Political Corruption in Arizona

Arizona was a hot topic in the news this summer. Politicians, activist groups, and individual citizens around the nation voiced their beliefs about State Ballot (S.B.) 1070, Arizona’s anti-immigration law that requires police officer to decipher immigration status based on a person’s appearance. Following S.B. 1070, Arizona announced an “anti-ethnic studies” law, created to restrict public schools from offering classes focused on the study of a particular ethnic group. The law is something of a euphemism for resentment toward the Mexican-American Studies classes offered by Tucson’s public schools. For a few short months, Arizona started to receive the national attention it has desperately needed for decades. Now, however, the state has slunk away from the spot light and very little has been done to combat the state’s developing tyranny.

My family moved to Arizona when I was two years old. I lived in the greater Phoenix area until age 18. I attended public schools all of my life and I was raised by parents who emphasized the necessity for political awareness. It is sufficiently clear to me that Arizona is broken. Jan Brewer is the state’s current governor. Brewer (who does not have a college degree) has heavily contributed to the destruction of Arizona’s political system. Extremely conservative state senators and congresspersons have coveted Brewer, reveling in the glory of acquiring a Republican governor with no apparent backbone. Brewer signed S.B.1113 in 2009, allowing individuals to bring guns into bars because, clearly, Arizona has not reached its gun violence quota.

Then, Brewer signed House Bill (H.B.) 2013, which denies all state employees the right to same-sex partner benefits. This means that same-sex partners may not receive their partner’s health insurance, while opposite-sex partners can. In the following year, Brewer helped Arizona become the first state to drop children’s health insurance and signed both S.B. 1070 and H.B. 2281, the law banning the advocacy of ethnic solidarity (among other things) in Arizona public schools.

Activists around the country have responded to the corruption buried in many of Arizona’s new laws, but response to Arizona’s manipulation of government power should not be limited to activists and politicians. Immigrant families are destroyed daily, American citizens are discriminated against because of the color of their skin constantly, and Arizona’s children are being drained dry of all funding for education and health care. As a registered voter in Arizona, I am angry. I am appalled by the actions of my elected officials, but even more disturbed by the apathy of my peers. I am lucky to now live in a city that cherishes human dignity, but I am also aware that many of my family members live in Arizona and must reason with their government’s exploitation of minorities. With elections approaching, many USF students may be voting for the first time. During this process, I urge all of you to analyze the political ideals of your home state and the ethical concerns of your own conscience.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron

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