Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Always Wrong But Never In Doubt

Back when I had a condo in Chicago I had one of these set up in the master bathroom.

I had one of these set up in the master bathroom.

Picked it up cheap at American Science and Surplus back when I was flush.

I had it there for no reason other than to remind myself every day that people have died for my right vote and, to a lesser extent, my right to buy silly knick-knacks at American Science and Surplus, and every terrible joke about "Voting straight potty line" has already been conceived, delivered and buried in unsanctified ground.

I am reminded of that booth of mine today, as I flip back through my memory palace to November, 2004 and an up-and-coming star at the New York Times who was very, very sure that Values Voters were just figments of the Loser Liberal imagination:
The Values-Vote Myth

NOV. 6, 2004

Every election year, we in the commentariat come up with a story line to explain the result, and the story line has to have two features. First, it has to be completely wrong. Second, it has to reassure liberals that they are morally superior to the people who just defeated them.

In past years, the story line has involved Angry White Males, or Willie Horton-bashing racists. This year, the official story is that throngs of homophobic, Red America values-voters surged to the polls to put George Bush over the top.

This theory certainly flatters liberals, and it is certainly wrong.

The fact is that if you think we are safer now, you probably voted for Bush. If you think we are less safe, you probably voted for Kerry. That's policy, not fundamentalism. The upsurge in voters was an upsurge of people with conservative policy views, whether they are religious or not.

The red and blue maps that have been popping up in the papers again this week are certainly striking, but they conceal as much as they reveal. I've spent the past four years traveling to 36 states and writing millions of words trying to understand this values divide, and I can tell you there is no one explanation. It's ridiculous to say, as some liberals have this week, that we are perpetually refighting the Scopes trial, with the metro forces of enlightenment and reason arrayed against the retro forces of dogma and reaction.

But the same insularity that caused many liberals to lose touch with the rest of the country now causes them to simplify, misunderstand and condescend to the people who voted for Bush. If you want to understand why Democrats keep losing elections, just listen to some coastal and university town liberals talk about how conformist and intolerant people in Red America are. It makes you wonder: why is it that people who are completely closed-minded talk endlessly about how open-minded they are?
Well apparently a bunch of them showed up at the polls again yesterday and did what they have been doing since the GOP hired Lee Atwater to make the beast-with-two-back with zombie Richard Nixon:  electing objectively terrible, hateful, crazy Republicans to positions where they can do maximum damage to the electorate.

Because Jebus!  And Freedumb, also too!

Make no mistake. Kentuckians voted to decimate a popular health-care system, and to make Kentucky a right to work state last night. They did so because Bevin mobilized the Kim Davis vote and spread enough Jeebus around that people (again) voted against their own best interests. (Also, it should be noted that Bevin plans to throw responsibility for the poor and the sick onto the rest of us. You're welcome, dickhead.) If your outrage over the treatment of a crackpot goldbricking county clerk outweighs the possibility that your aging grandmother is going to die of a treatable illness then, well, I don't know what to say to you except good luck and enjoy your freedom.
In Houston, these same, non-existent Values Voters precipitated out of thin air, apparently, to remind LGBT Americans that they will damn well remain second-class citizens so long as the pants-pissing, god-fearin' mental shut-ins of The Greatest Country God Ever Created have anything to say about it.
Houston voters reject contentious LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance

HOUSTON — An ordinance that would have established protections against discrimination for gay and transgender people failed to win approval from voters on Tuesday.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was rejected after a nearly 18-month battle that spawned rallies, legal fights and accusations of both religious intolerance and demonization of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Supporters of the ordinance had said it would have offered increased protections for gay and transgender people, as well as protections against discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion and other categories.

Opponents of the ordinance, including a coalition of conservative pastors, said it infringed on their religious beliefs regarding homosexuality. But in the months leading up to Tuesday’s vote, opponents focused their campaign on highlighting one part of the ordinance related to the use of public restrooms by transgender men and women that opponents alleged would open the door for sexual predators to go into women’s restrooms.

Democratic Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who is gay, and other supporters of the ordinance had called this “bathroom ordinance” strategy highly misleading and a scare tactic.

And maybe print this post out and paste it to a cricket bat so the next time one of your clever friends or colleagues trots out the "Both Sides" argument, you will have something sufficiently sturdy with which to wallop them upside the head.


Niccki said...

Printing it out as we speak....have several people in mind. Though the heads are so thick they probably would never notice. But then Carson is leading in many polls, so how batshit crazy is that???

DeistPaladin said...

Hey Bluegal and Driftglass,

Last night, my state decided to be like yours and elect a Wall Street hedge fund trader to be our governor. Once again, young voters couldn't be persuaded to get off their asses and vote.

Apparently, young people haven't learned that our politicians don't care what they post on Tumblr or what online petitions they sign.

So, as people with experience with a governor hedgefund, how bad is this going to be?

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I still bother to go vote--but in this age of unaccountable computerized voting machines, I find myself wondering for which candidates my votes are actually counted, assuming they are counted at all.

In the Age Of Diebold, do the politicians and their masters really care about how we vote at the polls, either?

DeistPaladin said...

@Ivory: Yes because you can only steal a close election.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I freely admit to not being a computer expert, but can't the computerized voting machines be hacked to make any election a close election, and therefore stealable?