Jared Lee Loughner Pictures Surface Showing Suspect With Gun, Naked, In 'Bright Red G-String'
-- Headline on HuffPo
Told ya he was Republican.
I just found via Google that "Red State Blues" is a very nice blog by a Lady Democrat in Utah. I've read some of her stuff. Very good. Just not as mean as I am, nor does she use (admittedly overuse) my fucking vocabulary when talking about Republicans and Baggers. And yes, I do know that since the horrible events that took place in Arizona a week back, we're supposed to all be kinder and gentler. I am. This is me being kinder and gentler.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Kossack Gay In Maine has written one of the finest diaries I've ever seen on Daily Kos, Speaking Rurally. It is very relevant to this diary, but better written and inclusive of ideas I've never considered.
I live in one of the very reddest of Red States. Much more red than Arizona. Let me tell you what's coming, and coming very soon. Both sides of this argument will forget all this play-nice bullshit. The firearms metaphors will probably remain off limits, but that's it. The worst of these people still think our President is a Nigerian Socialist/Terrorist, and they'll say so. The title of the "Repealing the Job Killing Health Health Care Law Act" won't be changed by one fucking letter. Even specific, commonsense legislation like limiting clips to 10 rounds of ammunition, won't make it onto the floor of the House. Why? Because these assholes would have to vote against it or they would be primaried in 2012, sure as shit. But! Voting against such obvious, commonsense, popular legislation would cost them seats in the general election. The obvious solution is to not allow it to even be considered. And there are A LOT of Democrats who would also have to vote against any firearms legislation. Why? Because in the vast, open, rural expanse of this continent, it is well known that "Democrats want to take our guns!" It's seen as just as true as "Republicans are hypocritical, gun loving perverts!"
The people who live around me have accepted that bargain. They'll accept having hypocritical perverts in Congress as long as they can keep their guns. They would find the joke at the top of this page hilarious. Some of them even find that subject matter sexually stimulating. Naked people with guns. Don't believe me? Have you seen their calendars?
Ten years ago, twenty years ago, that obvious, commonsense, popular legislation would have had a chance. More than a chance. Limited magazine capacity was indeed part of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) (or Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act) passed in 1994. That ban expired in 2004. What happened? Did someone swap out half our population with goddamn violent, perverted cretins? No. Because most of these people are not violent, they're not perverts and they're not cretins. There's a significant portion of them who aren't even solid Republicans. There's a large fraction of this rural, red state population that votes the way they do and thinks the way they do and talks the way they do... because we have given up on them. And I can prove it.
In the Spring of 2008 when we were reaping the benefits of Howard Dean's 50-State Strategy, more people in Wyoming attended the Democratic caucuses than attended the Republican caucuses! That's significant for a lot of reasons, but there's one reason in particular that's relevant to my main point in this diary, which I'm finally fucking getting to:
Democrats felt SAFE in attending those caucuses.
There were even Independents who changed party ID and attended those caucuses. I personally know three Republicans who felt safe enough to switch party ID and attend those caucuses. Now, part of that was the excitement surrounding Barack Obama, but that excitement would have never filtered into these Western Red States without Dean's 50-State Strategy creating an extremely conducive environment, and that was way before Obama even declared. Note I used the word "safe". People felt safe in attending those caucuses. Do I mean they actually felt physically safe? Surely no one in these United States would fear for their physical safety while participating in the democratic process! You listen. That's exactly what I mean by safe. Word got out that Democrats were having to move their caucuses to larger and larger facilities to accommodate all those who'd confirmed they would attend. I'm talking about, literally, safety in numbers. Those of us in rural and small-town Red State America were shocked only by the brutality and scale of the attack last week in Arizona. We were not surprised there was politically linked violence. Where we live, "nut" is the operative syllable of the word wingnut.
