Are You Kidding Me, Arizona?

This blog exists to provide me with an outlet for my work-induced madness stress, and as anyone who has ever read a single post on this site can tell you, I have plenty of stress to release.

(My 5×5 series has no bearing in this case, so put it out of your minds. All clear? Thanks. You’re the best. I mean that. Seriously, you’re cooler than Iceman, Killer Frost and Mr. Freeze combined – and wrapped in bacon.)

At any rate, there are times in life when a writer must deviate from the norm in order to stay true to his principles. This is one of those times. I ran across the following item while enjoying my lunch.

In an act of apparent lunacy, Arizona’s Legislature has passed a controversial bill that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote Thursday, now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer.

Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner, vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service.

“I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don’t work with,” Brewer told CNN in Washington on Friday. “But I don’t know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don’t want to do business or if I don’t want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I’m not interested. That’s America. That’s freedom.”

Freedom? Are you actually suggesting that banning/segregating a particular group because you don’t agree with their ideology is what freedom is all about, Gov. Brewer?

Seriously?

Acceptance is a byproduct of love, which requires sacrifice and courage. To love means to put one’s desires and feelings aside. Love is infinitely rewarding but it requires infinite patience and bravery. Hatred, however, requires nothing but surrender. All one needs to do to hate is to let go and to give into our most primal urges.

As for your definition of freedom,I think there are a few folks that may disagree with you, Gov. Brewer…

I hope I’m not the only one who sees where all this is leading. Once upon a time, in the not-so-distant past, a group of people found themselves segregated by their own government. Their fellow citizens, some motivated by jealousy, others urged on by blind, raw hatred, supported the government’s actions and turned in those that attempted to flee or hide from their persecutors. 

Before the individuals in question could even wrap their heads around their new reality, they were faced with a greater, completely improbable crisis: Their impending extermination.

You may think I’m playing it fast and loose with my metaphors, but I grew up listening to stories about the Holocaust and just what the German people were thinking at the time and trust me, the similarities are chilling.

“The rallies and raids were like music concerts, people were swept up in the excitement and they did whatever they were told. But don’t you worry, Bobby,” my grandmother would say, “You’ll never see that happen again in your lifetime.”

We’ll see, won’t we?

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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104 Responses to Are You Kidding Me, Arizona?

  1. Just a stunning chain of events. And speaking of chains, it wasn’t that long ago that people in that state/country were chained up, and just hoping to get to the level of free but segregated status. How do these sort of people even start to believe in this kind of garbage today with all the world’s information available at their fingertips? Oh yeah, because they are chained to their bibles of narrow perspectives. God help us all!

    • The Hook says:

      God appears to be sitting this one out. Robyn, which is unfortunate because certain people are acting in his name.

      • Oh, I don’t know Hook…, Couldn’t it be, that in fact, you are one of the people acting in his name from a bequest that doesn’t require you to announce it?… Not to sound too ‘religulous’, but I think angels fight for the rights of all.

  2. Tom Merriman says:

    One step forward, another step back, hey, Hook?

  3. Pyx says:

    I have nothing to add to this Sir Hook – but to say you are right!

  4. iniriba says:

    I agree that the similarities are frightening. You would think that the religious folks would understand the absolute two faced attitude they are showing by crying “We don’t want you messing up our freedoms but damn if we can’t screw with yours.” They need to remember the words “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” I am a strong advocate for Believe Out Loud. Christians in support of LGTB.

  5. Arizona has worked very hard over the last decade or so, to reverse time. I don’t think, in the long run, that it will work, but it is pretty awful to witness and embarrassing for citizens of our country who wish to move in time with the rest of the planet.

  6. Yes I heard about this and other similar legislation in Kansas and Missouri. I am so saddened and frightened to think that I live in a world such as this. How is this in anyway different than the hard fought Civil Rights actions taken hardly 50 years ago, where someone didn’t like the color of your skin? I don’t think you are in any way out of line, Hook. Thanks for shining a light on bigotry wherever it rears it’s ugly head.

