It was (and remains) as classic piece of American literature (not to be confused with the other-than-classic 1995 movie based on the book).
Written in the middle of the 19th century, it was set in the middle of the 17th century in Puritan-era Boston.
There are many themes to explore in the book, not least of which is ineffectiveness of the use of ostracization as a punishment. And the pettiness and hypocrisy of its advocates.
Which brings us to early 21st-century Arizona.
From the Associated Press, via the Arizona Republic -
A newly elected Arizona state representative says he's drafting legislation to add a "non-citizen" designation on driver's licenses issued to young immigrants participating in an Obama administration program enabling them to avoid deportation.
Rep.-elect Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale, said he wants to protect the integrity of the voting system, while Democratic state Rep. Catherine Miranda, D-Phoenix, said Lawrence's proposal spells trouble for Arizona in the wake of past controversy over a 2010 immigration-enforcement law.
The 17th century Puritans in Hawthorne's novel wanted to ostracize, even demonize, anyone of whom they didn't approve and use that fear of the "other" to bolster their position of authority.
And Lawrence, perhaps trying to make a "splash" with his new colleagues in the lege, seems to be running plays out of that 17th century playbook.
Perhaps it's time to add a new clause to AZ law to require sitting legislators to wear a henna tattoo in the middle of their foreheads, kind of like
|pic found at Democratic Underground. Not sure where the poster there found it.|
Using henna because it is temporary (like legislative terms), but because it is temporary, the "L" tats would have to be refreshed periodically. Since henna tats usually last 2 - 4 weeks, let's go with requiring refreshers twice a month, perhaps at the beginning of each legislative pay period.