The City of the Future Rusts and Roils

Phoenix has been nicknamed "the city of the future" for its cutting-edge proposals, rapid growth, and ruthless ambition. But this title has rings of nostalgia as the city faces its fourth decade of drought and growing political extremism, both of which pose questions regarding its future. With the threat of disappearance haunting the whole country, Phoenix is a testament to the fragility of democracy and a guide for our future.

The article explores the history of Phoenix, from its settlement by the Hohokam Indians to present-day megacities. It discusses the city's rapid growth and dependence on artificiality despite the surrounding desert and droughts. The water crisis foreseen by Theodore Roosevelt in 1911 has yet to be realized, despite the completion of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam. And while many may view the metropolis as a testament to American innovation and might, others see it as a hub of political extremism and a potential target of destruction.

The article examines the city's political landscape, specifically the growing radicalism of the Arizona Republican Party and the resulting crises. It explores the story of Rusty Bowers, a former speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives who was confronted by MAGA supporters enraged by his refusal to endorse a pro-Trump slate of electors in the 2020 election.

The article also explores the growing threat of far-right extremism in Arizona, as seen in the January 6 congressional committee and the QAnon Shaman. It discusses how the veneer of civilization is thin in the face of rising hate speech, threats, and violence. Finally, it reflects on the city's future, as growth continues despite the looming water crisis and extreme political divisions.

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