The NY Times's notoriously astute Timothy Egan looks at America's political crackpot mecca, Arizona, what with its Sherlock secretary of state, its Maricopa sheriff of Nuttingham, and its frightfully pixilated grifter of a governor, and concludes that
There’s no mystery what a nation run by the Tea Party and talk-radio zealots who’ve taken over the G.O.P. would look like. It would be Arizona.
Well, that, or the U.S. House of Representatives majority, among whom progress is abhorrent, the status quo is unendurable, and the mythical past of a John Galtian Ozzie Nelson is hugged by the eye-twinkling pixilation of a Gov. Jan Brewer.
What did we do to deserve this? Egan says "The people who now control [Arizona] are proof of the old saying that in a democracy, voters get what they deserve"--meaning it's not so much what most voters did, as what they didn't do: vote.
It's a bit cruel to tell voters who actually took the time to vote and perhaps even registered other voters and worked at the polls and canvassed neighborhoods and licked envelopes and manned phone banks and in general surpassed the electoral elan of even Andy Jacksonian troopers that they got what they deserved--unless of course they labored for the triumphantly pixilated Galtians.
And therein lies a gross and rather curious disequilibrium of late. Right-wing crackpots aren't so disillusioned with the Haydenesque participatory democracy they despise with their Adorno-like authoritarian personalities that they reject its very real potential. No, they mobilize and vote--like they mean it. Everyone else, not so much; not even potentially and not even when in the hideous grip of some of the most horrifying crackpotdom around. Here, for instance, we should look not at Arizona, but to Wisconsin, the birthplace of progressivism, where a manifestly monstrous swindler of a right-winging governor can nonetheless justifiably envision a recall victory.
It's a fascinating, if profoundly demoralizing, conundrum. In American democracy a decided minority of anti-government zealots is determining the government we have, while the by-rights controlling majority is letting slip the government they demand. And in that, the majority would seem to be as pixilated as the minority.