Another classic liberal friend of ours (see HL 129) shared yet another back and forth they’d had with a friend from Oklahoma “where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain.”
Our friend had been startled that 92 percent of those recently surveyed in Boise City, Oklahoma said they would not be vaccinated, with many assigning their anti-vax stance to distrust of a medicine foisted on them by coastal elites and with frequent mention of New York “our fair city.” They even stated that Trump, who himself, along with herself, had been vaccinated in January, was just another New Yorker, not to be trusted, but still voted for, as he was overwhelmingly in all 77 Oklahoma counties. But only as the least bad choice on the ballot.
That got our friend to ask the Oklahoman (a renowned author and political observer) whether this was the Oklahoma of their youth, or had things changed since the 1950s and 60s? Before getting to the filibuster “will he ever get there?”, readers will be spared the type of detailed point/counterpoint reported in HL 129 and just get the Okie’s bottom line:
“It’s gotten worse in OK for the same reason its gotten worse throughout the country – because 40+% revels in its own stupidity and bigotry and fucked up notions of personal freedom, which I attribute to social media, Rupert Murdoch et al., but the ground has to be fertile enough for the defiant lunacy to take root. Fundamentally, these people will never change. Even after a Democratic administration lifts every ship they’ll believe and spout the same crap.”
That smart and concise conclusion will be annotated.
We agree that it’s reveling in bigotry and stupidity but mostly explained by Evangelical thinker Peter Wehner’s diagnosis, discussed in HL 85. Wehner says that at some point this became less a defense of Trump than of their own support of him. HL will defend Rupert. He has some culpability, but a fair distillation of his editorial influence would also factor along with Fox News, both The Journal and The Times – not the New York Times – The Times.
As for “these people” never changing, classic liberals believe in the perfectability of not only the American Union but the species, and so reject the Okie’s take on that.
But the process toward perfection is gonna take a long time and Democratic moderates (ala Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin) classic liberals (ala Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin) and progressives (ala Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal) currently in control have two very narrow and short windows to get things done.
They may have only until January 2023 to enact things like a living minimum wage, immigration reform and HR1, the For The People Act, protecting access to the ballot and also to build stuff like tunnels, bridges, modern mass transit and water facilities. Enact them and build them before defiant Republicans take control of one or both houses of Congress as early as less than two years from now.
Democrats may have a presidential veto only until January 20, 2025 to block all the reversals and damage that Republicans would inflict if they re-take both houses in the 2022 midterms.
As recently as two weeks ago we were happy that enactment of Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid and stimulus package was imminent, and we opposed ending the Senate filibuster because of the perceived inevitability of Republican payback when they take control.
What a difference a fortnight makes. After experiencing Republican hypocrisy on the wildly popular elements in the stimulus package, the Trump inspired massacre of Asian-Americans and others in Atlanta, Yon-Ron Johnson from Wisconsin’s expression of comfort among insurrectionist cop-killers and fear of black and white protestors of black oppression and yes, those people in Boise City, Oklahoma.
We now strongly endorse ending the filibuster, enacting those reforms and building that infrastructure along with many other things that have needed to be enacted and built for a generation. Let’s begin the 2022 and 2024 campaigns very soon on the basis of those achievements and on putting our faith in that classic liberal belief that even “those people” can discover their own self-interest.
 Periodically we remind readers that with not specifically attributed quotes, such as this, we are not trying to deprive those who deserve credit, but merely rely upon our readers’ knowledge of pop culture or use of a search app or the collective unconscious.
Remember that this is the political culture that produced the Know Nothing Party and Prohibition. So, be careful what you wish for.