It’s been a long week, to say the least. Work has been insane with lots of long days (and some nights) and a fair amount of weekend work. I don’t mind. I get paid to work.
The sleeping thing has been consistent as ever, which is to say, not good. I won’t say I don’t mind this, but I will say that it doesn’t exactly shatter my universe since exhausted is pretty much my baseline.
Then there was Thursday night. Thursday night I did something I shouldn’t have done. I took a 60 second break from the work project that I was neck deep in to check my Facebook page. What I found there was disheartening. An acquaintance of mine, recently married, announced that the editor/publisher of the Arizona based bridal magazine, Wedding Chronicle, had changed their minds about including my friend’s wedding in the current issue. If you’d seen the pictures from this wedding, you’d be flabbergasted as to why this last minute decision was made. That is, unless you, like some of the magazine’s investors/vendors, have a problem with two women getting married to each other. This I do mind. Yes. It’s 2012 and we’re still having this conversation.
Now back to the reason it was a mistake for me to take a minute away from work to look at Facebook. Anyone who’s ever spent more than 20 minutes with me knows that there are a handful of things that take my dander from its usual just below the surface disgruntledness to a full on high pitched, hand waving rage. These things include, but are not limited to racism, anything that interferes with a woman’s ability to choose what should happen to her own body, any sort of anti-minority sentiment (any minority will do, but for the purpose of this story, let’s go with gay), and when Jen forgets to bring forks to work and I’m forced to beg others for cutlery if I want to eat lunch. So, on Thursday night when I read this thing about my friend’s wedding, I went off half-cocked. In what was meant to be a show of support, I responded that nothing small-minded that comes out of Arizona surprises me and that I wouldn’t be spending any money there until the state gets its act together. Now, while all that’s true, it wasn’t very articulate. The thing is, anyone who’s had a beer with me in the last year would have known what I was getting at here, but none of the people who would be reading my Facebook friend’s wall have any idea who in the hell I am, or have had to listen to my recent rants on the insanity that’s been coming out of Arizona as of late. One person who read my comment said that by inflicting my attitude of intolerance onto the entire state, I was no better than the bridal magazine that discriminated against the happy couple in question. I concede that my incomplete, poorly thought out statement was hypocritical. I do not, however, concede the point.
If you’ll recall, a few sentences ago, I mentioned a handful of things that I find unacceptable. Let’s take them one-by-one and see how they apply to the state of Arizona.
1. Racism: Maybe I have no right talking about whether or not this is an issue in Arizona because I live in Ohio, hundreds of miles away from the closest Mexican border. Still, granting local law enforcement officials the right to demand papers from anyone they suspect is in the country illegally, and then saying that this isn’t akin to racial profiling sounds funny to me. And not funny ha-ha. Furthermore, it seems like the kind of thing that could do more harm than good. It seems to me you’re going to have a hard time getting members of the Hispanic community to report crimes if they’re afraid that they’re going to be detained. I could be wrong on this. I’m sure if I am, someone will tell me. Or I can just wait for the Supreme Court decision.
2. A woman’s right to choose: Surprise. You might be pregnant. “But I’m on my period!” I hear you screaming. Doesn’t matter, at least not in Arizona. In Arizona, thanks to a new law recently signed by Governor Jan Brewer, starts the clock on how late into your pregnancy you can terminate at the first day of your last period. This means that, though you can terminate a pregnancy up to 20 weeks, you’re really only given about 18 considering the point in a woman’s menstrual cycle during which she’s most likely to conceive. Forget the fact that the sort of prenatal testing that can detect birth defects doesn’t happen until around that time. This part of the legislation is all anyone was talking about, but since 18 week and beyond abortions only account for about 1 percent of the procedures that take place in Arizona, let’s move onto the really sticky wicket. Now medical providers of early term abortions are required to have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles where the procedure takes place. A lot of these abortions induced through pills which are taken at home, a home which might not be within the requisite distance of a hospital. Sorry ladies. Yes. It’s 2012 and we’re still having this conversation.
2b) There’s a piece of proposed legislation floating around the Arizona legislature which would give employers the right to refuse to pay for an employees birth control if the pill is being taken in an effort to avoid pregnancy. Let me put that in all CAPS for you. A WOMAN’S EMPLOYER WOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK HER WHY SHE’S TAKING THE BIRTH CONTROL PILL, THEN DENY HER COVERAGE IF SHE’S TAKING THE PILL AS BIRTH CONTROL. Yes. It’s 2012 and we’re still having this conversation. Thank you Rick Santorum.
3. Anti-minority sentiment (gay): Arizona has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. So does Ohio. The majority of states in this country have these amendments. The good news, though? More and more states don’t have these amendments. In fact, some states have the opposite of these amendments. There are places in this country where Jen and I could go and get married next week. This brings me to my point.
I said that I wouldn’t be spending any money in Arizona until they get their act together. I was informed that it’s narrow-minded for me to cast judgment over an entire state’s worth of people when, obviously, there are amazing, open-minded, tolerant people living and working in Arizona every day. Here’s the thing, though–the three points that I just outlined are statewide, governmental issues. Issues that would never have come to pass if not for the presence of statewide elected officials, put in office by a majority of voters to represent them, both in their state, and whether they realize it or not, whether it’s fair or not, project an image of the state to the rest of the country. Probably the situation would be completely different if President Obama hadn’t pulled, then, Governor Napolitano out of the state to head up the Department of Homeland Security, but he did, and Napolitano’s successor thanks him for the job by arrogantly sticking her finger in his face. And, frankly, that’s the first thing I think of now when I think of Arizona. That’s the way she represents the state the rest of us who haven’t seen it for ourselves.
The only money I could really spend in Arizona would be tourism money. Every bed tax I would pay at a hotel, every cent of sales tax I might pay for souvenirs, any gasoline tax I pay on fuel to keep my rental car running–it’s all going to a state run by a publicly elected governor and legislature that, at least from a couple thousand miles away, seem anti-Hispanic, anti-woman, and anti-gay. So we choose to spend our hard-earned vacation fund elsewhere. It’s a passive approach, but from seven states away, it’s no more passive than not buying my wedding supplies for the wedding that I’m not having 1800 miles away from the Arizona vendors listed on the Wedding Chronicle‘s website. I wrote the Facebook requested letter to the publisher and editor of the magazine. Of course I did. I used every condescending, shaming, polysyllabic word I could think of. I also used logic. It was a beautiful wedding, and the vendors who participated in it only stand to make money by having it publicly highlighted. The people at Wedding Chronicle are, obviously, not only on the wrong side of morality, but also on the wrong side of good business sense, and I told them so. I would encourage anyone else who feels strongly about this to do the same here. Having said that, it’s not wrong of me to not want to spend my money in Arizona. My point didn’t lack “interest,” or “insight.” It lacked clarity. I hope I’ve rectified that here.
I cannot wait to see the Grand Canyon someday, to form my own firsthand opinion of a state that is, I’m sure, mostly lovely. But as far as this summer goes–look out Pacific Northwest, we’re headed your way.