Arizona Politics: You Have Now Entered the Twilight Zone
Saturday 04 September 2010
by: Amy McMullen, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
After watching Wednesday's Arizona gubernatorial debate, I noticed a comment on my Facebook page opining that if Gov. Jan Brewer wins the election after her abysmal and somewhat bizarre debating performance, we in Arizona have officially entered the Twilight Zone.
Of course, many of us remember this old TV show, where reality is bent and outcomes are usually very scary. To me, this was a fitting analogy because, aside from Brewer's deer-in-the-headlights, several-second silence in her opening statement, I've never seen so much stumbling, poor use of grammar and downright juvenile debating tactics as were employed by our governor last night. Now I'm only assuming that Brewer's community college radiological technician training, which makes up the sum of her formal education, did not likely include debate as part of its curriculum ... but after last night's dismal performance, it's now very clear why she's stonewalled Terry Goddard's repeated requests for additional debates outside of this one required event. Since her performance is pretty much a mirror of her acumen as governor, it is also pretty obvious that, failing a major drop in her present 20-point lead in the polls over Goddard, her election will prove once and for all that Arizona's voters are more concerned about grossly overblown immigration threats than the welfare of our failing state.
A recent report by the Pew Hispanic Trust shows that illegal immigration numbers are down by over two-thirds, and recent reports by the FBI have indicated that crime is significantly down in Arizona. Another government report shows that undocumented immigrants actually improve the economy and boost wages and jobs. The drumming up of fear tactics on the part of Brewer, including her now infamous "beheadings in the desert" claim (which she refused to address last night both during and after the debate) has now been revealed to be the only ace she is holding to guarantee her election bid. Her mendacity about balancing the state budget, an inability to articulate how she plans to bring jobs to the state and her sidestepping the fact that her top advisers have well-publicized ties to prison corporations - prisons that are now shown to be unsafe to the general public - all added up to show a woman who is sadly out of her depth and is clutching the life preserver of the "immigration problem" as her only hope. Since this one issue is what catapulted her ahead of her primary opponents when she was seriously flagging back in April (due to all the aforementioned inabilities to govern adequately and a very un-Republican tax increase), it's hardly surprising that this now shopworn tactic is one she's planning with which to stick.
Also See: Jan Brewer Stumbles (Video)
So, why are so many voters willing to overlook our climbing unemployment, unsafe prisons, repeated untruths about everything from headless bodies to a father's WWII service and a failing economy? How can so many ignore a failing economic situation that was in part brought on by Brewer herself as a result of her signing into law SB 1070, and which has continued to decline under her watch? Why is there such a backlash against people who enter this state without documents or overstay visas in an attempt to find a better life with more opportunities? I've written before about the racial undertones that lead people to support the now enjoined law SB 1070, but I also think this goes beyond racism for some people. This is an unwillingness to face facts and a need to stick with the scapegoating, which has, once again, overtaken our country in yet another chapter of our long, dismal history of immigrant bashing, especially during bad economic times.
Or, perhaps, we have simply stepped through the looking glass, where wrong is right and up is down. Whether or not this is the case, if we're not careful, we will find that we have indeed crossed over into the Twilight Zone and the next four years will be very scary indeed.
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