In Brief: Note to Red State America: It Gets Better:
In an article so darkly hilarious that it seems like it belongs at The Onion, Eli Saslow at the Washington Post chronicles the fin de siecle thinking of the poor souls in "Red America" who are facing the crossroads between nihilistic despair and smiley Jesus love when it comes to the reelection of Barack Obama.
Beth Cox of the Hendersonville, Tennessee (motto: "Where the Racists from Nashville Sleep Peacefully White") Romney campaign headquarters headed to the office on Wednesday. Writes Saslow, "Her calendar read 'Victory Day!!' and she had planned to celebrate in the office by hosting a dance party and selling Romney souvenirs. But instead she was packing those souvenirs into boxes, which would be donated to a charity that sent clothes to South America. Instead a moving company was en route to close down the office in the next 48 hours, and her friends were calling every few minutes to see how she was doing." Let's not even talk about her campaign credit card.
Sounding like the orphan who missed dinner gruel, Cox is unsure of what is happening to America: "She had devoted her life to causes she believed were at the heart of her faith and at the core of her Republican Party. She counseled young married families at church, spoke about right to life in area schools and became a stay-at-home mom with two daughters.
"Now, in a single election night, parts of her country had legalized marijuana, approved gay marriage and resoundingly reelected a president who she worried would 'accelerate our decline.'"
To her credit, Cox doesn't have blinders to the problems the GOP has, with women and non-whites. But it cuts more deeply: "There was the America of increased secularism that legalized marijuana. And there was her America, where her two teenage daughters are not allowed to read Harry Potter or Twilight, and where one of them wrote in a school paper: 'God is the center and the main foundation of my family.'" And don't get them started on the gays.
Oh, sweet Ms. Cox with your sweet Cox-man husband and Cox-ette daughers, whatever will you and, indeed, all of Red America do if we do not become filthy Sodom and devilish Gomorrah over the next four years? What then? What if those states that passed gay marriage do not become AIDS-filled cesspools of degradation? What if they thrive, along with those that legalized marijuana use, which is a plant created, as you should believe, by God?
Yes, yes, what if uninsured men and women in Hendersonville are able to get covered under the Affordable Care Act? Will they tear the "Obamanation" bumper sticker off their pick-ups when they realize that they don't have to wait until the broken finger is gangrene to see a doctor? And what will you do, sensitive, intelligent Beth Cox, if things do get better, if the unemployment rate goes down, if freedom isn't taken away, if you and Mr. Cox get to keep your guns, if higher tax rates for the rich don't wreck your middle class life, if Muslims aren't allowed to force your daughters into veils, if a sane immigration policy doesn't fill the streets of your so very white town with dirty Mexican drug thugs? What if you're just wrong, Beth Cox and all of the Red State Americans staring into an abyss that you created with your own rhetoric, with your own hopes that the abyss would be there so you can say, as we plunge in, see? See? What if you're plain wrong?
Will you say it got better? Will you acknowledge it? Or will you merely come up with excuses and cling to your fading America, the red that is bleeding out now?