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Arizona’s vote to raise the state minimum wage from 8 dollars to 12 passed back in 2016 by a wide margin, carrying 58 percent of the statewide vote and with it every county except for Graham County. This level of support for our minimum-wage workers was a surprising wake-up call to our legislators in Phoenix, who have historically kept our state wage within a dollar of the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.
TOPIC OF THE WEEK: What is your take on the first amendment & should there be extra regulations on campus?
One of the quirks of living in Tucson is our short spring. From a winter of only a few months and lows in the 50s, the supremacy of the sun brings with it a very immediate transition from the half-cold months of January, February and March into the hot months of June, July and August. That short, almost two-month transition is our Tucson spring, so whenever we have to start turning our ACs back on, that is the sign that Spring Fling is once again upon us.
Arizona is a state at war with itself. Despite for decades being a bulwark of small government conservatism that produced such Republican icons as Barry Goldwater and Sandra Day O’Connor, Arizona is no longer the reliable Grand Canyon holdout Republicans used to have. This image of a state trying to discover itself as we approach the start of a new decade can best be seen in the stark contrast between the messages sent by many of our representatives, state and federal, and the recent report on the reliance of states upon the federal government.
There is nothing I love more than a smooth, freshly renovated road that makes even my humble minivan feel like it is a high-end piece of technology gliding through the city, held back only by air resistance and speed limits. And there is nothing I hate more than construction.
The entire country is in the middle of a divisive and long-winded argument over the balance of group security on one side and individual freedoms on the other, and Arizona is an interesting microcosm of the debate at large. The question is whether or not we should make vaccinations mandatory and limit the amount of personal exemptions a person can have to avoid their children getting inoculated against dangerous illnesses.
Politics is America’s guilty pleasure. We like to declare how angry it makes us, how every politician is crooked and that the game is rigged, and yet we always tune in on our phones, TVs and computers to get the scoop on which governor is next to stumble into a scandal and which candidate is thinking about maybe forming an exploratory committee to pursue the possibility of considering running for president in 2020. We eat it up. As of Feb. 19, 2019, we are 622 days away from our 59th presidential election, and yet we are treating it as if it’s right around the corner.
Our government has just gotten out of the longest shutdown in history, with departments employing up to 800,000 people affected either through furloughs or working without the promise of pay. For 35 days, Americans did not have a government that could maintain its promises to govern, and govern effectively, and it was all over the questions of what is happening at the border and what to do in response.
The United States has had such a history with South America that the word "awkward” would not even begin to cover it. In our almost 250 years of independence, the US has treated Central and South America as something of a playground and our own personal property. From declaring the entire Western Hemisphere part of the American sphere of influence with the Monroe Doctrine, we have been definitively against anyone else playing around in South American politics. And boy, have we. When Theodore Roosevelt announced that the US could act as an “international police power,” we managed to topple whole governments and encourage major social strife and brutality that has caused societal destruction and demographic trends we are still feeling today.
In recent years, Congress has developed a nasty habit of taking previously unthinkable actions and making them into regular tools to be wielded in an attempt to win the attention of the news cycle for a couple of weeks, only to find a newer, unprecedented and equally self-destructive plan that will get them attention. From refusing to raise the debt ceiling to invoking a senate rule previously so unthinkable that it is called the “nuclear option” to shutting down the government, actions that for decades American lawmakers saw as destructive and potential career suicide to even suggest, have become commonplace in modern day political discussions. It does not even shock us anymore that our government may occasionally decide to not pay its bills and instead just close its doors for a couple of weeks.
The 2018 midterm elections were a rollercoaster. Americans everywhere answered calls from their respective parties and registered to vote in droves, with some Get Out the Vote organizations reporting numbers three times the usual midterm registration rates, according to CNN. But as Americans went to the polls at record high numbers, all eyes were on the Grand Canyon State, tasked in choosing between Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema for its first female Senator in state history.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut almost in half by 2030 to avert "global environmental catastrophe." (Doesn't that phrase give you chills?) And no surprise, we're not even close to taking enough action.
The United States has always been known as a land of immigrants. The America that we know and love today has been massively shaped by the history of people all over the world coming to this country to better their status. While we often look to coastal cities when we think of our history with immigrant populations, every corner of the U.S. has been altered and improved by the lessons and cultures of those that leave everything behind to try their hand at the American Dream.
Early voting is one of the greatest conveniences of the modern political system, allowing the working and the lightly energetic to take only a few minutes out of their day to have their voices heard at the local, state and federal levels. This replaces when the only option was the required detour before or after work to stop at a polling station and wait in line just to choose between two candidates you’ve never heard of for a position you never knew existed.
If technology is akin to an extremely addictive drug, then the process of withdrawal is nothing short of harrowing.