Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chicanonautica: Arizona vs. America

“Once we’ve sealed off all the borders and check IDs of everybody in Arizona, everything will be alright.”

That’s not a recent statement by an Arizona elected official. It’s a quote from my story Doctora Xilbalba’s Datura Enema. Unfortunately, lately it’s hard to tell the reality of my home state from twisted, sci-fi satire.

Gabrielle Giffords is recovering. Jared Loughner is in jail. The governor and a pack of hack politicians are on the warpath. They got elected because a lot people who immigrated to Arizona from the Midwest and Backeast have anxiety attacks when they see brown skin and hear or see Spanish. Instead of providing medical treatment for this mental health problem, they’re suing the Federal Government over SB1070, so they can import tax dollars from other states to spend on their border insecurity. And they're proposing a wad of bills that do everything from taking away the United States of America’s power to claim all those that are born within her borders as citizens, to making it hard to get a driver’s license or to register for school, putting all citizens on the lookout for illegals . . . I haven’t been able to keep up with them all.

And don’t dare call them racists. The consider the r-word to be the new n-word. It upsets them so. They really need to do something about their anxiety problems.

This is when the number of illegal aliens, and the crime rate in Arizona have been declining for years. The drug war is not spilling over the border. There have been incidents that have inspired local interests to scream for federal money, other people’s taxes -- but no invasion. Who are the “aliens” that are scaring these faint-hearted Arizonans? And is it even possible to have closed borders with a police state, or at least Big Government, to enforce it?

There’s even been talk of secession.

It’s come a long way from when I heard a teenage girl say:

“I’m not prejudiced, but speaking Spanish should be illegal, except for maybe in Mexican restaurants.”

Or the little old lady who screamed:

“We don’t want downtown smelling like tacos!”

And I’m not sure where it’s going in these times of global political turmoil. How’s a Chicano science fiction writer supposed to come up with wilder stuff than the local Arizona news? A datura enema is out -- I might have to take a drug test for my new job.

My big hope is that it’s all going to get so bizarre that people won’t be able to accept it -- they’ll get the news, but their brains will reject it as a defense mechanism. Then, all I’ll have to do is go around taking notes at the grotesque Hieronymus Bosch/Diego Rivera composition that Arizona is becoming. When I assemble it into stories, people will says, “Guao! Que imagination you got, ese! Where do you get those loco ideas?”

Yes, Chicano really is a science fiction state of being.

Ernest Hogan used to work for Borders, and was recently fingerprinted, swore that he is a citizen of the United States of America, is not a communist, and is not trying to overthrow the government by violence.

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