Denial absolutely has to be the most powerful substance on Earth. Oh, I know it’s not a real, tactile thing I can walk up and touch, but the effects of it are just as powerful of any psychotropic substance out there. You would think after the shellacking they took in 2012 that Republicans at every level of government would take a good, hard look at the demographics alone and see they’re in for a world of hurt. But instead, it seems like the message that a lot of them took away is, “You just got your asses handed to you by all the voters you’ve spent the last thirty or forty years either working against or just outright ignoring, so you need to do more of that in order to win.”
I just don’t understand it. From a purely political standpoint — whether or not their party will survive — they have to change. Women, the LGBT community and minority groups are not going away and with the power of social media, every racist, homophobic or misogynistic gaffe is seized-upon and magnified a million times over. Yet through it all we see people like North Carolina State Republican Paul Stam telling the female superintendent of his state’s schools, June Atkinson, that “She should stick to her own knitting.” Can’t you just see Stam literally bending down and patting Atkinson on the backside and sending her on down the hallway to the steno pool?
Atkinson would be well-within her rights to unload on this Carolinian Caveman. Clearly Stam has been watching too much “Mad Men” because he doesn’t understand that not only do women get to speak their minds in this day and age, but they also get to hold positions of importance and in those roles they get to advise and counsel society. What did Atkinson do that was so offensive to Stam — that made him essentially tell her to “butt out” out of the conversation? Atkinson spoke out about private versus public school testing standards in her state, because you know; she’s in charge of the school’s states and stuff.
So not only does Stam look like a backwards, knuckle-dragging misogynist for telling a woman to “mind her knitting” as if women just need to be quiet, domesticated little creatures, but he’s also a Class-A moron for not realizing that it’s well-within Ms. Atkinson’s job description to comment on and actually set policy for the schools in his state. Her knitting then, as it were, is precisely the kind of thing she’s commenting. Someone should pull Stam aside and hand him a dictionary so he can understand what “superintendent” means.
North Carolina is a hot mess right now, and they are indicative I think of what’s going on all over the country. In 2008, the state actually went to President Obama. Yet, in the last few weeks and months the Republicans in the state legislature have drafted and passed some of the most hard-line conservative ideological laws the state has seen in some time. They tacked a massively-restrictive abortion bill as a rider to their motorcycle safety law. Their governor just signed a sweeping new voter ID law into effect that is being protested heavily by the minority groups in the state. Clearly there is a battle for the state’s allegiances going on between progress and the old way, and right now those that represent the old way are desperate and acting accordingly.
For several weeks now, residents of North Carolina who disagree with the fundamentalist right-wing takeover of their state legislature have been gathering every Monday for what they call “Moral Monday” protests. Dozens if not hundreds by now have been arrested while protesting these draconian and nonsensical laws. 2014 isn’t that far away, and North Carolina is most certainly a bellwether for the rest of the country. The governor of the state, Pat McCrory has seen his approval rating plummet since signing the anti-abortion laws into the books, breaking a campaign promise not to sign any new abortion laws if elected. The voters in North Carolina are alert and paying attention.
You know, there seems to be some kind of effort in the media and elsewhere to just accept as fact that next year’s mid-terms are a foregone conclusion — the House will stay in Republican control and the Senate if anything will move even closer to parity. Perhaps that’s true, but one thing I just don’t see happening is the GOP gaining ground in either chamber. They’re obsessed with fake scandals on the national level and obsessed with fundamentalist social engineering on the local level; both of which put them at odds with what Americans most want fixed — the Middle Class. I’m not saying that the House will turn in Blue in 2014, but I do know that North Carolina is purple, and that they are a state to look to for more and more clues to how other toss-up states will vote in 2014 — and a backlash against conservative overreach doesn’t seem too far out of the realm of possibility, does it?