Arizona, you’ve changed

I spent quite a bit of time in Arizona as a kid, mostly around Flagstaff and Sedona. My grandparents moved out there in the early ’70s, followed by many other relatives on their side of the family, so it was always an extended summer vacation stop. Although Arizona has seen huge growth since then, I’m told that the little community they lived in (Munds Park) hasn’t changed very much.

But Arizona, you blew it. No longer will you be known mostly as the beautiful state with the saguaros, kachinas and the Grand Canyon, the fabulous, exotic Wild West destination that every foreign tourist wants to visit. Now you’ve bought yourself a worldwide reputation as the ugliest ugly-American state, where anyone who “looks suspicious” (i.e., Hispanic) will be harrassed, thanks to your very ill-conceived, myopic, quixotic new measure. I never thought any U.S. state could possibly take the crown away from Texas in the “ugly American” reputation department but with a single stroke of the pen, your governor has done it. Within the space of two years, not only have you lost your formerly booming housing economy to the economic crash, but you’ve also endangered your international reputation and possibly your tourism business.

Each day more than 65,000 Mexican residents are in Arizona to work, visit friends and relatives and shop, according to a University of Arizona study sponsored by the Arizona Office of Tourism. While there, the Mexican visitors spend more than $7.35 million daily in Arizona’s stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses, the researchers found.

Good luck selling those overpriced condos and country club memberships, though.

PS: Also, if you skip class in college in Arizona now (specifically, at NAU), Big Brother will know. Land of the Free!