And the Blind Shall Lead US? Why I Took Only 1 Beating and Why Kansas is the Hope of Things to Come
As a child, I only got beat up once.
And no, it’s not because I’m an excellent fighter (I’m a lover, not a fighter).
Okay, I'm neither, but I am an amiable companion and grateful dinner guest.
I’ll tell you my secret to avoiding a beating in just a second, but first, I want to praise Kansas as representing our hope for the future.
You read me right. I want to praise Kansas.
Did you think I meant that I wanted to raze Kansas?
An interesting phenomenon is playing out there, and it goes a little something like this (hit it).
It’s making national news.
For years, fiscal conservatives and religious conservatives combined forces to keep Democrats out of office.
But lately, fiscal conservatives are finding they have more in common with moderate Democrats than they do with religious conservatives.
Here’s my explanation:
Hallmarks of Religious Conservatism
Hating the GLBT community
Hating Science (see, e.g., stem cell research, banning of; earth is flat, belief that)
Hating Science Education (see, e.g. earth is 8,000 years old, belief that)
Hating Health Education
Hating birth control (even for consenting adults)
Hating the separation of church and state
Hating interracial relationships (see, e.g. Bob Jones “University”)
Hating women, uteruses, privacy, health, safety and emotional well-being
Loving unwanted pregancies
Loving suffering (particularly if it prolongs inevitable death)
Love of Abstinence (a.k.a. hatred of logic, reason)
Loving the death penalty
Loving war in the Middle East
Hatred of Music (made after 1899)
Hallmarks of Fiscal Conservatism
Reducing or Eliminating Taxes
Reducing or Eliminating Support to the Less Fortunate
Reducing Government Spending in General*
Hatred of Budget Deficits (Old School Fiscal Conservatives only)
Can tolerate some social liberalism
Can tolerate some social conservatism
Keeps the government out of people’s lives (cost containment strategy)
Hallmarks of the Moderate Democrat
Loves the middle
All things in moderation
May or may not be pro-choice
A little hawkish
A little dovish
Supports schools a bit
Supports unions a bit
Can favor a conservative (or sensible) economic policy
Not prudish or uptight on matters of sexuality
So you see, fiscal conservatives and moderate democrats can actually get along just fine.
Religious conservatives have been beating out fiscal conservatives and moderate Republicans in primary elections for years, and not just in Kansas. Once elected, these religious nuts** go on to champion absurd policies. For example, the Kansas AG tried to subpoena the medical records of all women who have had an abortion - a move that offends everyone who is not a part of the lunatic fringe. Religious conservatives are so myopic in their focus, their priorities are so flawed, that the simple business of government grinds to an agonizing halt, while we all pay attention to the latest manufactured distraction. Meanwhile, Iraq is a mess, genocide continues in the Darfur region of the Sudan, the Alternative Minimum Tax is sticking it to the middle class, and Britney Spears is riding around with her baby on top of her car.
Recently the Lieutenant Governor of Kansas announced that he would not run for a second term. The Governor, a Democrat who won as an alternative to a religious conservative who won the Republican primary, has selected the former Chair of the state Republican Party as her running mate. He switched parties.
Alliances have switched.
Instead of the fiscal conservatives and religious conservatives lining up against Democrats, moderate Democrats, moderate Republicans and fiscally conservative Republicans have joined forces to oppose religious conservatives.
Could it be a sign of things to come, say, in November?
The Secret to Why I Only Got Beat Up Once as a Child:
I only got beat up once as a child because most of my childhood, I was in the company of my twin brother. While it’s true that I would lose most fights I entered, you’d have to be one tough fourth grader to beat up me and my brother at the same time.
And so it is in politics. And although religious conservatives are tremendously capable at mobilizing their base (especially for primaries), they aren’t so big and bad that they can overcome a strong alliance. Like most fourth graders, they’re not able to take on two comparable foes.
The one time I did get beat up, it was by Shawn Mershon. I was in fourth grade, and Shawn was mad at me because I kissed his sister.
Shawn: I heard you kissed my sister.
Duf: Yeah, so…are you jealous or something?
At which point Shawn let his fist do the talking (and made a very persuasive case against smart aleck comments – a very persuasive case).
What was unique about that day is that I was alone, up in the East field, far away from my twin brother and easy therefore prey for a sixth grader like Shawn.
The people, united, can never be defeated indeed.
* Does not include defense spending
**One of my neighbors has a bumper sticker*** which reads “God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.”
***Which reminds me (and I’m not kidding, I wish I could have taken a picture) this morning, on the way to work, I was behind a BMW X5**** with the vanity license plate which read “BM 4 ME” and I’m totally, 100% serious. I’m not even kidding a little bit. I laughed so hard, I nearly had a BM in my Subaru.
****The X5 is an SUV