Thursday, January 19, 2017

Chicanonautica: Welcome to Arizonaization

by Ernest Hogan

This going up the day before the inauguration. My mother-in-law announced that she is going to wear black. Someone threw a bunch of condoms into the book drop of library where I work. I'm having dreams about cleaning up multi-colored pet turds, and not recognizing my reflection in mirrors. The streets are all torn up. A guy babbling a paranoid stream-of-consciousness got into our backyard, somehow the cacti didn't devour him in the dark, we called the police, but he wandered of before they arrived.

Maybe it all has to do with the gala debut of Trumptopia, or maybe it's just Arizona. Funny, my home state has been the butt of jokes about it being America's laboratory for bad policies. I should know, I've been covering  Arizona for La Bloga since 2010, I've lived here a lot longer. I've even joked about how some factions are trying to make the whole United States of America into one big Arizona, but the joke may be on us, because it looks like it's all coming true.

Look out, America, you've been Arizonaized!

All through Trump's campaign, I kept getting uneasy twinges of déjà vu . . . A businessman running for office . . . a half-baked, self-serving, populist-sounding agenda . . . I heard it all before.

The unsettling reality is that Trump won the presidency, in the kind of campaign that won the governorship of Arizona, not once, but twice. Of course, there were a lot of my fellow Arizonans who thought it was a great idea: “Put a businessman in there! Balance the budget! Hell, start making a profit!” And as bizarre as it sounds, Evan Mecham, and then later Fife Symington became governors of the state of Arizona.

Evan Mecham, millionaire car dealer, was elected in 1986 after four unsuccessful runs. He didn't think Martin Luther King Jr. deserved a holiday, called black children “pickaninnies.” and had many such opinions. After a recall petition, six felony indictments by a grand jury, and impeachment proceedings, he was the first U.S. Governor to be impeached and removed from office in 59 years. Though acquitted of the felony counts, he couldn't win back the governorship when he ran again in 1990, or get in the state Senate in 1992. He died in 2008 of Alzheimer's disease.

J. Fife Symington III, founder of the Symington Company, “a commercial and industrial development firm,” was elected governor in 1991. In 1997 he was convicted of criminal charges that he defrauded lenders as a real estate developer in the eighties. He resigned and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. He then earned a degree in culinary arts and restaurant management. His conviction was overturned in 1999. Later he was pardoned by President Bill Clinton. In 2007 he went public about seeing a UFO in the famous Phoenix Lights incident:

I witnessed a massive delta-shaped, craft silently navigate over Squaw Peak, a mountain range in Phoenix, Arizona.”

So, what clues does it give us as to what will happen in the Arizonaized States of America? Now that Joe Arpaio is no longer sheriff of Maricopa County, will he be made the head of the shiny, new Deportation Force? Will President Donald Trump be impeached, indicted, removed from office, and end up begging for spare rubles in the Kremlin parking lot? Will UFOs appear over Washington D.C., bringing a different kind of alien across a new kind of border?

All I can say is, sorting out the reality from the sci-fi is getting to be a serious chore.

Ernest Hogan has a story with a political agenda in The Jewish Mexican Literary Review. More will soon be available in Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Ficiton and Fantasy, Five to the Future (stay tuned for details). He also took part in a round table discussion about Latin American Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror in MithilaReview: A Speculative Arts & Culture Magazine, where you can also read a sample of his novel, HighAztech.


msedano said...

Thankfully, that place now is Piestewa Peak.


The times, they are a-changing.

Anonymous said...

GREAT!! idk squaw peak became Piesetwa. BRAVO..I do know when i grew up we couldnt tell if the cars were back firing or firing back...rough area by oles and bahooka...or when surfer dave gave up BUTTONED UP penberton shirts and greased back ducktail hair for hawaiian shirts jeans and the surfer dave custom cinta.. that pissed the mecha s off and carbajal and his cholito thugs called dave"coconut"was gonna jump him till the wrestler capt (whom surfer dave) was dating tonys sister at the time..capt gonnella slammed carbajals head to the curb which ended it. or when i lived inscorpiongulch south mtn. at old man chandlers ranch but partied with the slopers out thunderbird way and deer valley with kegs we got by camel back at cave creek liquors with blocks of ice and navahopi blanket ass rug wrap in the 69 el camino...worked at 35th ave. and indin school when 17 was black canyon hwy..tubing down salt river from roosevelt tocoons luckys...or partyin with hutgirl, with band and kegger partys by the pool before joey came out..or when surfer dave got religion with those church babes at san onofre and promptly shattered all the rocknroll records...or the mini trail 70 rides up copper basin and eagle roost by skull valley...or waputki by flagtown, the furthest north ball court, complete with cool air vents like a/c from subterranean lava tubes from sunset crater...or the ringtail cat(coatimundi)in cochise stronghold..or those datura/hongito nites with tia bruja carmen..con pulque..que no primo