Code Blue in Red States


I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the days when news of the latest rightwing, radicalized Republican absurdity gave me a bracing jolt of surprise. Like carrying a three hundred dollar a day heroin monkey on my back or a multiple grams a day coke jones the old dosages just aren’t doing it for me anymore.

Like me, in all likelihood, many encountered the news item today about Republican legislators in North Carolina introducing a bill that would allow the establishment of a state religion in North Carolina, declaring the state immune from the federal constitution, and wished they had found it shocking. Among the unnecessary deleterious inflictions upon the nation for which the around-the-bend ideologues are responsible, theft of our shockability is a clearly felonious one.

I thought I was at least being sort of funny when I noted earlier on this very same blog, in the course of critiquing red state soft-on-gun crime relaxation of already anemic gun laws that the gun worshippers and Second Amendment ignoramuses were doing everything but making ownership of a gun mandatory. Perhaps with the principal purpose of prematurely rendering my attempts at yucks out of date, Nelson, Georgia and other municipalities have subsequently passed ordinances requiring every adult citizen of the town to own a weapon. I remember the good old days when the gun nuts were only proposing mandatory gun ownership for school children.

In another era the capturing of a state or municipal government by moon-howlers would be unpleasant enough for those who lived within the reach of their powers. But now the red states are sending their mentally ill to Washington where their power is used to bring American democracy and American progress to a grinding halt, replacing governance with something easily mistaken for lost episodes of Twin Peaks.

Ninety-plus percent of Americans advocate universal background checks for the purchase of weapons, yet Senators can’t even get so much as this weak attempt to address gun proliferation onto the floor of the Senate for an up or down vote. Not surprising given that some of these elected were sent by Oklahoma, where a law was passed actually protecting the state from the spreading scourge of Sharia Law, or by North Dakota, which recently passed an anti-abortion law so imbecilic it more or less declares that life begins the moment a man buys a woman a drink.

It isn’t particularly comforting that laws like the one proposed in North Carolina aren’t going anywhere, blatantly unconstitutional as they are, not when those actually elected to govern American states do not seem to be aware these matters were settled by James Madison and company more than a couple of centuries ago. It’s another of those no longer surprising realities that this segment of the body politic acting out on a protracted psychotic break yearns to go back even farther than that, and has the Enlightenment itself in its easily purchased gun sights.

Prior to the Civil War states divided on the permissibility and morality of holding slaves, a grave and consequential division, no doubt. Now the nation is divided on the content of all reality itself. That should be shocking.

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