Arizona is not a state; it’s a disease.
I didn’t come down with Arizona by sharing a needle or through unsafe sexual practices. I didn’t eat a tainted cantaloupe, or discover it at the bottom of a whiskey bottle. Nope, I was born with it. I lost the natal lottery in a Phoenix-based county hospital back in 1973. Still, I’m 38-years-old today, and I’m proud to say that Arizona hasn’t killed me yet.
But I’ll be damned if it isn’t trying.
Between the summers—which never actually end but simply fade for a few days only to jump up out of nowhere like a monster in a horror movie—and the politicians—who never really govern but simply spend their per diem while curb-stomping voters’ rights with legislation so sadistic it could star in the next sequel to Saw—Arizona can wreak havoc on a person’s nervous system.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just consider the recent actions of Governor Jan Brewer and the State Senate, which earlier tonight impeached Colleen Mathis, who was the Chair of the Independent Redistricting Commission. The Republican-controlled Senate removed Chairwoman Mathis on the premise that the district maps the commission drew somehow unfairly, and in violation of the Constitution, favored Democrats.
Yeah, and Evander Holyfield’s ear was totally taunting Mike Tyson’s teeth.
The fact is that a little over a third of Arizona voters are registered Republican, but Mathis’ “highly partisan” commission drew maps that flat-out guarantee the GOP will control the State House and Senate for the next 10 years, while also guaranteeing that Republicans will, before a single vote is cast, win at least four of Arizona’s nine congressional districts.
Based on the commission’s maps, if you’re a Democrat or a moderate to left-leaning Independent, the only hope Mathis’ “gerrymandering” offered you for the next ten years is that Democrats might manage to win every possible “open” election and, in doing so, create a legislative cat’s eye. You know, not a good government, or a productive government, but rather a gridlocked one (which, admittedly, would be an improvement).
So unless liberals are completely masochistic or they seriously suck at gerrymandering, the suggestion that these maps benefit Democrats is so absurd that Albert Camus has come back from the dead to write a play about it.
Sadly, as the Independent Redistricting Commission was created by Proposition 106, which voters overwhelming supported in hopes of removing politicians from the district-drawing process, Governor Brewer didn’t just impeach Mathis, she also impeached the will of the voters.
But in Brewer’s defense, at least she can now claim to have accomplished something since she became governor. I mean, she hasn’t created jobs or sparked the economy (and no smartass, reducing it to ashes doesn’t count as a “spark”). She’s also failed to improve education, or even fund it for that matter (for the record, since she took office three years ago, state taxes allocated to public education have been reduced from 60 percent of the annual budget to just over 30 percent). And then there’s her approach to health care which…
Well, let’s just say that since so many have been denied coverage by AHCCCS, the number of people in need of medical treatment has “diminished.” But on the plus side, if you own a funeral parlor it’s all good.
Still, Brewer has some fans simply because she signed last year’s SB 1070 (a.k.a., KKK). Even that action, however, is misleading. Brewer didn’t write the bill, or lobby for it or even openly support it. And when the bill landed on her desk, she spent four days doing nothing but deciding what to do with SB 1070, just like she has spent the last three years deliberating what to do with the economy and education while doing absolutely nothing, just like she spent 14 very telling seconds in a debate last year trying to jump-start her brain into speaking, while saying nothing.
But that’s Jan Brewer in a nut shell. A woman solely defined by painfully long periods of inactivity, punctuated by short, imbecilic bursts of political Tourette’s.
The truth is, if you cracked open Brewer’s skull you’d likely discover that the Grand Canyon is only the second biggest hole in the state. In fact, if we changed the name of her book from Scorpions for Breakfast to Shit for Brains no one would bat an eye, not even Jan—at least not for a good minute or two, anyway.
But you can’t blame Brewer. Sure, our governor is currently wiping the shit she just fisted out of Arizona voters off her elbow, but it’s not her fault.
You see, she’s come down with a debilitating case of Arizona, and she’s not alone. From Senate President Russell Pearce—whose approach to our current financial crisis was to author the Birther bill and demand more guns on college campuses—to Sheriff Joe Arpaio—who believes that tent cities can save tax payers the millions of dollars he can’t recall wasting—to State Senator Andy Biggs who believes the only way to safeguard Democracy is to dismantle the commission Arizonans voted into existence because they didn’t trust politicians to draw district maps.
Oh, and if you’re unemployed? Yeah, you’ve got a case of Arizona. If you’ve recently foreclosed on a home or filed for bankruptcy, chances are you’ve come down with Arizona. If you’re currently a student in Arizona’s public education system, congratulations on making it this far into the essay—you’ve yet to show signs of Arizona, but give it time.
Finally, if your name is Mark Price, you came down with a fatal case of Arizona.
That’s because Price died last year when the state of Arizona denied his bone marrow transplant. You see, the powers that be decided that rather than saving a life, they’d prefer to save the state’s $200 million surplus for a rainy day.
And if you don’t realize that this is our rainy day, you’re in the advanced stages of the disease. If you don’t get treatment soon, you’ll end up fancying flag-emblazoned T-shirts, complaining that people don’t speak English while at the same time refusing to fund the schools that teach it, and voting for politicians that prove, time and time again, that your vote is the last thing they care about.
As for me? I’m in the middle stages of the disease, and thanks to tonight’s Special Senate Session flare-up, it looks like I’ll have to wait at least 10 years for Arizona to go into remission.
Until then, perhaps we should change the state’s motto to: Welcome to Arizona—have you considered suicide?