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While most of you might have been relishing in a wonderful Thanksgiving meal (or eating pumpkin pie), I took part in the solid American tradition of skipping such pleasing family time to brave the Phoenix winter for Black Friday sales.

It being my first year, I waited in the line for the store of my choosing to open. I wondered how one might spend two to three hours in a line full of strangers, albeit hungry and seemingly desperate shoppers.

My answer came when I entered a conversation with a woman, who very recently moved here from California. We chatted for a while until our conversation fell into the political realm.

I asked her if she had ever heard of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and she had not. The row of Hispanic shoppers, including myself, gasped.

It was then that I recalled an experience I had. On Friday evening, October 7, 2011, I was treated to the lovely Marshall Lecture on the ASU Tempe campus delivered by the talented poet and renowned civil rights activist Nikki Giovanni.

After the lecture, a classmate pointed out that Arpaio was in the audience.

The irony was profound: Giovanni, a revered 68-year-old civil rights activist, unwittingly delivering a lecture to a man so far antiquated in policy that what she thought to be an obscure historical reference was known to the audience as current practice.

I couldn’t help but laugh. If Joe was indeed in attendance, I hope he cringed when the audience cackled over his policy.

Oct. 7, 2011 was a night to recognize that Arizona without a doubt exists in a time vortex of humiliating proportions. Stepping into Arizona from another state is like going into a Twilight Zone into another time zone.


Jacci Lastra


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