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Can Democracy Coexist With QAnon?



Yesterday, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst released a national poll showing that 68% of Republicans would like to see Congress impeach Biden if the Republicans regain a majority in the House and 53% think that a Republican-controlled House actually will impeach him. Between Fox, Hate Talk Radio and social media, all environments where QAnon thrives, the country is basically ungovernable-- at least as a democracy.


Is there a solution? Not that I can think of... although there are 16 states-- all basically red states-- where less than 60% of the residents are fully vaccinated so if the next wave is really, really deadly...

  • Ohio- 59%

  • West Virginia- 58%

  • Kentucky- 57%

  • Oklahoma- 57%

  • South Carolina- 57%

  • Montana- 57%

  • Missouri- 56%

  • North Dakota- 56%

  • Indiana- 55%

  • Georgia- 55%

  • Tennessee- 55%

  • Idaho- 55%

  • Arkansas- 55%

  • Louisiana- 54%

  • Mississippi- 52%

  • Alabama- 51%

  • Wyoming- 51%

I you wondering if I kind of hope that millions of our countrymen die, I'm reluctant to admit but, well I hope for other things more but, yeah-- but maybe 20 million unvaccinated Republicans, no more. And that works even better in a granular level. Checking by county, let's look at a red state not on here, Texas, and at a blue state, California.


Texas is 62% fully vaccinated. These are the half dozen counties that supported Trump most, followed by the half dozen counties that supported Trump least-- along with their rates of vaccination.


Texas

  • Roberts Co.- 96.2% Trump (34% fully vaccinated)

  • Borden Co.- 95.4% Trump (35% fully vaccinated)

  • King Co.- 95.0% Trump (24% fully vaccinated)

  • Glasscock Co.- 93.6% Trump (45% fully vaccinated)

  • Armstrong Co.- 93.1% Trump (41% fully vaccinated)

  • Motley Co.- 92.6% Trump (30% fully vaccinated)

  • Travis Co.- 26.4% Trump (% fully vaccinated)

  • El Paso Co.- 31.6% Trump (% fully vaccinated)

  • Presidio Co.- 32.5% Trump (% fully vaccinated)

  • Dallas Co.- 33.3% Trump (% fully vaccinated)

  • Zavala Co.- 34.0% Trump (% fully vaccinated)

  • Webb Co.- 37.8% Trump (% fully vaccinated)

  • Dimmit Co.- 37.7% Trump (% fully vaccinated)


California


  • Lassen Co.- 74.5% Trump (38% fully vaccinated)

  • Modoc Co.- 71.2% Trump (n.a.% fully vaccinated)

  • Tehama Co.- 66.6% Trump (43% fully vaccinated)

  • Shasta Co.- 65.4% Trump (50% fully vaccinated)

  • Glenn Co.- 62.5% Trump (56% fully vaccinated)

  • Amador Co.- 60.7% Trump (53% fully vaccinated)


  • San Francisco Co.- 12.7% Trump (84% fully vaccinated)

  • Marin Co.- 15.8% Trump (89% fully vaccinated)

  • Santa Cruz Co.- 18.5% Trump (79% fully vaccinated)

  • Alameda Co.- 17.6% Trump (82% fully vaccinated)

  • San Mateo Co.- 20.2% Trump (84% fully vaccinated)

  • Sonoma Co.- 23.0% Trump (78% fully vaccinated)


Oh, Jesus, was that ever a tangent! I have been intending to say a few words about a different Republican disease-- their anti-Choice mania. Axios reported earlier today that red states aren't waiting for the Supreme Court to officially strike down Roe v Wade. "Conservative legislatures are passing a raft of controversial new laws, many of which push the envelope further than the courts have ever allowed. But with the court poised to significantly weaken Roe v Wade, if not overturn it altogether, red states appear confident that these new measures will stand. As of May 5, 86 bills to restrict or outright ban the procedure have been introduced in 31 states this year alone."


