Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Hate and Ignorance Triumph in Houston and Kentucky

The election results in Houston and Kentucky yesterday demonstrate once again that religious based hate and the embrace of ignorance are stronger motivations to vote than equality and concern for one's neighbors.  The same holds true in Loudoun County, Virginia where Bob Marshall, arguably the most hateful and insane member of the Virginia General Assembly won reelection.  Leading the way in these unfortunate outcomes were so-called "conservative" voters who in fact are religious extremists who hold ISIS like contempt for others who do not embrace their Bronze Age beliefs.   First, the New York Times looks at the results in the defeat of Houston's non-discrimination ordinance which ought to send a message to big businesses that Texas is not a place in which to base any major operations.  Here are excerpts:

A yearlong battle over gay and transgender rights that turned into a costly, ugly war of words between this city’s lesbian mayor and social conservatives ended Tuesday as voters repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance that had attracted attention from the White House, sports figures and Hollywood celebrities.

Opponents said the measure would allow men claiming to be women to enter women’s bathrooms and inflict harm, and that simple message — “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms” — was plastered on signs and emphasized in television and radio ads, turning the debate from one about equal rights to one about protecting women and girls from sexual predators.

“It was about protecting our grandmoms, and our mothers and our wives and our sisters and our daughters and our granddaughters,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, told cheering opponents who gathered at an election night party at a Houston hotel. “I’m glad Houston led tonight to end this constant political-correctness attack on what we know in our heart and our gut as Americans is not right.”

Opponents of the measure — including Mr. Patrick, pastors of conservative megachurches and the former Houston Astros baseball star Lance Berkman — said the ordinance had nothing to do with discrimination and was about the mayor’s gay agenda being forced on the city. They denied that they had any bias against gay people, and said the ordinance was so vague that it would make anyone who tried to keep any man from entering a women’s bathroom the subject of a city investigation and fine.

Ms. Parker and her supporters said Houston would lose tourism and convention business if the city had to repeal the ordinance and became known for intolerance, just as a backlash in Indiana over a religious-objections law led to convention cancellations and boycotts before that law was changed. Supporters worried that a repeal of the Houston ordinance could also jeopardize its selection as host city for the Super Bowl in 2017.
I hope the NFL decides to boycott Houston - perhaps a petition addressed to the NFL needs be started.  I for one will not be visiting Houston or Texas anytime soon.  

In Kentucky, similar batshitery and misogyny prevailed as Republican Matt Bevin, who backed Kim Davis to rally haters evangelicals, was elected Governor of Kentucky thereby putting health care coverage for several hundred thousand state residents at risk.  Here are excerpts from the New York Times on this disturbing election outcome:
Matt Bevin, a Republican political novice, wealthy Louisville businessman and Tea Party favorite, was elected Kentucky’s next governor on Tuesday and swept fellow Republicans into statewide office with him. The stunning victory heralds a new era in a state where Democrats have held the governor’s mansion for all but four of the last 44 years.

Mr. Obama’s health care law was an especially contentious issue in the race, and some see the Bevin victory as a rebuke to Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, who expanded Medicaid under the measure. An estimated 420,000 Kentuckians, nearly 10 percent of the state’s population, now have coverage as a result. Mr. Bevin, a fierce opponent of the health care law, at first said he would reverse it, but has since softened his position and said he would stop enrolling new people but would not take coverage from those who had it.

He [Bevin] held strong appeal to both fiscal and Christian conservatives; when Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was jailed, Mr. Bevin made a show of visiting her. 

Mr. Conway hews mostly to traditional Democratic positions. He favors increasing the minimum wage (Mr. Bevin is opposed); is a strong backer of unions (Mr. Bevin favored “right-to-work” laws that would limit union organizing); and made early childhood education a centerpiece of his election campaign. (Mr. Bevin emphasized school vouchers.) 
I try to be optimistic about the future of America, but in these off year elections - i.e., non-presidential elections - the hatred and greed of the Christofascists and those seeking a new Gilded Age outweigh those who oppose their agenda.  The irony is that many of those who stayed home and failed to vote will be the ones most targeted by the foul policies of today's GOP.

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