Three New Years Resolutions for Arizona and America

The New Year has come and gone, 2014 is underway, and you know what that means. It’s time for New Year’s resolutions! As citizens of the United States of America, and of the state of Arizona, here are three things we can work on as a public body during 2014. Improvement begins at home!

1)Stand up to the National Security Agency and the shadow politicians who want to turn this country into a surveillance state.

Another day, another document; is there anyone the NSA isn’t spying on? I know some people have basically gone on the record as saying those who would sacrifice liberty for a little temporary safety are just good Americans who love their country. But even the most zealous of right-wing hardliners have to be getting concerned at this point. Sure, it makes sense to spy on those socialists in South America, and as for Germany, yeah, we might have some lingering trust issues after the whole turning people into lampshades and soap thing a few decades back. But Israel? Our best friend in the whole-wide-world? Moreover, the NSA continues to insist it doesn’t violate the civil liberties of anyone who doesn’t deserve it. But when recently asked whether it was spying on Congress, the NSA declined to answer, saying that Congress has “the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.” In other words: none at all. If Rand Paul is angry enough to file a lawsuit, the rest of us should probably be worried. The actions of the NSA and the secret FISA court that legalize those actions represent a fundamental violation of anything resembling American principles, and they must be stopped at all cost.

2) Smoke a joint and accept that the marijuana debate is pretty much over and done with.

The first legal marijuana retailers opened in Colorado on the first of the year. The first customer served was an Iraq War veteran with PTSD. The response of the Justice Department to Colorado and Washington legalizing recreational marijuana use has been a slump-shouldered shrug of indifference, and now even Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York and long-standing opponent of medical marijuana, has turned around on the issue declaring a plan to allow marijuana prescriptions in his state by executive order. Sorry, Tom Horne, but this battle is over. You lost. When the marijuana industry increases nationwide economic activity by an estimated two billion dollars next year, we will graciously accept your apology.

3) Engage the 2014 election cycle locally, not nationally.

The media is about to go on a nine-month-long binge of midterm election coverage, all designed to reinforce the idea that voting for/not voting for this corporate-sponsored Republican/that corporate-sponsored Democrat for the House of Representatives/the Senate is the most important thing we can possibly do. Ignore them. National politics have never mattered less than they do right now. In a Congress this ineffective and gridlocked, it doesn’t really matter who we send out to join the ranks of the politically impotent. In a country with an election system this broken, full of gerrymandered districts and money-driven campaigns, does voting on the national level really mean anything anymore?

Instead, let’s focus on local and state politics this election season. You couldn’t ask for a better place to do that than Arizona; our gubernatorial race alone is set to be the most wildly entertaining spectacle this side of the Superbowl. Devil-in-the-flesh incumbent Jan Brewer is reportedly considering challenging state election laws to run for a third term, a decision that might create tension between Brewer and her fawning, slavering lackey (and also Secretary of State) Ken Bennett — the presumptive favorite to take her place. Running for a third term is also, you know, illegal, but never fear: it’s Steven Seagal to the rescue! Seriously, Seagal has announced he might run for governor of Arizona. The well-known action movie hero is all the wrong kinds of crazy, supporting Sheriff Joe Arpaio on border issues while simultaneously being honored by PETA for his work to discourage the fur trade and give legal protections to animals (because cows from India are people, but humans from Mexico are not). Still, he might actually be a better choice than Bennett, and he’s almost definitely a better choice than Andrew Thomas, a former Maricopa County Attorney who was investigated and eventually disbarred by the Arizona Supreme Court. The Court’s three-member panel said that Thomas “outrageously exploited power, flagrantly fostered fear, and disgracefully misused the law.” Yep. Vote Seagal in November!

Originally published in The Lumberjack (http://www.jackcentral.org/opinion/opinion-three-new-year-s-resolutions-for-arizona-and-america/article_bc3d6c9e-7fcd-11e3-9aac-001a4bcf6878.html)

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