The stupid things southern politicians say and do
This column is usually not directly related to Georgia, per se. The most tenuous connection I have to your state, besides the fact that I lived there for almost 18 years, is the fact that I’m wearing an Atlanta Braves cap in that doofy picture down at the bottom right.
For the record, I didn’t put it there. Amy just emailed me one day, and told me readers needed something to print out and glue over their dart boards (at least until Obamacare sends gay SWAT teams in to confiscate your darts and give your dogs Socialism AIDS, or something). I understand, I really do, and it’s an honor to share wall space with Ke$ha, Sarah Palin and Maury Povich in rec rooms all across America.
Unfortunately, when I do turn my attention southward, it’s because something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. It’s the same reason men don’t go to the free clinic until their herpes sore develops a Brooklyn accent. And it’s not like everyone in Georgia is a frothing lunatic; I knew and worked with some very well-educated, well-informed, original thought-having people during my time there.
Sucks for you, however, that most of the people who speak for you in the socio-political arena have all the common decency of an abscessed anal gland, though with admittedly much better haircuts.
I’m not saying it’s all peaches and cream here — see what I did there? After all, we still have Scott Walker in the governor’s office, and people follow him from bar to bar just to keep kicking him out. But we did just elect Tammy Baldwin to the United States Senate, making her the first openly gay member of that governing body. So we have that going for us. Which is nice.
Speaking of nice, I’m not going to limit this to just Georgia. Southeastern politicians cut a swath of idiocy through the white noise last week, and this is your painful reminder. 1. Representative Paul Broun: “The Constitution I uphold and defend is the one I carry in my pocket all the time, the U.S. Constitution. I don’t know what Constitution that other members of Congress uphold, but it’s not this one. I think the only Constitution that Barack Obama upholds is the Soviet constitution, not this one. He has no concept of this one, though he claimed to be a constitutional lawyer.”
Overlooking for the moment that “Soviet” isn’t a word that means anything anymore, it’s still unclear to me, and to most other people who haven’t been lobotomized, what people like Paul Broun are getting at — in a real-world sense — when they suggest that Barack Obama is somehow un-American. If George W. Bush had bailed out GM (maker of giant domestic trucks) and Wall Street, given the order to take out Osama bin Laden, and scaled back ground conflicts in the Middle East, Rush Limbaugh’s entire radio show would be him beating his thimble-like erection on the microphone. Sean Hannity would nickname his chins “Happy Fat.” We’d be reminded that Lee Greenwood exists.
When people like Broun get their panties in a bunch about Obama and the bogeyman of his “socialist agenda,” what they really mean is the fact that all the nice stuff Obama wants to do for Americans would royally f*ck up the status quo. The ultra-wealthy paying a little more in taxes, gay couples being given the right to marry and divorce like every other loving, dysfunctional couple, every American having access to affordable, efficient healthcare — all of that and more narrows gender, sexual, social and economic gaps upon which conservatives make their bones.
And I wrote about this a couple of months back, when the pre-election “Obama is Stalin/Satan/bin Laden” talk was in full swing, but the fact that he’s so easy to frame as a non-white “other” makes it much easier for idiots to get other idiots all worked up about him. Besides, Paul Broun doesn’t give a s**t about you, whether you’re one of his constituents or not. He’s saying this kind of nonsense because he knows that there are enough people out there — however dwindling — who are dumb enough to agree with him. It’s the retention of power for the sake of power. Nothing more. 2. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant: “There is no one who doesn’t have healthcare in America. No one. Now, they may end up going to the emergency room. There are better ways to deal with people that need healthcare than this massive new program.”
You might remember this statement as one of the 800 things that Mitt Romney said just before suffering one of the most crushing electoral defeats in this nation’s history, right up there with “I like being able to fire people,” and alongside the underappreciated gem of asking the singer from the band Alabama to perform “Sweet Home Alabama.” Side note: Mitt Romney is so socially clueless that he can’t even pander to his own bovine-minded constituency. If Romney or Bryant ever met Bill Pullman, they’d tell him how great he was in “Weird Science.”
By explaining this one again, I risk implying that you still don’t get it. And if that’s true, this whole thing is for naught anyway, since you’re probably trying to eat this paper instead of reading it. In a technical, s**theaded sense, Bryant is right: all Americans are able to access healthcare through emergency services. Problem is, many Americans can’t afford health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, poverty, or a combination of the two. I don’t make much money, but I do have health insurance, partly because I’ve been lucky enough to remain healthy for most of my life. But I’ve been to the emergency room a couple of times: once for a split lip and broken teeth, and once for a combination of strep throat and flu symptoms. I saw the bill before it was adjusted for insurance; it was not encouraging, and that was for relatively minor issues. I don’t even want to think about the uninsured costs of emergency surgery or a battery of just-to-be-safe tests.
If an uninsured American was hit by a car tomorrow, and saved only because of majorly invasive surgery, his financial life would be in ruins. For many, that envelopes the social, familial, and existential aspects of life as well.
The type of “healthcare” Governor Bryant is talking about would destroy more lives than it would save without the benefit of Obama’s healthcare reform. Anyone saying otherwise is only a sack of meat, bone and nerves, devoid of the compassion and empathy that defines us as humans. 3. Virginia State Senate (via the AP): Virginia’s Republican-ruled legislature has taken the first steps toward ending the state’s winner-takes-all system of apportioning its 13 presidential electoral votes. A Senate subcommittee recommended Sen. Bill Carrico’s bill on Wednesday on a 3-3 party line vote.
Receipt by a slate of electors of the highest number of votes in a majority of congressional districts constitutes the election of the two at-large electors of that slate.
I’m running out of space and patience, so here’s the beef: Virginia lawmakers are trying to rig the state’s electoral college against Democrats. The proposed bill doles out votes piecemeal, not the current winner-take-all format. Under these rules, Mitt Romney would have won nine of Virginia’s 13 votes; Obama, four, even though he won the state’s popular vote by over 150,000 ballots. Look it up on Slate if you’re a statistics fiend.
Look — we all know the electoral college is a funky system, and it probably needs reforming. But this is a step in the opposite direction. It’s more obtuse, and reeks of partisan deck-stacking. And you can bet your ass it’s no coincidence that Virginia is taking this up right after Obama’s reelection. November marked a nationwide tide-turning against ultra-conservatism, and those who have the most to lose are starting to panic. You Might Also Like: