A long, long time ago, MTV had a clever ad that it would run to explain and promote its unique programming. (In order for those younger than 30 to understand this, I should explain that MTV used to show music videos, all the time, nonstop. And for those younger than 20, there used to be this thing called MTV.)
Anyway, in the house ad, this teenage boy was sitting on the couch, watching a steady stream of music videos, when a knock came at the front door. When he answered the door, he came face to face with the Grim Reaper, who motioned for the boy to accompany him. The boy said, "But I'm watching MTV."
To which the Reaper replied, "Oh, OK. I guess I'll come back when it's over."
The boy smiled and said, "Yeah, you do that."
(The poor guy was probably in his early 20s when he had to answer that door again. It was right around the time MTV veered off course and started showing crap like The Real World.)
If I ever get a chance to bargain with the Grim Reaper, my request will be simple: Just let me live long enough to see all the damage caused by this current state Legislature be undone. That ought to take me up to the next grand syzygy in 2161. (A grand syzygy is when all of the planets in the solar system are lined up on the same side of the sun. It last happened in 1982.) Among other things, living that long would give me two more opportunities to see Halley's Comet, and maybe in at least one of those opportunities, it won't suck as badly as it did in 1986.
But enough about astronomy, or, as I'm sure some GOP members of this Legislature would say, astrology.
This Legislature, with a ridiculous 2-to-1 Republican majority in both chambers, is, one hopes, a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, the product of the perfect storm of the worst economy in almost a century, the fear-flamed backlash against a president who doesn't look like a lot of the rest of us, and a rabid Tea Party movement that peaked at the optimal time and is now receding to the fringes where it belongs. Some would argue that there is a strong anti-immigrant component to it as well, even though those bills failed. I'm guessing that one of its members found out the hard way that cleaning one's own swimming pool is a bitch of a job, and then he spread the word to the others.
It also appears that the members of the majority recognize the fleeting nature of their situation, which includes a veto-proof majority in the Senate, a stranglehold on the House, and a rubber-stamp governor who got her job through attrition and bought herself four more years in the Big Chair simply by signing what is apparently an unconstitutional bill into law. To their credit (and eternal damnation), they have seized the opportunity with both hands and are squeezing the life out of a once-proud state. They whine about federal intrusion while, at the same time, sticking their noses where they don't belong.
Judging by their actions, they won't be happy until all Arizonans are armed, stupid and Christian. (Please avoid the easy punch lines here.)
Because the economy is so horrendous, and people are hanging on by their fingernails, they don't have time to pay attention to what the Legislature is doing to them. And, believe me, things are being done to them, not for them. This Legislature has absolutely no respect for teachers; I'm surprised that educators aren't being forced to wear scarlet T's. It cares little for the working class and not at all for the poor.
What bothers me the most is the sheer hypocrisy that this bunch exhibits. If somebody ran a campaign promising to kiss the butt of every person in the state who has more money than he, and then turned around and did that very thing, that wouldn't bother me all that much. He's just doing what he promised (or threatened) he would do. But these people rail against the big, bad federal government for picking on the states, and then turn around and pick on cities and counties. That's not statesmanship; it's playground bullying.
They talk about personal freedom and then actively work to eliminate places where people can go without being subjected to the specter of armed people strutting around (in the 21st century!). That's not constitutionalism; that's gun worship.
They crow about fiscal responsibility and then refuse to even consider tax reform. But if you can suck up to the fat cats while perhaps eliminating some of the low-end riffraff at the same time, that's a sweet two-fer-one deal. However, that's not responsibility; that's posturing.
It is in the field of education, however, that these scoundrels go all-out. Their open disdain for teachers and sneering hatred of a public-education system that made America the greatest country in the history of the world would be something to marvel at were it not so vile.
We'll look at the greatest hypocrisy of them all next week.