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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A Tale of Two Republics: Arizona and California during the Coronavirus Pandemic

An educated and virtuous citizenry is essential for a republic to endure, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two former U.S. presidents and rivals, agreed in an exchange of letters. Interestingly, both men died on July 4, 1826. Of course, the vote on independence had occurred on July 3, 1776 and the Declaration was signed over weeks rather than dramatically on July 4, 1776. Unfortunately, false narratives can take on a life of their own. Another example involves the U.S.'s "sun-belt" states, whose surging popularity from the 1980s at least through 2020 has masked the true conditions of the underlying cultures. Maricopa county, in which Phoenix, Arizona is located, was in the top 10 nationally for numeric increases in population from 2010 to 2020. Lest it be supposed that that county improved, a survey in July, 2019 listed Arizona as 49th out of the 50 States on elementary education (K-12th grade). 
Relatedly, Arizona's Medicaid system had a sordid reputation in terms of how well the subcontracting companies and non-profits managed themselves and were held accountable. As of 2020, Arizona still had a significant number of ideological voters who believed that Medicaid was a form of sordid socialism, which unjustly had taken the place of horrid communism. Because Medicaid had become the unwanted step-child in that political culture that still boasted that "taxes are theft," tight budgets and the State's bad education system resulted in subcontracting organizations, including medical clinics, conveniently embellishing their low-wage employees. Reports emerged of nurse-practitioners claiming to have the same training as physicians and even specialists such as psychiatrists and dermatologists, and of counselors misrepresenting themselves as being synonymous with therapists. In fact, Arizona's Medicaid tumor even reduced mental health to behavioral health so the cheaper behavior-trained counselors rather than therapists could be hired and relied upon. 
Furthermore, the organizations in Arizona receiving most or all of their funding from public-aid agencies like Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Medicaid were reputed to suffer from administrative incompetence without much accountability from either of those two government agencies. It was quite strange to read of the non-profit organizations and companies, including medical clinics, refer to themselves as agencies. Such lying with impunity also served to dissimulate any criticism of administrative incompetence. That low-class sub-culture of dependent organizations could count on the low education level in the state and its notable anti-science (and anti-intellectualism) ideology not to know better. In fact, no one would be likely to push-back on the Medicaid employees in the state who mispronounce the technocratic acronym for the state's Medicaid program, AHCCCS, as access rather than ah-kehs. In Arizona, the letter C is not hard (like a K) if an S follows, rather than just an E or I. You're wrong, ignorance that can't be wrong has the gall to say. You're wrong, I don't need to keep six-feet away from people. You're wrong, my people don't need enforceable government orders. Relative to California, we could rightly expect that Arizona would botch its management of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.