6 November 2004
A friend from blueland writes:
The social studies teacher at our school is up in arms over the fact that the media is saying Bush won by a mandate. I think she's wrong; she claims that mandate means a huge majority of the popular vote and she thinks 3.5 million votes isn't a mandate. I say she's wrong, but I'm not sure how to disprove her.
I pointed to this now-fairly-ubiquitous USA Today map which colors each county in 49 states (Alaska doesn't do counties as we know them) according to how it voted, which might have done the trick.
As of this morning, that map was still in the Blogdex Top Ten, a couple of slots below Jane Smiley's hatchet job in Slate with the subtitle "The unteachable ignorance of the red states." I'll quote just one paragraph:
Ignorance and bloodlust have a long tradition in the United States, especially in the red states. There used to be a kind of hand-to-hand fight on the frontier called a "knock-down-drag-out," where any kind of gouging, biting, or maiming was considered fair. The ancestors of today's red-state voters used to stand around cheering and betting on these fights. When the forces of red and blue encountered one another head-on for the first time in Kansas Territory in 1856, the red forces from Missouri, who had been coveting Indian land across the Missouri River since 1820, entered Kansas and stole the territorial election. The red news media of the day made a practice of inflammatory lying declaring that the blue folks had shot and killed red folks whom everyone knew were walking around. The worst civilian massacre in American history took place in Lawrence, Kan., in 1862 Quantrill's raid. The red forces, known then as the slave-power, pulled 265 unarmed men from their beds on a Sunday morning and slaughtered them in front of their wives and children. The error that progressives have consistently committed over the years is to underestimate the vitality of ignorance in America. Listen to what the red state citizens say about themselves, the songs they write, and the sermons they flock to. They know who they are they are full of original sin and they have a taste for violence.
If you look at that USA Today map one more time, you'll see exactly one county in Kansas that's colored blue: Douglas County. The seat of Douglas County is, um, Lawrence.
The sensible person will of course argue, "Quantrill's Raid was over a hundred years ago. How could it possibly have any relevance today?" It doesn't, unless you're an aggrieved leftist desperate to make a point. (And Quantrill's Raid, incidentally, was in 1863.)Posted at 5:51 AM to Political Science Fiction