is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


What's wrong with Oklahoma?

(I was asked on Facebook why Oklahoma is so backward, basically. This was my answer.)

We have a comparatively less diverse population and a backwater political system premised on how many times you can say "Jesus" in a speech, apparently. I have been as checked out from state (not local, though) politics as I have been dialed into national politics. I just have no hope. The climate is toxic. It is the center of the right low-pressure alternate reality weather system. I don't have any other way to describe it to those who aren't steeped in it. 

My aunt is the chair of the local Climate Change Lobby, and was AMAZED when I told her that a majority of people in America believe in climate change. It's like that with every issue. People are mystified why a socialist business-hating tax raiser would get reelected. The bubble has not been pierced. That these labels are not true is irrelevant or next to irrelevant. There is an alternative reality culture that is fundamentally at odds with how things actually are. 

The sports teams are great, though! And I like an awful lot of people (and am related to a lot of them) here! And frankly, most of the people *I* know are as liberal as I am. We just smile and nod and say nothing at our workplaces when those political questions come up.


The Day After

Forgive me, public, it has been over one year since my last post, and the previous one to that was two years ago: a link to an argument about why conservatives were going to alienate themselves from younger voters by opposing gay marriage. Hey, is this post going to be a lot of gloating about past stances? Not entirely. (Yes.)

I'm writing this here because I have this feeling it's going to get long, and I need a better receptacle for the night after election thoughts before I collapse into bed and move on from political obsession for a while. Today I feel a bit of pride, a lot of relief, and hope. I feel more hope than four years ago, partially because I have more going for me personally at this point in my life, and partially because four years ago I had a sneaking suspicion that the whole exercise of voting for Barack Obama was a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of factors. A collapsing economy and a rare political consensus that George W. Bush had destroyed the country meant that whoever came out of the Democratic primaries was nearly certain to win. This year was different, and I wasn't really sure what would happen. But now we know. Here are the big lessons I am drawing from this year.

1. This is the last year conservatives can use gay marriage as a cheap wedge issue to drive turnout. That's what they did in Minnesota, and they were roundly drubbed by an electorate that also threw out the conservative bums and installed two houses full of DFLers. More incredibly, three other states approved marriage equality measures (Washington, Maryland, Maine). We've come a long way from 2004, when a ton of hate measures helped drive turnout to get George Bush (a horrible president) re-elected. Come to think of it, what did I say then?
Above all, I'm disappointed that attacking gay people seems to yield such tangible political results. What have they ever done to you? How is your marriage threatened by homosexual relationships? Why do you care?
I am so gratified and happy that it is now clear that America is catching up with that position. Thank you, America.

2. This is the last election that the GOP could hope to win while only winning white men and no other demographic. The demographic bomb is now. The Obama Coalition of women, minorities, young people, and educated whites has decisively won again. The GOP will change or die. Things are getting better.

3. This is the high water mark of the anti-choice movement. Roe v. Wade was in 1973. Ever since then conservatives have made it the top priority to get rid of this decision. Roe is the much better known second case of a critical line of jurisprudence in the late 20th century: the first was Griswold v. Connecticut. These two cases held that Americans had a right to privacy. Roe's central holding was it is none of the government's business what a woman and her doctor decide to do in her medical care, at least until a fetus could survive outside her body. Griswold, in 1967, held that it was none of the government's business whether people were allowed to use contraception.


Forty five years ago it was an open question whether people could USE birth control. And the Supreme Court ruled that people could. Because it is none of the government's business. So while women have been tarred as baby killers and sluts for keeping this decision alive, they're really holding all our water: if Roe is overturned, the constitutional right to privacy is over. We're now at four justices (Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts) that would likely overturn Roe. We have five who have affirmed it. If Romney had won, the Roe majority was likely done. I don't think they'll ever get this close again (unless somehow everybody holds out another four years, and that is very unlikely.). Also, see point number 2: women voted for Obama in large numbers. Reproductive freedom is a winning issue, and I doubt anyone forgets it soon.

I have been writing about these things for so long. Consider this series of posts from 2005: 1, 2, 3. I'm just so happy that issues and trends I was so unhappy about are now clearly breaking in a real and durable way. Here's one last self-quote that demonstrates what I mean.

In further thinking about the reasons for why I have such intense distaste for the GOP and my own sad devotion to a currently losing cause (that of liberalism [emphasis added]) I have attempted to articulate for myself the over-arching factors of what it is the Republicans stand for. ... I have determined three major elements of conservativism, and am confident that most, if not all, of the policy and rhetorical positions taken by the Republican party can be effectively filtered through one or more of these principles. (1) Republicans are mean. (2) Republicans want to benefit rich people with their policies. (3) Republicans are more likely to grandstand about irrelevant but hot-button issues than they are to pursue good policy.

We're not losing any more. The "benefit the rich people" tendency is now widely recognized. And people just watched a Republican party refuse to pass ANY policies for two years to try to defeat this president. America has rejected this approach, they have rejected these Republicans, and if the Republicans don't come up with a different approach they will continue to reject them. My faith in the electorate is (basically) restored. I have hope. We're going to be ok.


The divergent paths of Agnetha and Frida

Everyone loves ABBA, right? So it goes without saying that we love ABBA's costumes. And the girls. Agnetha Fältskog aka "the blonde one" and Anna-Frid Lyngstad, aka "Frida", aka "the not blonde one".

So Jeffy and I were discussing his idea of getting together some people for a group costume for Halloween, dressing as ABBA. He sends me this link to illustrate.* It's "SOS", circa 1975 (my year of birth, incidentally).

"Dude." I point out sagely. "That's not even the best *SOS* video for costumery."

Agnetha in a dirndl! Frida in a hairshirt! ... with a Peter Pan collar. Awesome.

I am now put in mind of one of my long-held observations for ABBA. When they started out, Frida was hotter. Agnetha was awkward. As they go on in time, Agnetha gets progressively more attractive, and Frida becomes a mess. Here's 1975 again, with Mamma Mia. ... which I'm only linking because the outfits are historically, nay, biblically hilarious.

Let's go forward a year to "Knowing Me, Knowing You."

This is the last time that Frida is unambiguously more attractive than Agnetha. By 1979, they are equal in power:

And one year later, with Super Trouper, Agnetha has surpassed Frida.

By their last album, Agnetha is devastating, and Frida is a mess.

Frida did have a better post-ABBA career. Benny and Bjorn have more money than God. They're all awesome.

*Jeff should really have known better.