Saturday, November 04, 2006

Red State Babylon

From Red State Babylon, by James Wolcott:

If the blue states are sinkholes of moral decay, as right-wing pundits insist, how come red states lead the nation in violent crime, divorce, illegitimacy, and incarceration, among other evils? To a bus-riding innocent on Manhattan's stroller-filled Upper West Side, it looks like a case of hypocrisy meets stupidity. ...

In contemporary lore, the good people of the red states walk in Jesus's sandals while the rest of us are following Satan into the licking flames. Twenty-plus years of conservative propaganda have convinced millions of Republicans and their pet Beltway pundits that they inherited the legacy of frontier values and dwell in baptismal light, unlike modern Democrats, who crawled out from under rocks and prefer the ambiguous dark, where there's no right or wrong, only "personal choices." Newt Gingrich once spouted that Susan Smith's murder of her two children in 1994 was a sign of the evil that liberal Democrats had wrought: "I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things.... The only way you get change is to vote Republican." ...

It isn't the cultural bastions of the blue states such as the Upper West Side that are greasing America's slide into the disco inferno. It's the Republican red states that are lowering the country's moral standards and dragging us through muck and malaise, the red states that are pustulating with horny hypocrites, rampant crime, polygamy, crystal-meth labs, federal handouts (The Economist recently christened Alaska "America's welfare state"), illegitimate births, blimping waistlines, and future generations of dumb bunnies. JonBenet Ramsey, dolled up and immortalized in her beauty-pageant footage, is the pre-pubescent red-hot-mama mascot of red-state Babylon. ...

Under Karl Rove's sorcerer's spell, Republicans learned how to exploit the intelligence gap, herding the dopey faithful to the polls, and depending on their docility between elections. "Karl Rove was there to recognize that there were substantial powers to be obtained by catering to stupid stubborn people, and George W. Bush would be the man to harvest such resources," Norman Mailer brilliantly proposes in The Big Empty (a series of dialogues between Mailer and son John Buffalo). "George W. understood stupid people well. They were not dumb, their minds were not physically crippled in any way. They had chosen to be stupid because that offered its own kind of power. To win a great many small contests of will, they needed only to ignore all evidence. Bright people would break down trying to argue with them." It's like trying to reason with a box of rocks.


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