There are a lot of things I love about living in Arizona. The fact that the temps have been in the low-to-mid-80s during the middle of February, for example. The low cost of living in Phoenix, the sixth-largest city in the country. The beautiful terrain.
On the other hand, our politics are unbelievably fucked-up beyond…well, beyond all belief.
We’re the sort of state where people can, and do, openly carry guns around with them. Because apparently Arizona in 2014 sometimes gets confused with Arizona in 1884. We’re the sort of state (and specifically, Phoenix is in the sort of county), where having a sheriff like Joe Arpaio is considered acceptable. We have this odd mix of local politics that, at least outside the metro areas of Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson, mixes the worst elements of extremist Republicans with the worst elements of extremist Libertarians. How fucked-up are our politics? They are so royally fucked-up that the Arizona Republican Party actually censured John McCain, a sitting, senior United States senator and former GOP candidate for the White House, for voting alongside Democrats too often. That’s how fucked-up things are here.
I had thought that was kind of the low point we’d hit with politics in this state, and then the GOP-controlled state legislature (previously noted for filing a lawsuit against our Republican governor for expanding Medicaid), passed a bill that is, essentially, the same bill the Kansas legislature killed a few days ago. You know, the one that was the subject of my latest article mocking Kansas.
Now admittedly, Arizona’s state legislature is notorious for being comedy-level stupid. This is the same group of people who manage our state’s economy so poorly that they had to sell-off parts of the state capital complex, and then lease them back, in order to make our budget. They are so incompetent that they keep cutting educational budgets to the point where the CEO of a major tech company said he’d have to reconsider doing business in this state, because he wasn’t sure he could hire a skilled and educated workforce. So the fact that this collection of ass-clowns has now passed, along party lines, of course, this latest bill is almost zero surprise.
It’s also worth noting that I’m 99% sure our governor is going to veto this. She’s someone with whom I disagree more often than not, but I doubt she’s stupid enough to sign this. If she is, of course, we can then expect several years and several million dollars to be wasted defending this bill before the courts; all the way up to the US Supreme Court which will say, “Yeah, fuck, no.” Though possibly they might dress it up a bit.
It isn’t correct to say that I’m surprised or deeply disappointed in Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature. I’m not. This is absolutely the level of stupidity I’ve come to expect from them. I would like to hope that anyone I know who is Republican in this state, and especially anyone I know who is gay and Republican, would find themselves unable to vote for the party next time around, but I know that won’t be the case. They’ll find a way to rationalize all this and set it aside. They’ll say, “the governor will veto it, so it’s a symbolic vote” (while ignoring what the symbolism represents), or they’ll point out that discrimination against gays is already legal here (you can indeed be fired for being gay, because the law doesn’t say you can’t), or they’ll simply scream, “BENGHAZI!” at you until you walk away. But I’d dearly like to hope they’ll learn from this exactly what their party is, and take that into account next time they vote.