Would you like some tea with your treason?

Posted: January 25, 2011 in AZ, Delusional in AZ, State's Rights, Tea Party

Arizona is rapidly becoming the epicenter of a cultural upheaval. Conservative activists are trying to take advantage of the state’s controversial stance on several political fronts.  The Tea Party Patriots announced that they will be celebrating their second anniversary with a policy summit in Phoenix next month.

From my perspective and that of any sane liberal, Phoenix in particular and Arizona in general,  is the perfect example of laissez-faire capitalism.  It’s the kind of state where a balanced budget is more important than the lives of over 280,000 poor people.  Where corporations, who are making record profits, are given more tax cuts while state and city parks are closed due to a lack of funds.    It’s the kind of place where even the best public schools in middle class neighborhoods rely heavily on donated materials and volunteer time.  It has gated communities where the houses still sell for millions (even after the real estate crash) but in other places there are many miles of partially built streets and empty new homes that can’t be given away.  Where the wealthy are better off than ever before but the unemployment rate remains above the national average.

Arizona is the kind of place that is hostile to immigrants (e.g., SB1070, roundups by Sheriff Joe, proposal to change birthright citizenship, militia men patrolling the border area, etc.) but employers still receive tens of thousands immigrants and provides them with jobs.  After the passage of SB1070, it was estimated that 100,000 illegal immigrants moved to another state in the US or returned to Mexico.  The fact that we didn’t see an uptick in employment means that either white citizens didn’t want to do the jobs of those that left (just like we on the left said would be the case) and/or that employers simply gave their jobs to the next wave of illegal immigrants (which they probably did).

Arizona is the kind of state where its senators and representatives can openly appear at white supremacist rallies without repercussions.  It has one of the highest firearm death rates in the country but people are still allowed to walk around with concealed handguns and as many bullets as they want without a permit or training.  It touts its natural wonders to the world and then blithely pollutes them (e.g., Grand Canyon and the allowance of uranium mining).  Arizona is the kind of state that has no problem with using Native Americans in a multitude of ways (including taking land from them) but when they try to build on land they legitimately own, it fights them every step of the way (see controversy re: Tohono O’odham casino law suit in Glendale).

It’s the kind of state that says it cares about the quality of life but ignores EPA warnings and penalties about dangerous levels of particulates in the air.  Arizona is the kind of place that says it values citizens’ access to outdoor activities like hiking and camping but then allows builders of upscale neighborhoods to block access to public lands.  It’s the kind of place where local politicians scream about corruption in Washington while blatantly engaging in bribery, graft, embezzlement, nepotism, etc.  Actually there are too many examples of corruption to even begin listing them all.  It’s the kind of state where the population would vote for medical marijuana through referendum (and it has before) but a relatively powerful few ensure that it never gets implemented.

Arizona is the perfect example of what happens when a state is run by conservatives over a long period of time.  The infrastructure is crumbling and is too slow to be modernized.  When the do try to modernize, it is so expensive it is prohibitive (see the costs of our pathetic lightrail–$70 mill / mile or higher)  Basic services are unavailable or spread too thin.  Violent crime is high and firearm death rates are higher.  And every attempt to reform, improve or change anything is met with harassment, anger, violence and a doubling down on stupid (e.g., instead of banning 30 round clips after the Tucson shooting, they are wanting to expand gun rights).  It’s the kind of place filled with old people living off of private pensions, Social Security and Medicare who refuse to pay taxes for other people’s kids and other people’s healthcare.

How do the Conservatives see Arizona?  Why, its paradise, of course!  And it’s an opportunity.  The former militia group called The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps was dissolved in early 2010.  Now they are regrouping under a nativist, Tea Party banner as part of a larger states rights movement.  Make no mistake, none of this is new.  It’s the same old bullshit with a new coat of paint.  Underneath the guise of Tea Party and nativist (called the Fire Coalition), they are either old John Birch Society members or at least share their philosophy.  One of their projects is titled, “Re-Join or Die”.  Can’t mistake that, now can you?

Everything new in AZ is old again.  It’s just this time instead of originating in the South, they’ve chosen a Western state as their new home base.  And this time it has been coated with a thin layer of tea.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tina Rhodes-Arden, Tina Rhodes-Arden. Tina Rhodes-Arden said: Would you like some tea with your treason? http://wp.me/pYORZ-5m […]

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