Dear Governor Ducey,
I think we share something in common. Our jobs are kind of ridiculous. Today, I’m trying to revise a book manuscript for a contest. In the literary/small press/indie press/university press world, we have “book contests” to which you can submit your manuscript, for a fee. The money collected usually goes to the author and pays for the printing and, if you’re lucky, promotion of your book. It seems silly to pay for publication, especially when the chances of winning are so low, but I can console myself by feeling like I’m supporting the press and my fellow authors and maintain some toe-in-the-real-world by recognizing that there is a degree of ridiculousness.
As you too must realize there’s a degree of ridiculousness to the goings on with the legislature and your office these days. Yesterday, you vetoed two bills—one that would have declared “livestock” to not be called “animals” so animal cruelty prevention campaigns would not include cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, goats, etc. You also vetoed the bill that would allow guns in public buildings. You wanted us to feel a moment of sanity, I guess, before you signed the law the tipped the world back upside down that said that will force doctors to say medical abortion can be reversed to every patient that has one and that prohibits the Affordable Care Act from covering abortion, even if the insured pays an extra fee. Oh, that moment when you vetoed the two ridiculous bills. If we could have stopped time! But then, the clock moved forward and the abortion bill (reverse that abortion, doctor magic!) was signed and the gravity moved right to the ceiling.
I can’t tell how much of this ridiculousness is premeditated. Part of me thinks, like Indiana declaring that businesses can discriminate if they want to (I’m sure AZ will follow suit soon), you want to bring on a federal case so more reasonable-but-still-Republican people who think that a lot of what’s going on is ridiculous will forget that ridiculousness when the Feds say, “no, you can’t do that” and you can rally cry “State’s Rights” to them. Well, maybe the States Rights people will forget but I will try to remind everyone of the ridiculousness. The ridiculousness of teachers not being allowed to protest. The ridiculousness of saying K-12 education funding is increased, when, per capita, it actually decreased. The ridiculousness of cutting a university’s budget by 14% and expecting that university to be able to fulfill its mission in any way. Yesterday, I learned that I have no travel funding to attend a conference where I was invited to present. I would have carried NAU’s mission forward. I would have served the state well. But now I will stay home and write letters. I will write lists because the list of ridiculous is long and one way I try to keep the gravity below my feet is to make a list.