  7. Trent Lewin says:

    That is disgusting. We have to principles, and even if people have the right to interact with who they want, the point is that this law makes the world worse. What is this, the 50’s? Pure bigotry and utterly reprehensible behaviour by backwards-thinking hopefully-soon-to-fade-out-of-memory people.

  8. Mikels Skele says:

    Just goes to show you how bankrupt the myth of progress is. We don’t need to go to Germany to see where this is heading. In the Jim Crow South, diners were never without signs that said, “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” 10 points if you can guess who “anyone” was.

  9. I wonder when they are going to put in separate water fountains for those refused service by the lovely folk who talk about love and understanding every Sunday morning. I hope sanity returns at some point.

    I am speechless.

  10. Eva says:

    Nice one, Hook.
    My friend works in the prison system in Tuscon as an LCSW. She’s now considering moving back to Illinois due to Brewer’s actions. She needs to be shoved up something, never to return.

  11. Eva says:

    Brewer… not my friend.

  12. JackieP says:

    It’s crazy! How many steps back must we take before we say no more! The world and especially the states are going weird. Really. I love my home country, but this is getting out of hand!

  13. Paul says:

    Given that this new law has been duly passed by the elected representatives of the people of Arizona – then it is reasonable to say it represents the will of the people of Arizona and hence any retribution should be directed at all who are from Arizona. I suggest we start a movement that allows (and encourages) all businesses and individuals to refuse to do business with any resident or corporation of the state of Arizona. I would also suggest that we lobby our politicians to pass laws that make it legal to descriminate against Arizona residents.

    “The only thing needed for evil to prosper is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”
    — Edmund Burke

    • The Hook says:

      A wonderful quote, Paul.
      Well done.

    • List of X says:

      Don’t you think that by punishing all of Arizona you’ll also be punishing the same people who would already suffer from that law?

      • Paul says:

        Yeah, I saw that problem after I commented. How about we only refuse hetero’s? Problem with that is, again, it requires identification. Hmmm, there has to be some way to make it clear to everyone from Arizona that we do not tolerate their intolerance. Any suggestions?

      • List of X says:

        What will happen is that once the law is signed, it would be challenged in court by ACLU or gay rights organizations, and will most likely overturned as unconstitutional. Since it’s a federal issue, not state, it would not be decided by AZ’s courts, but would go to federal courts, possibly all the way to Supreme Court, unless the state admits defeat earlier (which it won’t do). So the state will waste a few million dollars on implementing and defending the law that’s nearly guaranteed to be overturned.

  14. 1jaded1 says:

    Hypocrisy pure and simple. Oh yeah, scary too. *shakes head* Well written, friend.

  15. 1jaded1 says:

    Strange, my comment didn’t go through. It is hypocritical and scary. Well written.

  16. Hook:

    1. You’ll never guess where I am flying to this afternoon.

    2. As for never living to see the Holocaust again, I will tackle this topic in the sequel to my current book. “The Culture of Narcissism” meets “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” I’ll make the theoretical argument that the gender analogue of the Holocaust is alive and “well.”

    • The Hook says:

      1) Arizona? or maybe my neck of the woods?
      2) I look forward to seeing your point of view in print.

      • Arizona. // Book One galley proof is in final proof reading, by Thursday next week, the text will be frozen, and it’s off to production. I’ll just have to watch out for feminist ninjas and lynching squads.

  17. bardictale says:

    Freedom, the idol of democracy. What horrors won’t we commit for its immortal self?
    I hope it won’t get as bad as that, that it’ll be stopped in time.

  18. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Well written response, my friend. The comparison to the south and race that another commenter made is dead on (and in some places still true).

    I like to have faith in people in general, but it’s things like this that make me worry that others will give up the fight.

