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by • January 20, 2023 • UncategorizedComments (0)177

U.S. in Low-grade, lowercase ‘civil wars’

Red State Intolerance and Hostility are Displacing Democrats

The much-contemplated, hypothetical “Civil War 2.0” between red and blue forces has yet to materialize. No state has seceded, and Americans lazily pass time on their couches, not in foxholes. Nonetheless, there appears to be a series of emerging low-grade, lowercase “civil wars” throughout America. They are being relentlessly waged by well-organized, lavishly funded right wing extremists—influenced heavily by evangelical religion–in conservative states. The result is that Democrats are starting to feel increasingly uncomfortable and deliberately driven away from beloved towns they once proudly called home.

Those packing up and leaving for bluer pastures is now a trickle, but it soon could accelerate into a trend. A sordid combination of angry Trumpian red state politics enforced by thuggish violence, gerrymandered districts that protect extremist GOP lawmakers and tainted judges captured by conservatives, has made some states unwelcoming, if not unlivable for progressive-minded people.

In Montana, there is a growing effort to persecute and stigmatize non-Christians by right wing Republicans. The New York Times had a terrifying article by Abe Streep titled, “How Montana Took a Hard Right Turn Toward Christian Nationalism”.

The article quotes Keith Regier, a state senator, who said that all laws should be based on Judeo-Christian principles. He said, “The Ten Commandments were a good foundation for any country to live by.” Streep informed Regier that other Montanans were voicing feelings of persecution because fundamentalist Christian doctrine was being imposed. The reporter asked whether there was “a middle ground to be found?” Regier replied, “There probably isn’t a middle, you can’t have both.”

“Karla Johnson, a chapter president of the Montana Federation of Republican Women was even more strident. She said, “If you want to live here be a Christian.”

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune just wrote an alarming article, “LGBTQ+ Families Mull Leaving Florida in Wake of New Culture Laws”. With the Sunshine State rapidly descending into darkness under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida is beginning to look more like Alabama than an international destination.

“It’s getting harder and harder to stay,” Jordan Letschert, a gay father, said in the article. “The discrimination and the hate have gotten so in-your-face. There have been events we’ve gone to with our son, and we have looked at each other and asked, ‘Should we be here?’”

His husband, Robby Price, added, “That Parental Rights bill [aka Don’t Say Gay] was the most disheartening because we’re parents, too. Every night we hope that things will change here, but at this point, it literally feels like we are fleeing persecution.”

Letschert, Price and their son are relocating to Denver.

DeSantis recently staged a hostile takeover of progressive New College of Florida, which is located in Sarasota. He appointed virulent anti-LGBTQ activists to the board and pledged to turn the public university into a carbon copy of Hillsdale, a right-wing Christian college in Michigan.

NBC reports that this week DeSantis asked state universities for the numbers and ages of their students who sought or received gender dysphoria treatment, including sex reassignment surgery and hormone prescriptions. I’m going out on a limb, but I doubt that DeSantis is seeking the information to improve these treatments and make life easier for transgender students.

“We can see cuts in funding for universities to treat students with this condition, and I think an all-out elimination of services is certainly on the table,” House Democratic leader Fentrice Driskell said.

Today, CNN reports that DeSantis is blocking a new Advanced Placement course for high school students on African American studies. The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation said the course is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.” In reality, it means that the course is teaching unpleasant facts that contradict conservative fiction and attempts at historical revisionism. But in an increasingly dictatorial environment in Florida, not even centers of higher learning are immune from ideological purges and state propaganda.

The increase in hostile right wing rhetoric is making some places too dangerous for Democrats. In Albuquerque, Solomon Peña, a former Republican candidate who lost his bid for a State House seat in November, has been arrested in connection with a series of recent shootings at the homes of four Democratic elected officials. His violent shooting spree was motivated by Trump’s Big Lie.

Political violence to enforce conservative values is becoming more commonplace. Innocent Drag Shows have been invaded by right wing hooligans with the intent of using physical intimidation to shut down these events. The goal of these thugs is to scare people into abandoning their right to free speech and assembly.

Other states are simply becoming too stupid for thinking people to reside in. Wisconsin’s undemocratic, gerrymandered legislature just reversed a rule to prohibit “ex-gay” conversion therapy from being practiced on minors. The GOP’s absurd argument was that the agency responsible for medicine was the inappropriate venue for setting medical and mental health standards.

Democratic State Sen. Kelda Roys responded to this inanity by saying, “The Legislature is not competent to decide what is professional conduct in a regulated industry.”

Another “Idiot-berg” is Wyoming, where a batch of Republican lawmakers introduced a bill to phase out the sale of new electric vehicles by 2035. Their intent was to protect the pollution-spewing oil and gas industries. However, these “fossil fools” looked ridiculous when they defended their move by claiming that electric cars hog precious resources.

Abortion access will play a leading role in the displacement of liberals. The undemocratic, religious demagogues that want a total ban on abortion will not stop their crusade. They are not even deterred after voters reject their agenda by large majorities.

In Kansas, for example, abortion was protected by the Supreme Court and in August voters overwhelmingly struck down a ballot measure that would have specified the state Constitution doesn’t protect abortion. Despite the clear will of the people, Kansas state Sen. Chase Blasi introduced a bill this week that would allow any city or county in Kansas to “regulat[e] abortion within its boundaries.”

The result of such right wing arrogance has led to a surge in demand for abortion pills. The fight over abortion medication crossing state lines, and shielding the doctors who provide them, will lead to a wider culture war and deepening rift between red and blue states.

Conservatives are essentially staging one mini-coup after another—and driving out dissenters—in states that they dominate politically. The only way to counter this alarming trend is organizing liberal organizations and mainstream Americans to support each other. Large coalitions must be built and nurtured that will take action to beat back the totalitarians.
That means African American and Jewish groups showing up to protect drag shows. It means LGBTQ organizations and women’s organizations going to the mat against right wing attempts to ban African American history programs. It means anyone with a brain showing up to stop conservatives from purging books from libraries. If we don’t organize and show up in significant numbers to protect civilization, many people will be forced to relocate.

Without a united front, conservatives will accomplish more with a thousand lowercase civil wars in libraries, gerrymandered legislatures, universities and drag shows, than they could with one, big violent Civil War. America’s values are under attack from within, and if we don’t fight, people will soon be forced to flee.

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