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​Blue and Red States

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | August 5th, 2015

What’s Worse Than Being A Young Black Transgender Without Green In Red Religious Georgia?

In 2004 a young mulatto senator from Illinois by the name of Barack Obama gave an electrifying speech to the Democratic National Convention about the United States: “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is a United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America, a Latino America, and Asia America. There is a United States of America.”

In 2007 he was running for the presidency when Obama addressed the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Dinner: “I don’t want to pit Red America against Blue America. I want to be president of the United States of America.” In 2008 Candidate Obama told “Rolling Stone” he would put an end to the type of politics that “breeds division and conflict and cynicism,” and that he would help Americans “rediscover our bonds to each other and to get out of this constant petty bickering that’s come to characterize our politics.”

In his acceptance of the Democratic Party nomination in 2008, he rejected the political scare tactics of the Republicans: “If you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.”

After his victory in the Iowa Caucus, Obama again used this famous line: “We are not a collection of Red States and Blue States. We are the United States of America.” On the night of his election Obama promised: “I will listen to you, especially when we disagree…Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for too long.”

But on the day following, the Republicans vowed their number one goal for the next four years was making Obama a one-term president. They failed miserably, but since then have emphatically turned America into Red and Blue America instead of the United States of America, fighting the “sub-human mongrel black African witch doctor born in Kenya” at every Republican legislative desk.

The Political Realities Of Red And Blue States

The Southern Red States in a 2,500-mile stretch are the poorest states in the country and are dominated by Republican policies. These states, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina, have the highest poverty rates for children, ranging between 17.9 and 22.8%. One in four live in poverty compared to the national average of one in five. Five of these states have no minimum wage at all: Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and South Carolina. Whites account for 15 to 20% of the poor in these states.

The ten states that have the lowest average household income are all Southern and Republican (lowest to highest of the 10): Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, New Mexico, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

The American Dream is basically absent in Southern Republican states because support of education and health services is the lowest in the nation. The average per capita expenditures for these services in the country is $5,385. At the very bottom are Nevada ($3,150), Florida ($3,482), Missouri ($3,858), Texas ($3,796), Georgia ($4,176), Idaho ($4,212), Alabama ($4,398), Tennessee ($4,743), and South Carolina ($4,797). These states also have the lowest high school graduation rates.

From this point on in the column I’m going to use the case of Christopher Bradford, a black man with a round face, pronounced cheekbones, and very short black hair to point out the differences between Red and Blue states in the United States.

Internally however, Christopher is really Alena, a transgender who knew at age six he/she was different. She was already attracted to men. She says, “I am Alena. I may not be externally, but I am Alena. Unfortunately, I live as Christopher.”

Alena lives in Albany, Georgia, in the extremes of the Bible Belt. She had lived as a transgender in Atlanta after being thrown out of her mother’s house at 18, after she discovered Alena was transgender and was taking hormones to start the transition to female.

But Alena lost her job during the national recession and had to move back to Albany with her mother, where there is a fundamentalist Southern Baptist Church on nearly every corner. People are supposed to live by the Bible in Albany. Her mother insists she live as Christopher, her male son. Alena dresses as a man at home and whenever she goes out in public, but she does keep dresses and other female clothing at a friend’s house. She cannot go out of the house as a transgender woman because she might be beaten to death by religious nuts in Albany.

Her only attempt to go out on the street as a woman ended badly. Alena said: “I got cat-called. Faggot! You’re a faggot! If I had my gun I would shoot you.” So much for being trans in Georgia.

Alena has not had the full hormone treatments because she can’t afford them, so she still has some of the physical characteristics of a man. She is not covered by Medicaid because Red State Georgia refuses to join the Medicaid program in ObamaCare, thus 600,000 poor Georgians have no health insurance.

Alena says; “My shoulders are too broad, my breasts aren’t big enough for the size I am. The way I am now, I look like a football player walking down the road in a dress, and that’s not a great idea in Albany.” And not a good idea in any state in the Bible Belt. Why did God allow any member of the LGBT community to be born?

Miscarriages dumped a lot of sinners down the toilet. Does Satan have such strong control over the wide varieties of sexual beings?

Why Don’t The Republicans Do Something For Their Constituents?

Since Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” and Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights and voting programs turned the former Democratic South to the Republicans, why haven’t the Republicans done anything to lift the South out of the economic doldrums?

