Pardon my outrage, but this has been a shitty week for the human race.
It began, disgustingly enough, with KFC rolling out its iPadian magnum opus of heart-cloggers: the Double Down. Consisting primarily of two husks of fried chicken in lieu of bread, reviewers have yet to nail down exactly what all is in it (special sauce?), much less its caloric content (540 to 1200-plus).
The state of Arizona, perhaps wishing to make sure its residents didn't go unharmed, followed through with, not one, but three stunning displays of ineptitude.
Tucson's now-annual Tax Day celebration brought 2,000 Tea Party enthusiasts to Reid Park on Thursday. Some toted signs with chestnuts like ""You can't fix stupid, but you can vote it out"" and a picture of former president George W. Bush alongside the words ""Miss me yet?""
Interesting choice of statements for the tax opponents, given that (1) rates across the board have fallen considerably and consistently — at a pace exceeding rises in median household income — for going on a half-century, and (2) Bush's 2001 tax cuts, on top of massive governmental spending, he commanded for two logically bankrupt wars thereafter, helped foment our economic crisis.
Whatever, because at least we'll be able to freely and anonymously carry guns into elementary schools. Gov. Jan Brewer signed off on concealed-carry legislation on Friday that lumps Arizona with Alaska and Vermont as the only states to permit a lack of permit.
And she may just be getting started.
An anti-illegal immigrant measure passed the state legislature last week and is poised to earn Brewer's signature. If so, local police officers will start joining federal officials for rounds of ""Pin the Tail on the Drug Mule."" Crucially, local police would be able to stop people merely on ""reasonable suspicion"" — an insipidly subjective standard ill-defined in courts nationwide — that they are illegal immigrants. If the stopped individual can't produce proof of U.S. citizenship, the officer can arrest him.
Are you African, Hispanic, Latino(a), Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Chilean, Korean, Vietnamese, Canadian or Australian? Are you between the ages of 1 and 115? Keep those driver's licenses and passports attached to you at all times and smile pretty for the officer. Otherwise, prepare for intake at the Pima County Public Jail. Or — if you happen to illegally take a day-trip from Tucson to Phoenix, maybe to go see a baseball game — a no-holds-barred brouhaha with Sheriff Joe.
What's going on here? Seriously — what is wrong with these people? Where are we going as a society and a species when we continue to let greed, ignorance and spite drive important decision-making?
Such ignominies are nothing new, sure. In a broader historical context, they may not be that severe. One can point to conditions generally in the American South during the 1960s or to the entire Middle Ages — indeed — to 90 percent of societies outside this continent as we sit and breathe — and say, ""Hey, now. We've got it good.""
Do we, though? And how are we measuring our positions in life?
Is it about money? But what is money, really, beyond a restriction on how we think, behave and believe, and just pieces of paper besides?
Is it about security? But what has ""security"" become now, thanks to the institutionalized corporatization of the media? Security is now little more than the indulged belief that no one should be able to interfere, for any reason, with us doing whatever we want. And that we're justified in hating interveners, especially if they look, speak or dress differently.
It all makes you wonder what will become of 12-year-old Tucson resident Katie Wallace, whom the Arizona Daily Star interviewed at the Tax Day event. She claimed to be worried about her future because all the government spending these days may prevent her parents — clearly doomed to an avalanche of higher taxes over the next five years — from affording her college education. ""Conservatives are ready to fight,"" she said. ""Rush Limbaugh was right.""
Fancy that — the youth of our nation not decrying but aligning with the dinosauric forces of social stagnation. What will be the world she inherits as her own?
— Tom Knauer is a first-year law student.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.