Monday, June 10, 2024

Put down the Colgate, honey.

     A thought experiment:
     Pretend, for a moment, that instead of nominating religious fanatics to the U.S. Supreme Court, Donald Trump had instead packed the high court with dentists.
     And instead of reversing Roe v. Wade, the ruling that for half a century protected the right of American women to make their own reproductive choices, this new court of oral activists allowed state legislatures across the country to mandate what brand of toothpaste women must use.
     Men, of course, would be free to continue using whichever toothpaste they like.
     Certain states, such as Illinois, would continue to allow their female residents access to the range of available brands. Crest. Colgate. Herbal toothpastes like Tom's. Sensodyne. Their choice.
     But other states would rush to make that decision for women and mandate a particular brand — or even bar toothpaste entirely. Use a rag and baking soda, honey, just like in the good old days.
     How would people react?
     Some would no doubt shrug and do whatever the state says. Freedom can be stressful, and there's always a big slice of the population that resents the pressure of being expected to run their own lives. The secret shame of totalitarianism is that a slice of the oppressed like it. Slavery is freeing, ironically, to them. No need to think for yourself, to agonize over choices — your betters do that for you. All you need do is obey.
     But others would rebel at the idea of the government telling us what dentifrice to put in our mouths. We saw how people resisted being told to do something as simple as wear a paper mask during COVID. And gratifyingly seven states — including backwaters like Kansas — rushed the abortion question onto their ballots, protecting the right of women to figure out their lives themselves. These initiatives didn't fail anywhere, because Americans overwhelmingly want the right to choose to have an abortion. Just like Mexico, Ireland, the rest of the Western world.
     Which brings up the connection between undermining voting rights and pushing mandatory religious fundamentalism. What the far right is doing is not popular. Most people voters don't want it — there are heartening signs that Americans are standing up and making their will known — so voting has to go. Since that's too naked a totalitarian flex, even for religious zealots, it's disguised as fighting election fraud, which scarcely exists.

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  1. Democrats are constantly attacked and chided for not "doing enough" in the face of republican's pitchforks and effigies. While I am inclined to agree, I believe we too often brush off the biggest issue we face as a country... the right's propaganda arm.

    What ever qualms you might have regarding the quality of reporting across the vast vapidity of our modern news desert; "conservative" news organizations and online, non pay-walled, propaganda masquerading as news is poisoning public perception of reality. No longer do we live in a world where everyone gets their information from the same place and form their own opinions from it. We live in a place where 30-40% of the population only receive lies and propaganda. They are sold on idea that the toothpaste in question is the only one that is legitimate and thus the only one that works. They are told its not a choice, its the freedom to avoid using the government sponsored mind control mouth wash created in a lab to destroy conservative thinking. They are told the people who use the tooth pasts that are not our tooth paste lie and you can't believe what they say or really what anyone else says but us.

    For a long time the US Government's policy was to never negotiate with terrorists. I believe it's time to do the same with out news and information.

  2. Thank you, Neil. More people might walk up, however, if men were subject to legal limitations based solely on their gender.

  3. The right has it easier. Its demographic is almost entirely white, and disproptionately older and male. Their issues are simple: eliminate abortion, eliminate taxes, eliminate immigration and withdraw from global alliances. The Democrats have a bigger tent that includes bolstering alliances, some of which are problematic (the war in Gaza!), supporting women's reproductive rights, including contraception, supporting a safety network, addressing environmental issues, including species extinction, clean air and water, preserving wilderness and, of course, climate change. All of these are difficult issues for which even people of good will might have different ideas and agendas. Just saying no to everything and raging performatively works for the GOP. It doesn't work for a party that must appeal to a larger, more diverse audience. It's also pretty easy to just complain that the Democrats can't get their message across or don't fight hard enough. In a world where a significant number of people dont give a shit what the message of the leader of the cult is but will follow him anywhere, and the rest of the party just wants to stay in power no matter what, democratic and Democratic messaging is more like herding cats. I still prefer the cats.

    Sadly, our forefathers did not have the wisdom to protect voting rights in the Constitution.

    1. The Founding Fathers also never sought to ban convicted felons from office! An even worse mistake!

  4. I love the Covid mask analogy. The mask rebellion was so recent and so damn dumb.

  5. Agreed except for your characterization of the right as disproportionally male. From what I can tell, the split seems about even between white men and white women.

  6. It's appalling, the number of people, especially women, who embrace their chains.

  7. "Use a rag and baking soda, honey, just like in the good old days." And toothbrushes and toothpaste would mean prison time. Spitting it into the sink and washing it down the drain? Why, that's MURDER.


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