Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Election Consequences from the Ground: Monica Potts on How Arkansas Has Pulled a Full Huckabee — From Politics of Compassion to Control by Wealthy Elites

Ex-pat Arkansan Monica Potts writes about how working-class Arkansans cut off their economic noses to spite their culture-war faces in the 2014 election:

[T]he state has now pulled what I like to call a Full Huckabee. Once, Arkansans believed compassion and good citizenship had roles in government. Now, their state politics, like Huckabee’s career, have been taken over by concerns over money, power, and special interests. And as usual, it’s at the expense of its neediest citizens.

Potts writes of the difficulty of explaining to Arkansans that WE are the freeloaders — as net importers of federal dollars.

To which I'd add: God, yes—it's well-nigh impossible to get many people in poor parts of the country (especially in many of the impoverished states of the Old Confederacy that now form the backbone of the GOP), who rely heavily on federal dollars in all sorts of ways, to recognize that the freeloaders aren't SOMEBODY ELSE, somebody with a face many of us want to imagine as brown or black. 

The ignorance (and malice) are unfathomable. And it has been massaged and exploited very adroitly by the religious and political right and the political party that dances to the tune of those groups.

And then there's this to add: as Alice Ollstein reports for Think Progress, in Fayetteville, the city that houses the main campus of the University of Arkansas, the Christian right has obtained signatures sufficient to stage a vote in early December on the rights of LGBT citizens of the community. In August, the Fayetteville city council voted to approve an ordinance protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination in areas like hiring and firing, housing, etc.

Now the Christian right wants the ordinance overturned. And wants to assert its "right" to vote on whether a targeted minority group should or should not have rights.

The results of the recent elections, in which the religious right demonstrated its continuing power to influence national and state-level politics, do not bode well for the upcoming referendum in Fayetteville.

The photo of Monica Potts is from the American Prospect website.

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