It's been an interesting week, and by interesting I mean mostly inexplicable. It may be only explicable by accepting the founding principle of my husband's oft-stated philosophy; namely, "People are stupid."
I was frankly surprised by Houston's rejection of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in Tuesday's election. I thought Houston was better and smarter than that. In fact, the Houston that I know IS better and smarter than that. Unfortunately, those people did not get out and vote, and that continues to be a problem for liberals/progressives in off-year elections: They just don't vote in the same numbers and with the same enthusiasm that they do in presidential election years. And when we don't vote, we lose.
That seems to have been the case also in Kentucky, a state that has benefited more than just about any other from the Affordable Care Act. Hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who never had health insurance now have it because of that law. So what did those same people do in Tuesday's election? They elected a man who promises to do away with the law!
As I said, inexplicable.
The revolt of the Republican debaters seems to have fallen apart, maybe because of the relentless ridicule they have received because of their prickly and embarrassing response to being asked actual questions. President Obama even got in on the razzing and, as usual, gave the best response to the debacle. He noted that all of these candidates like to talk about how tough they are and how they would kick sand in Putin's face and put him in his place with their steely stares across the conference table, and yet they can't even handle John Harwood and the other CNBC moderators. Shortly after that comment, the "revolt" started losing its foot soldiers as various Republican candidates decided that maybe it wasn't in their best interest to appear as such delicate little flowers. Pure coincidence, I'm sure.
And speaking of delicate little flowers, we have the "bro-gressives," young, mostly white, male supporters of Bernie Sanders. That's the Bernie Sanders whose natural mode of communicating seems to be shouting and waving his arms - not unlike one of the candidates on the Republican side. In the first Democratic debate, when challenged on his support of private gun ownership, he responded by accusing those who want limits on individual rights to own guns of "shouting." (Pot, meet Kettle.)
Now, women are very familiar with the phenomenon of being called "shrill" if they dare to disagree with the prevailing male sentiment. I daresay any woman in even the most low level position in the work world - or in personal relationships, for that matter - has had to face such demeaning and dismissive reactions. In response to Sanders' "shouting" comment, Hillary Clinton said that because she is a woman, people sometimes accuse her of shouting when, really, she's just talking. And the "bro-gressives" went crazy!
"Hillary is accusing Bernie of being a misogynist!" "Bernie is not a misogynist! He's perfect!" "He's a true feminist and here's what feminism really is..." And then these young, white males explain to all of us (women) just what true feminism is.
Again, in rationalizing his support for gun wielders, Sanders likes to say that he's from a "rural" (for which read "mostly white") state where gun rights are important, as opposed to those "urban" (more diverse) states where guns might be used to kill people. When it was pointed out that this is exactly the kind of verbal dog whistle used by Republicans to let their supporters know that they are talking about "those people," the "bro-gressives" went absolutely nuts!
"Hillary is accusing Bernie of being a racist!" "Mean, mean Hillary!"
So thin-skinned. I think Bernie and his supporters see him as always the smartest and most morally pure person in the room, and so anyone who would dare to criticize him is just evil.
Here's a bulletin for those folks: Bernie Sanders is a politician, and if he were from an urban area, he would be looking for ways to restrict gun ownership. Moreover, he would be looking to protect the financial institutions and other businesses among his constituency. There is more to the art of politics than making fiery, self-righteous, crowd-pleasing speeches. Ask Barack Obama.
And then we have Ben Carson and Marco Rubio.
Ben Carson seemingly seriously believes that the Egyptian pyramids were built by Joseph of Bible fame in order to store grain for a coming famine. He had made that statement in a speech many years ago and, when asked about it this week, he confirmed it! This, in spite of all the archaeological evidence to the contrary. But then archaeology is a science and we know how Republicans feel about science.
Marco Rubio apparently (I didn't actually hear it) said in an off-hand remark this week that he would like to sit down and have a beer with Malala Yousafzai. Does he not realize that (a.) this young woman is a teenager, and (b.) even if the young woman were of an age to drink, she is a Muslim, and her religion prohibits her from drinking alcohol? Could Rubio have been any creepier or any more culturally insensitive?
These are two of the top contenders for the Republican nomination for the presidency. Truly inexplicable.