Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Black Tuesday

The only comforting thing about today was being at work, where almost everyone voted for Kerry. All the other booksellers were walking around in the same haze of misery that I was. We all exclaimed to each other about the bizarre experience of seeing the voting patterns on the map, where all of the blue states were on the two coasts and everything in between (just about) was red. One of my managers said, "Their [Bush supporters] kids are being killed in Iraq, and they're losing their jobs, and they vote for the guy who did it to them!" Yeah, that's been the problem all along. Bush supporters are people who vote against their own economic interests. Why? For the best answer to that question I've ever seen, check out Thomas Frank's book, What's the Matter with Kansas? . The title comes from William Allen White's 1896 editorial in the Emporia Gazette, written as a rebuke to William Jennings Bryan's Populist campaign for President. For White, the problem with Kansas was that Kansans were too eager to reject Big Business and Big Money. Frank very cleverly and convincingly turns that title question on its head, to make his point that people in places like Kansas, one of the most economically depressed states in the country, consistently vote for conservative Republicans because they have tacitly agreed to support policies that attack their own economic interests in exchange for Republican support for narrowly defined "moral issues," such as gay marriage, abortion, prayer in public schools, religious symbols in public places, and so on. What more tangible proof could there be that Frank's analysis is correct than the voter approval yesterday, in 11 states, of laws banning same-sex marriage? Those laws were approved by the same voters who put George W. Bush back into office, in spite of the fact that there were 200,000 fewer jobs at the end of his first term than at the beginning.

1 comment:

veggiedude said...

A french newspaper summed it all up today. The US population are brainwashed. And it is true. They are like sheep going blindly to the slaughter. But look on the bright side of things. It means Hillary in 2008! I have the "Blogs for Hillary '08" on my site. Feel free to lift it.