Friday, November 05, 2004

Memo to: Red States

by Rich Miles
November 5, 2004

One of the things I've believed for a long time is that in political campaigns, Democrats tend to be far too polite. Among many other examples, as some of you may recall, in 2000, Al Gore just stood there on the debate stage while W repeated yet AGAIN that stupid lie about Gore having claimed to have invented the Internet, and Gore never challenged him on it there or elsewhere, because to do so he would have had to call W a liar. We Blue-staters don't like being rude, so we try to avoid such confrontational direct statements. John Kerry missed, or perhaps didn't even see, many opportunities to slip in the rapier and twist, once in the debates saying in effect that he doesn't use the "L" word - liar, despite its being the precise mot just at the time (it means the "right word" in - gasp! - FRENCH). His much-remarked New England reserve, in matters religious and elsewise, cost him the election in a nation increasingly dominated by the moral equivalent of snake-handling, speaking-in-tongues cultists. And the direct result of all our good breeding and manners is that we are currently living in a theocracy every bit as frightening as anything the Iran ayatollahs or Sunni imams could possibly cook up. If any of you think W's appeal in his acceptance speech to "all Americans", even those who voted against him, lasted longer than it took him to walk off the stage and smirk, you probably also believe in the Easter Bunny (a pagan symbol of fertility, from...oh, never mind).

So no more being polite: at the literal risk of at least my peaceful enjoyment of my home, and possibly, considering that you have more guns than we do, my freedom or my life, herewith some hard truths that the man who tried so hard to save the country from itself either would not or could not set forth in a way that you in the Red states could understand:

1) You know that "Eastern intellectual elite" you so scorn, the ones you think are too big for their britches, a bunch of eggheads who use big words you don't understand, and try to make you think but only manage to make your head hurt, and just don't "know", much less believe in, the One True God? There is a reason such people are known as an "intellectual" elite (the eastern part is a misnomer - we're everywhere, but mostly on the two coasts): it's because we're smarter than you. It's because we are more educated (remember education? it's supposed to be important), and are paying attention to what W does to dismantle our democracy and eliminate government protections for average Americans, while patting you on the head and telling you he will protect your right to be religious bigots. It's because we see that his "born-again" pose is one of two things: either a pretense to get votes, and in no way part of his real personal beliefs, or if he does believe what he says he does, he seems to us Blue voters the best advertisement imaginable for atheism. Not that we on the Left are all atheists, any more than your people are all snake-handlers - there are a few of each on each side. But if what W does is what a godly man does, then many of us want no part of him.

2) George W. Bush is a liar and a flip-flopper. He will say or do anything to get elected. He is not a good man, and he is not a strong leader. He is not "like you", any more than John Kerry is - they both went to Yale, Bush went on to Harvard Biz School, both come from generations of old money (Bush far more so than Kerry), and both were members of that heathen society, Skull and Bones. He will not keep you safer, in fact, his policies have created a world situation where we are much MORE likely to be attacked both at home and abroad than we have ever been. He has no idea what it means to send soldiers in harm's way, because he's never been there himself. He has managed to take us from a day when even the French said "Today, we are all Americans" to a place where our government, and now, increasingly, our people, are roundly hated even by those who were our allies as recently as four years ago. You do NOT know where he stands and what kind of man he is. And he does not want "only to keep you safe", unless there's money in it for him or his cronies. We in the Blue part of the country, we "reality-based" folks (now there's a scary dichotomy!) have hundreds, perhaps thousands of pieces of evidence of the above statements, and we do our best to get them into your hands and heads. But you "faith-based" folks have had that evidence available to you just as we have for 4 years, and you haven't absorbed any of it yet, so we despair of ever getting you to take a serious look at what we know is true.

