Will Durst: It’s not the hate, it’s the stupidity
All right. Woo-hoo. We’re partying now. With the kind of enthusiasm normally reserved for sorting Phillips head screws from flat head screws, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer publicly vetoed SB 1062, legislation that would provide legal cover to businesses denying services based on the operator’s religious beliefs. The return of Jim Crow with a cactus beat.
Yes, the finger jabbing governess banged down the brakes of the bigot bill. And the disappointment rumbling through the evangelical community caused snakes to be mishandled all the way to Eastern Tennessee.
Give the lady credit. She hemmed. She hawed. She deliberated. Took her time like a molasses coated snail slogging up Everest against the wind in the dead of winter. The right thing was done; for the wrong reasons. The same way deciding not to drink that eighth beer was a smart move whether the cause was self- restraint or misplacing the bottle opener under the front seat.
Mostly it was the threat of another state-wide economic boycott including the possibility of losing a second Super Bowl that did the trick. Once again, the NFL trumps religion. Of course, if those darn liberals hadn’t put up such a stink, she would have signed it so fast it would make a roadrunner’s head spin, mid beep- beep.
Ironically, Brewer’s painstakingly lackadaisical response was responsible for ratcheting up the backlash that inflamed the country. She inadvertently gave the press time to trumpet the story. And the resulting uproar bodes as well for the umpteen other states considering similar legislation as a dead gila monster- head in your Frosted Flakes.
This is what happens when the tourist industry, the business community, the state’s two GOP U.S. Senators and even some of the bill’s co-sponsors turn against it. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
You’d think that vetoing a bill that sanctioned discrimination would be a no-brainer, but no-brainers aren’t quite the sure thing in Arizona. This is the state famous for voting against recognizing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday as a holiday and encouraging local police to stop anybody with a tan on both their arms. Not to mention Alice Cooper.
Perhaps Arizona legislators are unaware that religions other than Christianity exist, because depending on the faith of the business owner, this bill would have allowed folks to refuse service not just for sexual orientation but for sporting nail polish, fastening pants with zippers or eating shellfish. The burning hunger for desert shellfish having been dealt with many millennia ago.
Not wearing a hat offends some gods. While the wearing of hats offends others. The gods, they are sartorially conflicted. Suspected of engaging in premarital sex? No ice cream for you! Divorced patrons can purchase their organic rutabagas somewhere else, thank you very much. Wear a turban? Don’t need a couch. Customers would need to take a urine test every time they dropped something off at the dry cleaners.
With every piece of ludicrous legislation, it becomes increasingly apparent that AZ — the postal abbreviation for the Grand Canyon State — stands for “Angry Zenophobes.” And yes, xenophobe is actually spelled with an X, but the insensible and intolerant denizens of Arizona are probably unaware of that. Arizona: the American Uganda. It’s not the hate, it’s the stupidity.
Will Durst can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.