The coming apart of US
As an American, I was reluctant to admit that my country was coming apart at the seams, even after Trump, but now the straw that broke the camel’s back came with the revelation that Arizona has decided to execute convicted criminals in a gas chamber powered by the same chemical, hydrogen cyanide known as Zyklon B, that resulted in millions of deaths of Jews, gays, gypsies, disabled people and others at the hands of Adolph Hitler and his Nazi henchmen in the 1940s, most notably at the Auschwitz death camp. Have they no decency or shame?
As Christoph Heubner, executive vice-president of the International Auschwitz Committee, said after the revelation, “For Auschwitz survivors, the world will finally come apart at the seams, if in any place on this Earth the use of Zyklon B in the killing of human beings is considered again. … In their eyes, this is a disgraceful act that is unworthy of any democracy and, moreover, insults the victims of the Holocaust.” I’d say the insult extends not only to Holocaust survivors and their offspring, but to decent human beings everywhere!
We used to call California “the land of fruits and nuts”, not so much for their agricultural abundance but for the extreme political views of its inhabitants. In colloquial American English, “fruits and nuts”, a derogatory term, refers to crazy people, outliers and flat-out liars. Arizona, another state blessed by agricultural abundance, has now aced out its neighbor for being the foremost land of fruits and nuts.
The decision to use Nazi execution methods is only the latest outrage in the descent of Arizona and the US down the moral and political rabbit hole. Concurrently, supporters of Trump, who now claims that by August he will be “reinstalled” as president, are conducting what Arizona’s own elected Secretary of State, a Democrat, called a “fraudit” at the behest of the Republican legislature and governor, by a Trumpian “cybersecurity” firm with no relevant expertise to overturn Biden’s victory, which was certified ad nauseum by official tabulations and recounts, and confirmed by the courts.
At the same time, because Republicans can’t win in open and fair elections, they are waging a national state-by-state campaign to cancel as many Democratic voters as possible on the demonstrably false claim of widespread voter fraud. While such shenanigans were commonplace in America in an earlier era, they do not exist today. In desperation, Republicans are using the tried and true techniques honed against Blacks after the American Civil War to prevent them from participating in the electoral process. Arizona, along with a growing number of states, has just enacted such a law which can rig the votes to assure Republican victories.
Like in many other states, the same forces in Arizona have also made it a more dangerous place to live, especially for minorities. Arizona has made it harder to vote but, bowing to the gun lobby, has eased requirements for carrying guns whether concealed or openly carried. Moreover, as elsewhere in America with its gun violence epidemic, police can act with near reckless abandon, even killing innocent people, as the criminal “justice” system is rigged in favor of so-called “law enforcement”.
One only need to remember that an Arizona Congresswoman, targeted by a gunman while meeting her constituents, was shot in the head and permanently maimed in an assassination attempt that injured 19 people and killed six, including a federal judge in 2011. Arizona’s gun death rate is 40 percent higher than the national average. A person is murdered by a gun in Arizona almost every day. From 2001 through 2010, 3,303 people in Arizona were murdered by guns, almost twice as many as US combat deaths in the Afghanistan War.
To bring matters full circle, one of Arizona’s most prominent politicians was its longtime Jewish senator, Barry Goldwater, whose Polish relatives were murdered in the Holocaust. He ran against president Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and was among the most prominent conservatives of his time. Unlike today, conservatives were then far and few between. Goldwater famously said: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” He lost to LBJ in a landslide but his ghost still haunts his state and the US today enabling those who are bringing back Zyklon-B gas chambers, rigging the voting process and fueling an orgy of senseless gun violence.
The author is a senior fellow at the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.