Opinion | What the Arizona GOP’s response to Uvalde reveals

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Republican lawmakers in Arizona have offered more than thoughts and prayers to the innocent victims massacred in Uvalde, Texas. They have praised law enforcement for his actions despite ample evidence that police waited too long to intervene, blamed the violence on God’s absence, and renewed his push to get more guns into schools.

Take for example State Senator Kelly Townsend, a far right republican whose nonsensical ideas include, more recently, the use of watchmen to watch the polls in the next installments. Four years ago, in the days following the riot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, she compared mass shooters on women who abort: None, he said, have any respect for human life.

After the Murders at Robb ElementaryTownsend He suggested that we arm “everyone in our schools, whether they’re veterans volunteering, whether they’re the police, whether they’re arming teachers.” His colleague, been Senator Rick Graythe Republican majority leader, said school shootings happen because “for decades, we’ve been teaching our kids in school that there’s no God.”

Meanwhile, calls by Democrats to action on 13 stalled gun control bills — one of them includes banning some domestic violence offenders from owning firearms, which seems like a no-brainer to me — have been totally ignored. Such is the predicament for Democrats to be the minority in both legislative chambers in a deeply polarized purple state where extremists are not only the loudest, but also the predominant voices in Republican politics.

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Case in point: Gov. Doug Ducey, a conservative who hasn’t fallen over the edge, has I was not lucky pass a law that would allow judges to take guns from people who are considered a danger to themselves or others. His fellow Republicans in the House have twice refused to push him.

I talked to the state senator. Rachel Teran (D), whose path to elected office stemmed from her role as a community organizer fighting for immigration reform at a time when Arizona became a national symbol of bigotry. She framed the dominant version of Republican politics in Arizona these days around control: “control of our bodies, control of what we read and talk about in schools.” (Gun control? Not so much.)

That brings up an interesting irony. Some Republicans say teachers should be allowed to carry guns in the classroom and teach lessons about religion, but they can’t be trusted to talk openly with students about issues of race and ethnicity. Under a bill recently passed by the House, violators could lose your teaching license. as the state senator cristina marsh (D), a former teacher of the year, said so eloquently, “Give me a break.”

Arizona is far from the only battleground state, but it could be one where the pendulum has swung the furthest to the right since 2020. That’s when Arizona voters elected a Democrat for president for the second time since they elected Harry S. Truman in 1948 (the other was Bill Clinton).

However, former President Donald Trump still enjoys a large following in Arizona. With term limits, Ducey is serving his second and final term, and the major Republican candidate for governor, a journalist-turned-conspiracy theory Called Kari Lake, she features Trump’s image and endorsement on his campaign posters.

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Terán, whose Senate district is one of the most diverse in the state, grew up in Douglas, a small Arizona town on the US-Mexico border that is similar to Uvalde. Both are working-class communities with about 16,000 residents, mostly Hispanics.

He stood quietly on the floor of the State Senate the other day holding a collage of photos of the 19 children killed in Uvalde; two teachers also died. He told me he was worried about collapsing, so he let other fellow Democrats do the talking.

She did cry when we spoke a few days later, telling me about her mother, who works in a school cafeteria, and her nephews, whose faces remind her of the children murdered in Uvalde. “My neighbors in Douglas, my constituents, are the people of Uvalde,” she said.

She lists some of their needs: a reliable and sustainable water supply; a strategy to mitigate wildfires that are a deadly threat in parts of the state; and affordable housing. Phoenix and its surrounding communities saw, in April, the higher cost of living increase in the country compared to the same month last year and have registered one of the highest rent increases from early 2021.

“People can’t afford a place to live,” Terán said.

I asked him what he would do if he had a magic wand. She paused, talked about meeting basic needs, but then settled on something less tangible but, in many ways, more important: “It would protect our democracy.”

The threat is real. On Thursday, Trump endorsed Republican Blake Masters in the US Senate race to unseat Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly. The former president praised Masters for supporting the election fantasy stolen from him.

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