  19. So crazy and crazy sad. Do people not learn from history or must it repeat itself?

  20. janeybgood says:

    It’s almost as if this isn’t reality; as if it is some horribly bigoted other world that I’m hearing about. So it makes me so sad and disillusioned to realised that this is actually happening, right now, in the twenty-first century. Have we learned nothing from the persecutions and human rights abuses of the past? I’m gonna go weep for mankind now.

  21. The news gets worse and worse. What next? Democracy is sick and Dictatorship is making gains. Everyday we lose more and more freedoms.

    • The Hook says:

      Indeed we do.
      I hope the tide turns soon.

    • Paul says:

      Actually, Democracy is not sick: it has always had limitations that were kept in line with the Constitution. It is simply the will of the majority – there are no ethics, morals, principles, right, wrong or other behaviour governing concepts inherent in a Democracy. That has to all be added by the People. That’s always been one of the rest of the world’s biggest complaints about American democracy – it is not “right” because it exists – it represents only the will of the majority and sometimes that will is self-serving and unethical.

  22. T. Dawn says:

    Powerful words Hook. My heart bleeds (and gets pretty pissed off) when I read about this. I’m sharing your message with my Facebook peeps.

  23. I’m so embarrassed to be from this state – Brewer is the worst thing going…

  24. It seems people have forgotten how to get along. Agree to disagree, but live in peace. Laws rarely change the heart and soul of man, just builds resentment on both sides

    Tolerance seems to now mean “accept others, but only if they agree with me – because I’m right and they must change their ideas or suffer the consequences.” (Is this the result of “everyone is a winner”?)
    Free enterprise can work as well as stupid laws. Find a business/place that’s run by narrow minded people? Spread the word and stop giving them money (and publicity). Run them out of business.
    We have too many stupid laws. This one is really not needed or desirable.

    I too have heard the stories about how people got emotionally charged and went with the crowd – until they realized things were not as they seemed…but it was too late. Extremists always create dangerous times.

    Compassion and respect – how do you encourage those?
    Live and let live.

    (Eventually the dinosaurs die off…change takes time, but it will happen)
    Post of outrage well done

  25. I think the only way these people will learn is if the tables are turned and those discriminating against gay and lesbian customers are boycotted. Hit them where it hurts, the pocket.

    It is not only discrimination but unenforceable. I mean how exactly would they know which customers to deny service to? Do people have to walk around with Nametags which state their sexual orientation? Bizarre.

    • Paul says:

      You can rest assured that if the law passes, that the next logical step will most certainly be the requirement that sexual orientation be publically marked so those who choose to discriminate can know who to discriminate against. After all, that is precisely what the Nazis did with the Jews, isn’t it? Mark them for discrimination. That’s actually a good test of a law – if its passing leads to logically bizarre outcomes, then most likely the law itself is wrong.

  26. I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. It seems unbelievable that this is possible in this day and age but there you have it. Thanks for taking the time to bring it up front.

  27. jlheuer says:

    I have been watching this issue as well and it is damn scary. Pure evil is another phrase I would use. And it is not just Arizona, Kansas kicked it off, also stating that if a gay person should then sue for discrimination they would have to pay $2000 in punitive damages.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/gay-discrimination-bills-religious-freedom-jim-crow

  28. Who cares if gays want to marry?! My God, two people want to take a chance on love. So they’re the same sex! Who cares? I wonder why religious folks feel so threatened by that? It’s not like heterosexuals have been such great caretakers of the institution, that’s for sure. And, frankly, I’m sick of protecting the gay community of the “benefits” of marriage. Let em’ get married and see how much fun it can be.

  29. renxkyoko says:

    Ugh. Don’t get me started on this, Mr. Hook. I guess you know my politics. If I may add something, this goes back to the pre-Civil Rights law here in the US, and Hitler’s Nazi germany. How the Republicans can even think of doing this is beyond comprehension.

