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A Little About Arizona

A Little About Arizona

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Lizzie Siddal
 In light of recent events...

Arizona was always on my list of potential places to move after graduation because it is west, where I want to go (away from my northeastern liberal bubble, as my one of my professors put it), because it is beautiful (Stargirl is set there, enchanted places!), and because Hamlet 2 was filmed in Tuscon. Grad school for art history is also dirt cheap out there. (Upon reflection, this is probably because there aren't really museums, big pieces, or classical-specific cultural communities out there; I understand that much of the art vibe is newer, Georgia O'Keefe skulls-type stuff. Which sounds kind of awesome and fresh right now.) And it's just *different* -- they have cactuses (cacti?) and I'm pretty sure it doesn't snow there!

But after the immigration law was passed -- it *still* astonishes me, really -- and the media started zooming in on Arizona, it became clear that it was not such an enchanted placed after all. This is the NYT article I was reading when I tweeted "What the hell is going on in Arizona?" on Saturday morning; the shooting happened a few hours later, while I was at work. It felt like some eerie turn of fate when I heard the news. It's absolutely heartbreaking, shocking, and I'm glad that at least this is calling attention to the volatile political bickering that has lately been so bad, things like the Rally to Restore Sanity are happening. But from what we're hearing about the little nine-year-old girl who died, we probably just lost our future female President, a federal judge is dead and Rep. Giffords is in a medically induced coma. It makes me sick to my stomach. Sometimes it's easy to forget that not all problems can be solved with an inspiring speech, a sincere explanation, or a fancy dinner, like they are on The Clone Wars.

I just finished with this really insightful article from last July. (It is awesome uses architecture as a comparative device, win.) I go to a state school so I'm always hearing about the problems up in Albany, higher ed cuts, tax arguments etc, but when I look at what's happening in Arizona their issues seem so much worse, fundamentally.

The anti-government attitude in Arizona is now reflexive, especially because of its entanglement with the issue of immigration. As one local resident, who didn’t want to be identified because she has a government job, told me: “People who have swimming pools don’t need state parks. If you buy your books at Borders you don’t need libraries. If your kids are in private school, you don’t need K-12. The people here, or at least those who vote, don’t see the need for government. Since a lot of the population are not citizens, the message is that government exists to help the undeserving, so we shouldn’t have it at all. People think it’s OK to cut spending, because ESL is about people who refuse to assimilate and health care pays for illegals.”

Whatever else may be happening, it's clear that bad things are brewing in Arizona, and I hope that we don't have to have another tragedy for something for things to start getting done. I don't know if Arizona will be a fit for me after I graduate -- now I feel both a revulsion and a pull to help create change. My thoughts go out to all the victims.
  • We now live in a country where the verbal targeting of our judicial and legislative officials is a reality, and where threats of violence are deemed an acceptable, effective form of discourse. I don't really feel that we can claim to follow the rule of the law.
    • Can I just say I love you and you always say exactly the right things to make me think, feel, and grow? Threats of violence being thrown around so casually are terrible and I wish everyone would ~listen to what they are saying! The power in words is amazing and what affects people subconsciously even more so. Why aren't there PSAs about being careful what you say and mean? What you said about free speech went straight to my heart -- I think we have reached a point where the argument is less about the right to say something than the purpose and intent behind the words. Being aware, being honest, being rational is more important than ever, and we should be trying to incite violence or threaten it in order to incite something else. <3333333
  • So, I read these two articles (and felt behind, and uninformed, and generally lame, and also angry at the universe), and then I went to sociology and we talked about it, of course. All my teachers are, because here at SU we are Socially Conscious. But anyway, this discussion was actually uber insightful, because my prof connected it to what we're studying with Hobbes and Locke, and I liked having that academic structure to discussing current events. I'll maybe make my own post later about what we actually discussed, but my point is - Arizona, man. I too didn't really think of it beyond a very romanticized American Southwest Desertland place until all this shit went down, and it's disturbing.
    • Ilu and sometimes I think we really are the same person! The romanticized American southwest indeed... Lolz, I totally felt that way about my soc class too, because with all the history courses it can be easy to forget/neglect current important things. Contemporary discussion is always awesome too. I always feel young, far behind and uninformed about the global situation in general -- lately I'm been reading my NYT app when I wake up/before I get out bed and it makes me feel *much* smarter and aware. I think it's a very modern and reasonable youth-hipster version of the traditional newspaper at the breakfast table.

      I want to hear about this connection to Hobbes and Locke!! I can vaguely see how that would work and it sounds AWESOME. Also, how much did you love the writing about the dilapidated Capitol? When I started with that architectural metaphor I was like, OMG, this is my kind of article!
      • Lol, I totally think this too! <3

        Exactly! I looove my ancient history, but I want that connection to the now, or else I feel like it's a bit of a waste. And seriously, the NYT app is a GREAT alternative to the newspaper - we get the NYT print version for free here, and I always kick myself for not taking advantage of that, but it's always so difficult to remember to pick it up, so I really need to find a good regular online source. I like feeling smart and aware.

        I put the Locke connection up on my LJ! It got a bit muddled, but that's okay because the point wasn't as much the actual connection as how awesome the discussion was.

        AND YES, the architecture opening was fantabulous. I love love loved it, starting out all wistful and descriptive and then BOOM, fail-legislation.
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