Arizona! I love the desert views here and all, but the people who run the state, all the giant land-clearing and cookie-cutter house building, all of that, just sickens me. I agree that this shouldn't be a State, but on the grounds that it had just remained a territory. No illegal immigration paranoia, no irritating politicians, no Reich-inspired laws like 1070, and no real law enforcement besides sheriffs from town to town. Yeah, the danger and short life-spans of the Old West has always interested me.

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