  30. Facebook is circulating pictures of restaurants in AZ that have put up signs that they have the right to refuse service… the state legislators.

  31. Nadia says:

    Disgraceful. It’s 2013, for Christ’s sake. How on earth does sexual preference hurt anybody? Apparently we still have a long way to go as humankind.

  32. stephrogers says:

    This is so sad. Do you know I went to a restaurant with my then girlfriend a few months back and was denied service? I was horrified. But sadly discrimination still happens. It is not easy being gay.

  33. Veronica says:

    Is there anything to say here aside from WTF??

  34. 'Tis says:

    Reblogged this on 'Tis Personal and commented:
    As a resident of Arizona and the mother of a homosexual this has hit close to home. It is mind-boggling and disturbing to me that I am being represented in such a horrific way. It breaks my heart in ways that I can’t even begin to express; that my child, in this day and age cannot live a life free of prejudice and ostracisation.

    Thank you for your outrage and support of the LGBTQA community. It’s always comforting to me to know that so many people support the belief that Love is Love!

  35. 'Tis says:

    I can’t even begin to express my thanks for your heartfelt response to one of the most asinine pieces of legislation to even be conjured up. As the mother of a homosexual and a resident of Arizona this has angered and frustrated me in so many ways that I cannot even think straight anymore. I’ve re-blogged this to keep the message going. Thank you!
    xoxo

  36. Jennifer says:

    Sooo, were these people even thinking. Apparently not. Such a sad state of affairs, and like many others have said. In this day and age is it possible that this is happening?? Apparently so. Small, narrow minded excuses for human beings.

    • The Hook says:

      It certainly is unbelievable, Jennifer.
      President Obama should take this opportunity to nip this ugly and disturbing wave of hatred in the bud by addressing the nation immediately.

  37. girlseule says:

    I heard about this, bloody disgraceful, whoever passed that law should hang their head in shame!

  38. bethteliho says:

    So so sad that (idiots) people in power are that ignorant. Chills me to the bone.

  39. Twindaddy says:

    I read about this a week or so ago, and I’m disgusted. I am so sick of these idiots trying to legalize their religious beliefs and force them on to everybody.

  40. Aussa Lorens says:

    Are you kidding me? This is the first I’ve heard of this, surely it won’t pass???? Have these people never heard of Jim Crowe laws? Disgusting and awkward.

  41. The USA is a remarkable country, despite these Stone Age fuckers

  42. Jo Bryant says:

    Sadly the religious fanatics are feeding fear in to the American people. Fear of change. Fear of their neighbours. And as this fear spreads it becomes a weapon with which to control. Both the populace and the politicians who fear losing the vote.

  43. El Guapo says:

    Great post, Hook – give ’em hell!
    Turns out, Brewer vetoed it.
    And in a nice turn of events, several states that also had something like this bill in the works went ahead and killed them in committee, partly due to the backlash in Arizona.

    Now if the attacks on women’s rights could blow up in their faces…

  44. shimoniac says:

    As of this reply Gov. Jan Brewer has vetoed the bill and denied it legal status. As for the comparison with Nazi Germany, you weren’t the only one worried about the similarities. As I look at the world, I weep that hatred and intolerance is resurgent. Uganda’s president recently signed one of the most draconian and evil anti-homosexual laws on the planet.
    We’re going from tolerance, to intolerance, to persecution at a might fast clip. Can the Burning Times be far away?

  45. curvyroads says:

    Oh Hook I am late to this party, and fortunately, Gov Brewer did the right thing, even if it was for the wrong (economic) reason. But AMEN to everything you said. Sad to say, I live in Georgia, where the religious bigots managed to craft not one, but TWO, similar bills. Fortunately, neither of them lived to see the light of day in the recent ‘crossover’ day when bills have to be passed from one house to the other to survive. But that won’t stop the southern rednecks; I am sure we will see another equally offensive piece of legislation in the name of religion in Georgia.

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