Arizona: A Nice Place To Visit, But You Probably Don’t Want To Live Here.

Aside from our scorpion-eating and finger-wagging governor, our racist anti-immigrant bills and our fear-mongering politicians, there are plenty of other reasons to avoid setting up residency in the Grand Canyon state. For example, as Arizona celebrates its centennial year as the 48th state, look at the people it has chosen to celebrate as part of its heritage.

The entire state pays tribute to the cowboy despite the fact that the term was once reserved for ruffians, rustlers and thieves. Arizona annually pays homage to Wyatt Earp despite the fact that the man was little more than a serial killer who was allowed to write his own history. And many of the Arizona’s most celebrated businessmen were mine owners who lived in luxury while their employees worked in dangerous conditions and were paid so little they could not break their dependance on the company store.

Okay, so the state has an inglorious history, you say. Things surely must be different today.  Not really.

Arizona is home to the Hell’s Angels’ Sonny Barger, founder of one of the world’s most dangerous gangs and largest criminal enterprises. Arizona is home to Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America, who forces prisoners to eat the same meal twice a day, 365 days a year; the same man who misspent nearly $10 million of county funds, who failed to investigate hundreds of sexual attacks and who is, himself, under investigation by the US Department of Justice for civil rights violations.

Arizona’s legislature is actually proud of the fact that it invests less money per student than all but one other state. Arizona’s government is proud that it “saved” the state budget by further cutting funds for education and refusing Medicaid to as many as 250,000 poor children. Arizona is the state that proclaimed the Colt revolver as the state gun and rolled back gun control to pre-Tombstone era laws. The state that sold its own capitol building in order to continue cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations. The state where starting salaries for public school teachers are so low they automatically qualify for food stamps and Medicaid.

So please come enjoy the natural beauty of our geography. Enjoy our hotels, resorts and restaurants. Enjoy our warm climate. Purchase lots of trinkets and souvenirs inflated by, in some cases, sales taxes in excess of ten percent. But don’t be tempted by home prices that have fallen over a cliff.

Unless you’re an angry, white, right-wing idealogue, you really won’t enjoy living here.