Arizona's hard-line isolationism runs deeper than a few elderly racists. Welcome to Joe Arpaio country.
This holiday season, I spent 10 days in Maricopa County, a Republican stronghold in the center of Arizona that stretches across 9,000 square miles of urban and desert sprawl. I hadn't spent more than a few days in my home state since I graduated from high school in 2003 and moved away forever. Over the years, I grew more and more distant from the people who stayed there. Then, late one night during vacation, I ended up in the Phoenix apartment of three nice, engaging 20-somethings who suspect that the U.S. government engineered the September 11 attacks and insist that Osama bin Laden has been dead for years. They believe that Americans should overthrow the federal government and regulate ourselves "as adults." Then, we'll all agree to secure our borders, deport all undocumented immigrants, and put an end to birthright citizenship.