I remember back in 2008 when some folks on Daily Kos got all outraged about people stealing signs -- and rightly so. Anyone who'll steal an election sign might easily do more than that. The night before the 2008 caucuses, I put out 19 Obama signs around town -- two of those in my yard. By noon the next day, the only ones left were the two in my front yard. Night before the general election, same deal, only I put out two dozen signs around town. All of them were gone by noon on election day. And I was the only person planting Obama signs. I hate to admit this, but I'm going to -- I'd already removed the two Obama signs from my yard. I did that. Me. I'd figured on Obama winning and didn't want to expose my family and my pets to the danger those signs might have put them in. As it turned out, someone drove through the corner of my yard the night Obama won. That wasn't necessarily related as there's a lot of folks here who drink and they'll drive through your yard without regard to political affiliation. Folks around here know I'm a Democrat and that, for Wyoming, I'm very liberal. But the signs would have amounted to rubbing their defeat in their faces. Obama didn't take Wyoming's half-a-fucking-electoral-vote or whatever it is, or I would have taken my family and left town for a few days. Those of us in red states have to think about stuff like that. We constantly have to consider the difference between bravery and stupidity.
Since they've abandoned Dean's strategy things have only gotten worse for us in the red states, as a matter of fact, much worse. Dean actually had us heading in the right direction. I mean, even in states like Utah and Wyoming, it's not like Democrats or even progressives are massively overwhelmed numerically. The worst it gets is that we're about 33%. The real problem is when that 33% is silent, as they are now. Abandoning the 50-State Strategy was the equivalent of our military establishing a presence in a province in Afghanistan, and then immediately abandoning it. Any locals with any sense are not going to announce opposition to the Taliban.
As a matter of fact, I'm of the opinion that the entire Tea Party phenomenon would have pissed itself away by now, had we continued with Dean's aggressive dialog with Red State America. There are a lot of Tea Party folks who just aren't that committed. They see and hear the same contradictions we do. A lot of them are otherwise nice folks who wouldn't be actively involved in such nonsense if they knew a goodly number of their neighbors thought it was stupid.
"The sleep of reason brings forth monsters."
-- Francisco de Goya
"Normality is simply the extreme, unopposed."
But identifying the problem doesn't solve it. Do it? In my community, I can name just a very few progressives. The only evidence we have that we are in fact, as much as 33% of the population here is election results. So the problem isn't just that Independents and moderate Republicans aren't hearing from us. We aren't hearing from each other! We feel alone. We certainly feel more alone, more powerless, and fewer than we actually are. We can't announce or advertise get-togethers like Drinking Liberally. (Hey violently-disturbed-alcoholic wingnuts! Meet us at the bar!) We need something anonymous -- at least to begin with. We need to consider ourselves the insurgency, if for no other reason than we ARE the fucking insurgency! If we aren't then the word itself lacks meaning.
I initially came up with the idea of a personal FM transmitter in order to broadcast atheist and agnostic content. The strategy is for each insurgent to carry his or her transmitter all the time, micro-broadcasting content. Then I thought, shit, this would work just as well or even better for progressive and/or Democratic content in rural areas of red states! There are other means. Little flyers tacked to telephone poles (as if announcing a garage sale) or other small or micro-scale publications are wonderful, especially for still-impressionable wingnut larvae. You can even use those to announce your FM frequencies. You can get creative with personals in the local newspaper, too. Anything to announce a presence. If I'm right about all this, it shouldn't take much. If you have any ideas, dear Kossack, please elaborate in the comments!
One thing is certain: something, anything... is better than nothing. Extreme, irrational dogma is fragile and cannot thrive (like the Tea Party is thriving) in an environment containing any opposing viewpoints. This is THE reason North Korea enforces an informational vacuum. They cannot exist otherwise.
Jay Ackroyd (of Daily Kos, Eschaton, and the splendid Virtually Speaking) will be hosting a show today (Satruday, 1/15/2011, 5pm Eastern) entitled Virtually Speaking, Liberally: What We Believe. He'll be taking calls at 646-200-3440. We're looking for short segments of audio, literally what we believe. Content for our insurgent broadcasts.
I'm WAY behind on finishing the Free Radio Me site. Hopefully, I'll get something up there this weekend. I'm planning on accepting content there as well. First dozen people who send me content we can use (cleanly recorded spoken word, 30 to 90 seconds) will get a free FM transmitter (FMT4RAs, the best I've found so far).