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November 08, 2010


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One little factoid from last week's midterms: Christine O'Donnell, the vacuous religious nut, lost her Delaware Senate race by 17 points but won the white vote by 6 points.

When we think about who migrated here and why, you start with race and conclude with sunshine. The appeal of an entirely new and mostly white "community", with championship golf, Applebees', and ample parking goes without saying. It's the American Dream, completely cleansed of historic stains and earlier migrations. Morning in America comes with a Great Room, La-Z-Boys, and neighbors you don't know but look just like you.

I don't know the relevant statistics but it does seem that Arizona got a huge influx of Californians over the past 20 years. I was hopeful that they might leaven our reactionary political culture and for a while that seemed to be happening. But the stresses of the past several years reveal something sadly familiar.

Arizona may be rootless and raw but we encapsulate in our DNA the tragedy of a much-longer history, some of it the fossil record of other continents. The nation as a whole seems determined to choose sides in a yet-to-be-announced civil war. Arizona went from a purple battleground state in 2000 to a fire-engine red state in 2010. History scratched our skin and we bled the fear.

My epiphany came 5 years ago at a McCain town hall @ Sun Lakes retirement community with a snarly, rude crowd of (largely) transplanted Midwesterners. Many wore their prejudice on their paunchy golf shirts. They wanted ALL the illegals rounded up and put on school buses and sent HOME. McCain tried to explain comprehensive immigration reform but all the crowd seemed to hear was a-m-n-e-s-t-y. The senator's security people were marching the worst of the hydrophobics out the door. I was taken aback. Never had witnessed anything like it.

While it is unfair to tag all the Heartlanders with this label, it IS a factor . . particularly with the so-called Golden Agers. Others live in their own comfy enclaves (like Fountain Hills) and manage to soft pedal their prejudices. But they're there, bigtime I think. And so is their fear of Mexico, fueled in part by the media's myopic "war next door" chant. Wish I saw a solution, other than waiting for this golden generation to pass away.

Here are the four most republican leaning congressional districts in the midwest with the Cook PVI:

NE 3 R+24 congressman: Adrian Smith
KS 1 R+23 Congressman: Tim Huelskamp
MO 7 R+17 Congressman: Bill Long
IN 5 R+17 Congressman: Dan Burton
MO 8 R+15 Congresswoman: Jo Ann Emerson
OH 4 R+15 Congressman: Jim Jordan
KS 4 R+14 Congressman: Mike Pompeo
MO 4 R+14 Congresswoman: Vicky Hartzler (unseated 17 term rep Ike Skelton)
IN 3 R+14 Congressman: Marlin Stutzman
OH 8 R+14 Congressman: Tan Man Boehner

How much do you want to bet the newcomers to the Phoenix area are from these districts.

Forgot to 'fess up to being from Cedar Rapids, Iowa . . then Minn-e-apolis, Minn-e-sota. Was transferred to Phoenix in 1969, so maybe I had an opportunity to assimilate and appreciate. Our neighbors the Brophys explained about Mexico and how much their culture had permeated ours. Introduced us to Rocky Point and we've been forever enriched by that connection.

You nailed it, Mr. Talton. I remember growing up in post-war southwest Phoenix, in the ethnically mixed blue collar area around the Alcoa, then Reynolds aluminum plant. On our block nearly every man was a war vet, and they seemed pleasantly surprised to be alive and beginning the American dream. New tract homes could be purchased for the equivalent of one year's income! I remember a specific incident when some Birchers (pasty,soft-handed,unhealthy looking guys in plaid shirts with pocket-protectors) piled out of their Rambler wagon and began ranting about how Eisenhower and Earl Warren were commies, all the men(this was back when people came outside in the evening) from Southern "rednecks" to Mexican Americans laughed at and derided them until they piled back into their car and left. I remember mid-westerners in our neighborhood being different than those I encountered later in the mostly white, middle and upper class areas of town. I think maybe because they understood from where their blessings derived.

I don't know where they're from, but theyyyy're heeeere:

* * *
A decision by the Fountain Hills Town Council to hire a single trash hauler and begin a curbside recycling program has been met with angry protests from residents who accuse town leaders of overstepping their bounds and taking a leap toward socialism.

Some even likened it to "Obamacare" for garbage, calling it "trashcare."

. . .

Councilwoman Ginny Dickey, who also supported the measure, said she felt that her motivations were especially questioned because she is the only Democratic council member and worked for seven years at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

"It seems counterintuitive, but in order for this proposal to pass, I believe I had to downplay the benefits of recycling," she said. "When ideology prevents rational discussion of a really pretty mundane topic, trash, there is no perspective. Everything is suspect, which paralyzes us."



They came first for the plastic, but I didn't speak because I wasn't plastic.

Then they came for the paper and cardboard, but I didn't speak because I wasn't paper or cardboard.

Then they came for the glass, but I didn't speak because I wasn't glass.

Then they came for me, common garbage, but there was no one left to speak.

Fountain Hills Patriot - 2010


I enjoyed Soleri's contrasting Churchill quotes on democracy in a recent thread, and thought the following carries the ball nicely into the current one:

"In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken in September, 71% of those surveyed said Bush deserved a great deal or moderate amount of the blame for the country's economic woes, and 48% said Obama should shoulder a similar amount of the blame."


Mind you, that's "September" 2010 that the poll was taken.

Now, this is astounding, because Obama was sworn into office January 20th, 2009; whereas the Great Recession officially started in December, 2007; the financial crisis escalated and went global in 2008, which was also when the bank bailout (TARP) was passed and when most of the major government measures to control the financial crisis were initiated; and many of the factors (e.g., deregulation) leading up to the sub-prime crisis behind it all took place, not only before Obama was sworn in, but in some cases before his predecessor Bush came into office.

Obama's chief contribution was the stimulus bill, but most of that went to tax credits, aid to states (currently states' largest single revenue input and therefore the only thing keeping many of them, including places like Arizona, treading water), and such things as unemployment insurance extensions; most if not all of which would have been passed by a Republican Congress under a Republican president during a crisis of such proportions.

So, it's just astounding to me that 48 percent of the population could get the timeline of basic, even nation-shattering events, so fundamentally wrong. Then again, 46 percent of the population voted for McCain. I wonder if this 48 percent is nearly all Republican?

This brings us to the realm of quotes again. Paraphrasing Jefferson, a well-informed populace is vital to a well-functioning democracy. If half the population is continually confused, conditioned, and just plain "brainwashed" by the constant drumbeat of FOX News and (especially) right-wing talk radio, how can we have a well-functioning democracy?

Jefferson linked this ideal well-informed populace to a free press: but how free can the press be when its ownership is increasingly concentrated and homogenized by center-right and neo-conservative owners?

The range of news media in the United States, by contrast with, say, the variety that obtains in Germany and elsewhere in much of Europe, runs the gamut from A to D, and is distinctly weighted toward the side of fiscal neo-conservatism; and it seems to be getting worse with time.

One thing about FOX news, when you lose the mind of a friend or family member to the "Fair and Balanced" network, it is gone forever. They block out all other sources of information and follow the mantra blindly forever more. It seems that people in AZ are susceptible to FOX's siren call. It would be interesting to find out why?

I have been trying for years to figure out where these Chicagoans were coming from! Thanks for the education.

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