This is the Governor of the State of Arizona, Jan Brewer, on her front page, speaking to her main constituency out here, the National Rifle Association - the mainstay of "American Values."
Don't know where that leaves the rest of us who are looking for leadership from someplace other than the NRA.
Just so the rest of the world understands something: Jan Brewer, Russ Pearce, Joe Arpaio, Andrew Thomas, and the NRA do not represent all of us here in Arizona. Increasingly, those of us who disagree with them will no doubt end up behind bars. That's reason for encouragement, though: it means they're losing. Look for this to get worse before it gets better.
Those folks have a lot to do with the mess we're in today - dishing out the old "law and order" election year rhetoric that has us spending more on warehousing and killing prisoners than we're willing to spend on educating our youth: that's shameful for both Democrats and Republicans (who, I'll remind folks, are not the only two options out there).
This year we need to set the campaign agenda ourselves. They've already begun with their public appearances and comments - all we need is for a few people to turn up at each event - Republican and Democrats' events alike -and make the AZ prison industrial complex The Issue for every single one of them.
Haunt them at every campaign stop with the ghost of Marcia Powell. It can be totally legal; even low key. Just be visible and frank, take a picture or video, and send it in.
Are they building more prisons? Why not let the elderly and dying go?
Is the prison population going to grow in their vision for Arizona - or will it shrink, along with the number of uninsured and hungry seniors, veterans, and kids?
Do they support privatization of corrections or correctional health services? Will they auction off our family members to the lowest bidder?
Where are their investments in Arizona's future going to be made: education, or incarceration?
Hey Thomas: why do you ignore evidence of innocence and leave people in prison you know perfectly well don't belong there? We don't need more people in power in this state who can't admit a mistake.
Letters to legislators, the gov, and the media need to go out now too. Unless you need or assure confidentiality, copies of such correspondence should generally be posted on some publicly accessible website or it gets buried - send your letter to me, and I'll put it up and let whomever you sent it to know it's on the net for viewing. Then it'll be read even if it's lost in the mail.
Some of you can start up blogs too, you know. Or go to Arizona Indymedia and post an article or picture of your own. Check out what this blogger in Delaware is doing to bring the Department of Corrections front and center in the 2010 campaigns.
Don't settle for the heads of a few prison guards. Now is the time to deconstruct Arizona's carceral regime. Force an intelligent public dialogue before the primaries - we need to set the agenda for change.