}

Friday, November 02, 2018

Not a whole other country


The story linked to above is an interesting one for a number of reasons. It’s also sad and pretty pathetic, in a “totally not surprised, but still…” kind of way. The story, though, isn’t just about the crap politics of one small town in Texas, it’s really about much of small town America and what could spread throughout the country.

The story paints a picture of a town run by a political cabal who appear to be interested only in their own power, and who will stop at nothing to protect it. In that sense, this story really isn’t about their undeniable homophobic bigotry, but about their ruthlessness in pursuing their political self-interest.

Even so, rank homophobic bigotry is absolutely at the core of the story. The politicians easily exploited that bigotry to get what they wanted, just as Lee Atwater famously exploited racism for Reagan and Bush the First. But it seems highly improbable that those smalltime Texas politicians will ever be bothered by their actions or repent for them as Atwater did as he was dying.

What that young city councillor did was nobody’s damn business. It was legal and between consenting adults, end of story. Can the Good Christians™ of that Texas town REALLY be sure that their elected representatives are pure and wholesome? What about their pastors? Their neighbours, friends, coworkers, their family members. They don’t know, and the harsh truth is that they don’t want to know. They have no interest in hating those people, only the young gay man.

In a sane and rational town, they would have swallowed hard and got on with it. They would have celebrated having a young person involved in a field dominated in most places by old(er) folks. But, no, their hatred and bigotry blinded them to the opportunity they’d been handed, and arming themselves with religious zeal and rank hypocrisy, they lunged for their victim.

I can guess what the result of their cynical campaign will be, as, in fact, everyone else probably can, too. Bigoted small town Texas is highly unlikely to act against its nature. But the thing is, they’re really not so different from any small town in the USA where a small clique runs everything, and religion is used as a shield to hide away what they don’t want voters to see, and as a weapon to smite their political enemies. Worse, those people exist in big big towns and cities, too, just waiting for allies to help them take control.

It’s that last part that we must note. Fascism is on the march throughout the world, including the USA, and it’s not hard to map out scenarios in which all of the USA could become like that small town in Texas and its cousins throughout the country. The base is already there, and all it needs are willing enablers and enforcers, something it has in abundance is the current regime and Republican-controlled Congress. Whether they advance or are pushed back will depend on what happens next week.

No matter what happens, stories of elected officials exploiting bigotry in pursuit of political greed, corruption, and ruthlessness will not go away. The question is, will they become dominant?

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