Leaving aside hopelessly red states like Wyoming, Oklahoma and Louisiana (where the conservative Democratic governor signed the 15 week ban), states with large numbers of normal people, like Arizona (15-week ban; no exceptions for rape or incest), Texas (6-week ban; no exceptions for rape or incest) and Florida (15-week ban; no exceptions for rape or incest)


Margaret Atwood is an 82 year old Canadian poet and author, whose most famous book, The Handmaid's Tale, a dystopian novel, set in the racist, patriarchal Republic Gilead, written in 1985. It has been made into a film, an opera and a hugely successful tv series that won 8 Emmys (2017, the year that Amazon announced it was the #1 most-read book in the U.S.). Today The Atlantic published an essay by Atwood, I Invented Gilead. The Supreme Court Is Making It Real.


"In the early years of the 1980s," she wrote, "I was fooling around with a novel that explored a future in which the United States had become disunited. Part of it had turned into a theocratic dictatorship based on 17th-century New England Puritan religious tenets and jurisprudence. I set this novel in and around Harvard University-- an institution that in the 1980s was renowned for its liberalism, but that had begun three centuries earlier chiefly as a training college for Puritan clergy. In the fictional theocracy of Gilead, women had very few rights, as in 17th-century New England. The Bible was cherry-picked, with the cherries being interpreted literally. Based on the reproductive arrangements in Genesis-- specifically, those of the family of Jacob-- the wives of high-ranking patriarchs could have female slaves, or “handmaids,” and those wives could tell their husbands to have children by the handmaids and then claim the children as theirs." She nearly didn't complete it because she considered it too far-fetched.


It is now the middle of 2022, and we have just been shown a leaked opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States that would overthrow settled law of 50 years on the grounds that abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, and is not “deeply rooted” in our “history and tradition.” True enough. The Constitution has nothing to say about women’s reproductive health. But the original document does not mention women at all.
Women were deliberately excluded from the franchise. Although one of the slogans of the Revolutionary War of 1776 was “No taxation without representation,” and government by consent of the governed was also held to be a good thing, women were not to be represented or governed by their own consent-- only by proxy, through their fathers or husbands. Women could neither consent nor withhold consent, because they could not vote. That remained the case until 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, an amendment that many strongly opposed as being against the original Constitution. As it was.
Women were nonpersons in U.S. law for a lot longer than they have been persons. If we start overthrowing settled law using Justice Samuel Alito’s justifications, why not repeal votes for women?
...Is an acorn an oak tree? Is a hen’s egg a chicken? When does a fertilized human egg become a full human being or person? “Our” traditions-- let’s say those of the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the early Christians-- have vacillated on this subject. At “conception”? At “heartbeat”? At “quickening?” The hard line of today’s anti-abortion activists is at “conception,” which is now supposed to be the moment at which a cluster of cells becomes “ensouled.” But any such judgment depends on a religious belief-- namely, the belief in souls. Not everyone shares such a belief. But all, it appears, now risk being subjected to laws formulated by those who do. That which is a sin within a certain set of religious beliefs is to be made a crime for all.
Let’s look at the First Amendment. It reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The writers of the Constitution, being well aware of the murderous religious wars that had torn Europe apart ever since the rise of Protestantism, wished to avoid that particular death trap. There was to be no state religion. Nor was anyone to be prevented by the state from practicing his or her chosen religion.
It ought to be simple: If you believe in “ensoulment” at conception, you should not get an abortion, because to do so is a sin within your religion. If you do not so believe, you should not-- under the Constitution-- be bound by the religious beliefs of others. But should the Alito opinion become the newly settled law, the United States looks to be well on the way to establishing a state religion. Massachusetts had an official religion in the 17th century. In adherence to it, the Puritans hanged Quakers.
The Alito opinion purports to be based on America’s Constitution. But it relies on English jurisprudence from the 17th century, a time when a belief in witchcraft caused the death of many innocent people. The Salem witchcraft trials were trials-- they had judges and juries-- but they accepted “spectral evidence,” in the belief that a witch could send her double, or specter, out into the world to do mischief. Thus, if you were sound asleep in bed, with many witnesses, but someone reported you supposedly doing sinister things to a cow several miles away, you were guilty of witchcraft. You had no way of proving otherwise.
Similarly, it will be very difficult to disprove a false accusation of abortion. The mere fact of a miscarriage, or a claim by a disgruntled former partner, will easily brand you a murderer. Revenge and spite charges will proliferate, as did arraignments for witchcraft 500 years ago.
If Justice Alito wants you to be governed by the laws of the 17th century, you should take a close look at that century. Is that when you want to live?


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