Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is in a tough spot. Arguably one that she put herself in.
On Tuesday, Governor Brewer spoke at the Tucson Convention Center where instead of the normal politics and policy, she asked her constituents to offer a moment of silence for the tragic shooting that occurred last Saturday and entreated them to awaken from the bad dream that the state perpetually seems to find itself repeating.
“I want to speak to you about the Arizona I know, the place we saw again even on such an awful Saturday,” Governor Brewer said. “It is a place of service, a place of heroes, a place with a bruised, battered heart that I know will get past this hideous moment.” (Credit: New York Times)
And when it came time to point a finger of blame? Americans have convicted the entire state with special hatred regard for the state’s legislature.
Here’s a brief round-up of the controversies within the state that have made national headlines the past two years according to Yahoo! News:
• In April, Arizona’s SB1070 bill became law, setting off a fiery debate around the country about illegal immigration and making Arizona the place to watch for immigration news. Several protesters were arrested at the signing of the bill. A federal judge blocked key parts of the law from going into effect in July, and Brewer promptly appealed. Undeterred by court hurdles, at least seven states are likely to pass copycat legislation this session.
• State Senator Russell Pearce, who helped write SB1070, is now introducing legislation that he hopes will force the Supreme Court to redefine birthright citizenship as no longer extending to children of illegal immigrants. As many as 13 other states could join in on the birthright campaign, though Gov. Brewer has not said whether she would sign the bill into law. The state would issue separate birth certificates for children of illegal immigrants if Congress approved the agreement–known as a compact–to recognize state-based citizenship plans.
• Brewer signed a law last year allowing Arizonans to carry concealed weapons without permits, making it only the third state to do so. She also signed legislation allowing guns in restaurants and bars.
• Arizona’s House passed a bill in April requiring presidential candidates who want to appear on the state’s ballot to produce a valid birth certificate.
• The Arizona legislature banned ethnic studies programs in public schools, including a Mexican-American studies program used in Tucson.
• Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio reportedly had a $1 million bounty on his head set by drug cartels. Arizona has become the place to watch for signs of Mexico’s drug violence spilling over the border.
• After the health-care bill passed, Giffords’ office door was smashed.
• Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva called for a conference boycott of his own state in protest of the SB1070 law. He later received death threats and temporarily closed his office.
Oh and don’t forget, they repealed the Martin Luther King holiday in the 1980s.
So how does Arizona recover? Americans are infamous famous for their abundant forgiveness. (Note: Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Exxon Mobil, Toyota, etc.) Can we judge a state by its worst people? Being a Texas native, I’m really hoping your answer, dear readers, is no.