“There does come a time to pass the torch of leadership, so after completing this term in office I will be doing just that....While I will no longer be governor after this year, I will remain a proud cheerleader and champion for this state that I love so dearly.” -Jan Brewer
"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." ---Revelation 18:2
Thanks to today's retirement of Jan Brewer the days of the "Good Old Boys" ruling Arizona may be dwindling fast. For a strange reason, I will be nostalgic looking back on their reign. They are the real deal, hideous political monsters straight out of Revelation and very dangerous to irritate besides. They have redefined the art of smiling to your face while driving a knife between one's C4 and C5 vertebrae. They have shown that Stockholm Syndrome really can affect entire communities if not states.
Those of us who have had our own relationship with these extremists over years, should not worry about landing in hell, due to a lack of charity. For we have already been living it. Characters like the Tea Bagging ruling junta in the Arizona legislature, or my favorite recovering bread truck drivers on a certain City Council, have the unique ability to make even extreme opposition seem honorable.
People in foxholes do develop a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my friends have hated Mayor Kooky of "Everybody's Hometown" since their days "in vitro". It takes a special kind of cynicism to denigrate 19 recent widows asking about death benefits to get re-elected. Mothers hate these guys, for their kids are beaten up in school by their kids, and little girls cry out in fear worried that "the bullies" working in municipal leadership capacities are coming after them.
And we have not even mentioned the Sheriff of Maricopa County.
It was this cast who got many of us back into politics, and as they are passing from the scene, we feel nostalgic. Like Saddam, they are titanically evil in a petty and venal way. As long as they are politically alive -- we can always be sure of finding the enemy underneath a moral manhole cover.
These may seem shrill words for a cast constantly canonized by a laundry list of AM talk radio hosts and political preachers. -- but to paraphrase Hunter Thompson, "I have written worse things about ....., many times, and the record will show that I kicked him repeatedly long before he went down. I beat him like a mad dog with mange every time I got a chance, and I am proud of it. He was scum."
Let there be no mistake in the history books about this. Jan Brewer was not qualified to be a governor, and she partnered with people who caused many to accept for the first time the fact that Satan really prowls the planet. The utter insanity of their anti-gay bill has been disseminated just like the anti-immigrant jihad and the campaign against the MLK Holiday in the late 1980's.
These are politicians without ethics or morals or a bedrock sense of decency-no matter how many times Christ is invoked as a fig leaf. Honest historians will remember Brewer for many things, and some will give her credit for vetoing the last boycott generator. Given the mass reaction of big business to 1062, her veto was closer to a rodent fighting desperately to get back on a ship sailed by Roosevelt's "malefactors of great wealth."
Future historians will be hard-pressed to explain why in 21st Century America, pockets of intolerance exist that are even more than the sum of politician's follies. Some say that words like rotten are wrong ways to describe elected officials -- which is true, with one caveat. It is the built-in blind spots of the rules and dogma of our politics that allow a Joe Arpaio to ooze into a Sherrif's office for decades.
To the "low information voter," these flag-draped politicians appear so good that they vote for them sight unseen. They seem all-American, mouthing the right homilies, and are able to slip through the cracks of rationality. You have to get to an objective place to see politicians clearly, and the insulin shock of creative intelligence is too much for most voters in sparsely populated areas to accept.
The spirit of intolerance in Arizona will be with us for the rest of our lives -- just as Dallas has never totally recovered from November 1963. This is not a case of blue state snobbishness either. You don't even have to know who Jan Brewer is, to be a victim of the ugly spirit of SB 1070 or SB 1062. The politics of division these bills produced, that she and her allies leveraged so ineptly will fowl the nests of Arizona for almost forever.