What, not Arizona?

Why do I live in a state that’s last in per capita spending on education, second only to Mississippi in poverty, against ethnic studies and supposedly  pro-refugee (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/09/us/09refugees.html ) but passed the loathsome SB 1070?

There are plenty of loony Tea Partiers here but they’re everywhere, even in fairly sane Maine. How does the Repugnican-dominated  Arizona state legislature get away with its often heartless cuts?

This morning I was hanging out with a few women friends discussing anti-aging facial products, when three of the five said they were considering leaving Arizona. The crazy right-wing politics had gotten to them.

Paul Le Page, Maine’s Republican candidate for governor has recently taken flak from sensible Mainers for announcing that when he becomes governor, he would tell President Obama to “go to hell.”

Mainers, or as I prefer, Maine-iacs, generally don’t like over-the-top proclamations. Many respect the presidency, no matter who’s in office.

I don’t know first-hand what political shenanigans are going on in other states (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/09/opinion/09collins.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=homepage
).

But malaise is rampant. I date it back to Ronald Reagan and his “Fuck the Middle Class” politics. And, says economist Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, “income in America is now more concentrated in fewer hands than it’s been in 80 years. Almost a quarter of total income generated in the United States is going to the top 1 percent of Americans.

The top one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans now earn as much as the bottom 120 million of us.” http://www.salon.com/news/great_recession/index.html?story=/news/feature/2010/10/18/the_perfect_storm

TGen years ago, my high school students yawned, complained about how bored they were reading French aristocrat Alexis De Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” which was written in the 1830s. Tocqueville was amazed by the sense of fairness, optimism and real hope for equality that he perceived in fledgling America.

A few students have since thanked me for imposing  Tocqueville’s old-fashioned drudgery; perhaps it gave them a sense of that now quaint “American Dream.”

I know a bright, wonderful young woman in the military who wants to be deployed to Iraq. She’s passionate about attending nursing school, but didn’t graduate at the top of her high-school class 15 years ago — the only avenue open to her would be the G.I. Bill.

Who’s running for office who cares about her “American Dream?”

Reagan’s “trickle down economy” was a facade for his pals to amass unimaginable wealth. Corporate giants were supposed to share their profits with their workers — really? Maybe Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s, those damn socialists, but who else?

One of my journalistic heroes, Bill Moyers, recently delivered a dynamite speech on the occasion of Common Cause’s 40th anniversary (http://www.ourfuture.org/institute/blog-entry/2010104008/honoring-common-causes-john-gardner-now-its-citizens-turn?t=1286654124).

What happened to the hope, the dream of America? Moyers says it best, quoting former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: “You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few or democracy, but you can’t have them both.”

There you have it my friends, which brings me up back to wacky Arizona. Remember when Americans of all political persuasions thought Sen. John McCain was a maverick (hell, he doesn’t remember but the dude is old and lost)?  Remember when he was the champion of campaign finance reform? If he hadn’t sold his soul before, he surely did by choosing Sarah Palin as his 2008 running mate, unleashing the lowest form of American politics yet.

Whip up anger.  Dumb people down. Remember when someone at a health-care reform town meeting yelled out, “The government better not mess with my Medicaid!” It’s not about taking back America — it’s about throwing it away.

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5 Responses to What, not Arizona?

  1. Yetta Goodman says:

    Keep it up Sheila….. We need to hear a variety of voices and we need to be reminded about democracy for all.

  2. Gwen says:

    Good comments Sheila. We need more voices like yours out there.

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