I'm starting to get less depressed when out-of-state publications criticize Arizona's politics, more because I'm getting used to it than anything, but this featured essay in the Boston Review is remarkably fair, if incredibly tough:
A sense of solidarity led the Tea Party Patriots to Phoenix for their American Policy Summit in February. It’s “our opportunity to support the citizens of Arizona in their current political battles that carry so many national implications,” the organizers of the Summit said. Arizona’s capital, according to the Patriots, is “the great southwestern city, born from the ruins of a former civilization, now the rebirth place of American culture.”
Over the past year, a few signature events—the killing last March of border rancher Rob Krenz; the passage the following month of the immigration-control law SB 1070; and the January 2011 massacre in Tucson that killed six people and gravely wounded U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords—have focused national attention on the political and social tensions in Arizona. The state’s cast of political figures—from Senator John McCain to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio—has captured the media spotlight and won Arizona a rogue reputation.
But Arizona may not be such an outlier.
Certainly Arizona’s history and geography make it one of a kind. Still, comparable demographic and cultural strife is cropping up almost everywhere in America. Arizona’s budget woes, while much worse than most states’, are mirrored throughout the country in conflicts over government downsizing and taxes. Hatred, economic stress, and fears of border insecurity are playing out in unusually grand scale in Arizona, yet mostly reflect the sense of vulnerability and uncertainty about personal and national prospects that are felt throughout the country.
[HT: Blog for Arizona]