Shortly after the November presidential election, I was sent an e-mail on the assumption that given my zip code and presumed party affiliation I would celebrate its content and join the victory stomp.
Seeing how peeved I was instead, perhaps it was a good thing that the matter coincided with the start of my recent brief hiatus from the blog. I knew I’d return to the topic my first post back, but not with such timing: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day coincides with the presidential inauguration.
In the spirit of disclosure, I’m a registered Democrat who pulled the lever for Obama without hesitation in 2008. I voted the same in 2012, though not with nearly equal certainty as I did the first time.
This had less to do with the candidates or even their platforms than it did with my own evolving standpoint that feels more and more like a no-man’s land between the two camps.
Let me first quote in full the e-mail before I go any further. I thought the blue font would not only be in keeping with the partisan trenches from which it hails, but also give the overall color scheme the fitting semblance of a bruise…
Dear Red States:
We’re ticked off at your Neanderthal attitudes and politics and we’ve decided we’re leaving.
We in New York intend to form our own country and we’re taking the other Blue States with us.
In case you aren’t aware that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the rest of the Northeast.
We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation and especially to the people of the new country of The Enlightened States of America (E.S.A).
To sum up briefly:
You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.
We get stem cell research and the best beaches.
We get Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren. You get Bobby Jindal and Todd Akin.
We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand.
We get Intel and Apple and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.
We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss.
We get 85 percent of America’s venture capital and entrepreneurs.
You get Alabama.
We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share.
Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition’s, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.
With the Blue States in hand we will have firm control of 80% of the country’s fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95% of America’s quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90% of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the US low sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech, and MIT.
We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.
Thirty-eight percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we’re discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11, and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.
We’re taking the good weed too. You can have that crap they grow in Mexico.
Citizen of the Enlightened States of America
I love a good laugh as much as anyone, but is this supposed to be funny? Or is it rather a chance to mask in the name of progressivism an offensive yet permissible feature of mainstream American culture, that is, liberal bigotry?
Note the condescending reference to “slave states” in a series of lashings that regard Republicans—specifically Christian Republicans—as a kind of one-dimensional savage unfit for citizenship.
Ironically, if not a bit idiotically, the ESA manifesto finds a bygone kindred spirit in those very slave states that once threatened secession on similar grounds.
But thankfully, a Republican president—a Christian to boot—stopped that from happening and preserved the federation. The ESA gets Hollywood, but apparently to no effect if the recent release of Lincoln right after the election can’t put a reality check on the distribution of their manifesto.
And one can only wonder how the document’s stated New York origins could allow for such a blithe shrug at ninety percent of the hurricanes in the immediate wake of Sandy’s brutal impact on the Big Apple.
So much for high moral standards. Or basic self-awareness.
Maybe I’m the one now sounding like a prig. To be clear, none of this intends to be a PR job for the Christian Right, who certainly have much to repent for in being less a city on a hill than a bunker that would rather wage culture wars than spread the gospel of peace.
But for all the charges of bigotry levied against its red-state base, why does the same hateful spirit roam freely under the guise of liberalism?
In light of today’s double occasion, do we not all have a tremendous heritage in states like Georgia where Martin Luther King, Jr. was born, and Alabama where he marched? Does Obama’s second inaugural address not present a most fitting occasion for reflection on the indelible resonance down to this very day of Lincoln’s second such address?
The ESA can take the low road with Enlightened if they must; I’d rather stay put and try to fly the friendly skies with United instead.