Because they don’t want to increase taxes of any kind. A boost in the gas tax, which has not been increased for decades, would provide funds to hire people to build infrastructure. Cynically, the Republicans know that Southern Baptists will vote for any verse in the Bible which supposedly approves guns, rejects homosexuality and any aspect of the LGBT community, and damns abortion, not necessarily in that order.

Why don’t the Republicans do something about the states they rule? Why, it costs money. Requires tax increases. How can a person get rich paying taxes? Red States in the South have the highest obesity rates, the most cigarette smokers, the highest teen birth rates, and even the most unhappy people, according to psychologists.

To really screw things up, the poorest Red States are the most religious. I guess when you can’t get any help on earth, one looks to religion and Heaven. Good luck. The ten most religious states, in descending order, are: Mississippi (which is usually last in everything that’s good for humans!) Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky. Gee, they’re all Red States!

The poorest and most religious states also have the most gun violence---and the highest rate of gun ownership! Surprised? The states with the most gun violence are, in descending order: Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, New Mexico, Missouri, Arkansas and Georgia. Is it any wonder that Alena Bradford is afraid to go out in public in Georgia as a transgender?

Almost all Red States have refused to participate in state-run Medicaid as proposed in ObamaCare, even if the federal government pays 100% of the costs for the first few years. Millions of poor people in Red States are not insured at all. The counties with the most uninsured are in Republican states: Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.

If Alena were a citizen of a Blue State she would most likely receive psychological assistance, hormone treatments, and transitional surgery through Medicaid. In most Red States Alena would be afraid to go out of the house—although a child of God.

The Inexorable Tug Of War Between Red And Blue States

The political battles between the Reds and the Blues have become so strong that we are more likely to marry outside of our religious faith than our political platforms. Among all married people 36% have married outside of their religious faith, but only 18% have a different political affiliation! This poll requires further analysis! This comes very close to the 15% who have interracial marriages. Evidently politics is more important than having different beliefs about where we go when we die.

Americans are more divided ideologically, with Red Republicans and Blue Democrats distrustful and dismissive of each other. Crossing the borders of Blue and Red almost takes you into a foreign country instead of a different-colored state. In a Red State a woman would have great difficulty getting an abortion, would attend church services with people who are probably armed with a concealed firearm, and would not be able to find a gay bar. In a Blue State workers could find a minimum wage $7.75 above the federal, lovers would be married regardless of sex, and marijuana would often be available at stores on the corner. In Red States the poor would go to emergency rooms to get health care. In Blue States the poor would see their primary doctor for health problems because they would be insured under Medicaid approved by the governor and legislature of the state.

Where are the hardest places to live in the United States? In a survey of six major data points---education, median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy, and obesity---the ten lowest counties are all in Red States. Six of the counties are in Eastern Kentucky, the others are in Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and Arkansas. In four of the Kentucky counties more than 10% of the residents are on disability payments, more than any other county in the U.S. except for McDowell County in West Virginia in coal country.

By the way, six of the top ten counties in the U.S. are in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. where all the national politicians and their lobbyists live. The top county is Los Alamos County in New Mexico where our nuclear programs and weapons are developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Over 63% of the residents of Los Alamos County have at least BA degrees. The lowest county, Clay County in Kentucky, has only 7.4% with BA degrees. I guess that means that education really pays off. The median income in Los Alamos County is $106,426, while in Clay County it is about $20,000.

In another Red-Blue comparison, would you want to live in Blue Minnesota or Red Alabama? Minnesota accepted the Medicaid expansion while Alabama didn’t. A Minnesota family can get extra help with health insurance with an income as high as $40,000. A family in Alabama with an income of $3,500 is out of luck because Alabama did not accept the Medicaid proposal.

Where Would 700,000 Transgenders Want To Live In The Divided United States?

We are slowly discovering that the sex of an individual human being is somewhere in a very wide spectrum of sexuality instead of the narrow definitions of male and female. Many humans fall in between. The Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport has just determined that many “female” track stars have rather high levels of testosterone naturally. These track stars may have breasts and vaginas but also have internal testes that produce high levels of testosterone. Some female athletes have had their internal testes removed.

We still haven’t figured just where transgenders fit in who seem to have the opposite brain of the body they display. Until we get things figured out, Alena Bradford of Georgia would be much better off in an accepting Blue State like Minnesota instead of a religious, transgender-hating Red State like North Dakota.

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