For example, to put things on a simplistic level you can understand, I would bet that not many of you know that, a couple of weeks before the election, W said that civil unions for gays weren't a bad idea, but that the states should decide - a complete reversal of everything he'd ever said about the topic before. What happened to his support of a federal constitutional amendment? Or that he didn't ban stem cell research outright - he just banned federal funding for research that would lead to the development of new lines of stem cells (is it wrong, or isn't it? It can't be both.) Or that, due to W's faith-based ideas on birth control and sex education and the policies that stemmed from them, the number of abortions performed during his administration has actually increased by nearly 20% relative to the previous four year period. Or that he said that the war on terrorism can't be won. Or that he said there would be "no casualties" in Iraq. Or that there is NO evidence whatever that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11 or Al Qaeda.

I'll bet you don't know that, the day before the election, ONE DAY before, the government announced that record borrowing would be necessary to keep it afloat in the first quarter of '05 - $145 billion, and that number is almost certain to be higher than estimates, and is on top of the $442 billion we borrowed in the last year, which is on top of...well, even you folks can get the picture. Or that an alarming portion of that money is being loaned to us by foreign nations, including Saudi Arabia, China, and other countries that don't have America's best interests at heart. Do you really want COMMUNIST China holding the mortgage paper on the American government? You don't know that even with a Congressional majority and a conservative Supreme Court, there is almost no way that abortion is going to become illegal. You don't know that Red states have more divorces, more out-of-wedlock births and yes, more abortions than Blue ones, or that it's your children, and ours, who are going to end up without Social Security benefits when they reach retirement age, if he pushes through his "reform" of SocSec. All you know, and you don't really know that, is that W is "a good, godly man". Isn't there a lot said about hypocrites in the Bible?

You see, those are the kinds of things you learn when you read the paper, other than the comics or the sports page or the right-wing rags that only tell you what you think you already know, and when you watch news other than Fox. But it's too late for all that now. You've betrayed America, and we who voted for Kerry are deeply angry with you about it.

However, if nothing else can get through your thick heads, we ask that you look at one piece of evidence that perhaps even you can grasp: where is Pat Robertson? He's still alive, as far as I know, and he still is considered one of the leaders of your faith - but does he have the same almost at-will access to the president of the United States that he had before he said something on national TV that W didn't like? I think you'll find that, since those remarks, he has become essentially a "non-person" as far as W is concerned. And that's what happens to everyone - even you, if you are so bold - who disagrees with W or anyone he likes or is related to. Perhaps there is someone in your own church who has said something against him - is that person now pariah, even on your local congregation level? Is that the inclusive, all-enveloping spirit of love and tolerance that the Bible tells us is the teaching of Jesus?

But the sad part, indeed the saddest of all of the many outright tragedies that will result from this aberrant behavior, is that you folks - you Red-staters - will pay, on average, far more for this choice than we will. Just a few for-instances: Blues are, on average, better-educated and earn more money than Reds. Therefore, Reds will continue to pay for the tax cuts that favor the wealthy - many of whom are us! W even said, repeatedly, that raising taxes on the rich is a bad idea because we have lawyers and accountants to help us beat paying taxes - as he certainly knows from personal experience. Blues tend to be urban dwellers, and thus are more used to a certain degree of air pollution (we don't like it, but it comes with the territory), but Reds, as one can see from the electoral map, live in most of the few remaining pristine wildernesses in this country - so when Bush's environmental policies blow up in all our faces, you'll lose more than we will. Blues have higher average incomes, and thus can more often afford to purchase our own health insurance, while Reds will wait till Hell freezes over for Bush to do anything significant for you in this area. And finally, at least finally for now, Blues have, on average, fewer children, and more reasons for those children not to join the military as a career choice. Therefore, more children of Reds will fight and die in Iraq and Afghanistan, and wherever else Bush's conscienceless foreign adventures may lead us.

As I look back over what I've written, I know that the people to whom it's addressed will almost certainly never read it. Perhaps it's just one deeply angry person's attempt to let the rest of the world - the "reality-based" ones among us - know that not all Americans have gone stark, staring mad. In fact, only 50.7% of us are lunatics.

And hey, here's a thought - now that he can't run for re-election, and no longer needs you Red-staters, he may even abandon you, as he has us Blue folks. Watch for signs of it. Signs like, oh, I don't know....666?

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