The New York Times wants readers to know that while Arizona is a backwards, redneck, racist state, it’s a “complex” kind of hate. One that deserves the careful analysis and gentle scolding of the Gray Old Lady.
Reporters Randal C. Archibold and Jennifer Steinhauer lead their color story about Arizona’s immigration law with this:
The state resisted adopting Martin Luther King’s birthday as a holiday years after most other states embraced it. The sheriff in its largest county forces inmates to wear pink underwear, apparently to assault their masculinity. Residents may take guns almost anywhere, but they may not cut down a cactus.
The patronizing ends with the reporters calling Arizona “one of the last truly independent outposts;” a comment that sounds like an articulate insult.
The backhanded comments continue with the assertion that ” … Arizona may have become a cartoon of intolerance” according to “much of America.” So will the usual target for “most of America’s” stereotypical pot shots — Southerners — will finally get a break? Not likely. Arizona is “much more complex, and at times contradictory”:
Arizona is home to some of the toughest prison sentencing laws in the country, and one of the cleanest campaign finance laws, too. Voters overwhelmingly re-elected Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, as governor the same year they returned the conservative senator Jon Kyl to Washington. The current Republican governor signed this law, but is also pushing for a tax increase.
The state is filled with “hard-right lawmakers” and “far-left-of-center minority members” (as opposed to the “hard-lefties” and Republicans with a “center”). What a mix! Only in San Francisco would this “complex” political makeup seem strange.
As Mona Stacey, one Arizonian-on-the-street said, “People outside of Arizona are not living in this state and don’t understand the issue.”
Touché, Arizona. Touché.