I recently moved back to Arizona after living in Southern California for 17 years. I had forgotten just what it meant to be a blue person in a red state. Suddenly having long hair in a ponytail was exotic and subject to throwback reactions of “that damn Hippie.” I am a native of Arizona. I got all my elementary and secondary education here. The state has doubled its Electoral College votes from 5 to 10 since then. Either the time away dimmed my memory or I had hoped Arizona had grown up. Either way, Arizona has more than its 23% share of blind Bush followers. That is the percentage of the U.S. population that long term surveys show could easily support a new authoritarian state (read new fascist state here). Arizona is one those states with an above average number (more unquestioning people) to offset those with a below average number (more thinking and discerning people).
This means I can still see many “W in 04” bumper stickers. The most insulting one I have seen says, “Re-elect George W Bush, One Good Term Deserves Another.” Like Bush was elected in the first place! Right after returning to Phoenix we went shopping for school supplies and I overheard the following remark from a mother to her son, “There is no way you’re getting a pink pencil box. No son of mine is queer. What would people think?” I have since prayed that that boy is not gay because his mother will keep him in the closet for years or cause another teen suicide if he were.
I was spoiled in Southern California. Not only did we have NPR and Air America, we had Pacifica Radio, specifically KPFK. We lost Air America here locally for the month of March and I nearly went nuts trying to find a thinking person’s radio station. Their return has brought the peace of mind no amount of medications could bring.
My father-in-law is a member of the local Republican Committee. I tell him to have fun at his Bund meeting when he goes to one of their meetings. Nothing fazes him since your credit rating is his first method of judgment. So, I continue living blue in a red state.