Monday, January 10, 2011


So, we'd been thinking, a few months back, about how the SouthWest (which we mainly know from Tony Hillerman novels) is one part of the country neither of us has ever visited. And there's a lot of interesting, indeed spectacular, things to see in that area that wd make it well worth a visit.

Then came the Juan Crow laws, a sudden outpouring of anti-immigrant rhetoric, and a string of racist incidents that made us decide that if we did go to the Southwest sometime in the next few years, it wouldn't be to Arizona -- more likely New Mexico, which shares a lot of the same problems but hasn't become unhinged in facing them.

States do go through crazy seasons: McCain & Brewer's Arizona, George Wallace's Alabama, Faubus's Arkansas, John Brown's Kansas, John C. Calhoun's South Carolina. That's not to overlook the decent, sane, honorable people who live there during such times; it's just to recognize that they're not in control of events. And this current spate is not altogether unprecedented in the state's history -- people tend to forget that Barry Goldwater ran on a states' rights platform opposing the pending landmark civil rights bills; his strongest support in the 1964 election came from white supremacists in the Deep South, which provided him with 90% of his electoral votes. Now there's been another upsurge and, like the local sheriff said, Arizona has become "a Mecca for prejudice and bigotry".

So, while the horrific news this weekend of attempted Congressional assassination, which included the murder of a federal judge and nine-year-old-girl, is shocking, it's not surprising. Hate speech has its consequences.* Or, to put it another way,

"Guns don't kill people: People with guns kill people."


current audiobook: Acts of the Apostles
current book: TROY & HOMER [still!]
current project: "Macpherson & Tolkien: A Tale of Two Legendariums" [Kalamazoo paper]

*The Wife Says:
Anyone who doubts that words have consequences should consider the effect of calling the estate tax a "death tax".

Or, in the wise words of John Stewart, our national court jester:
"Take it down a notch for America"