I watched SNL last night and there was more crap about how the christian right elected bush and we're all victims of this mass conspiracy sponsored by people who want a church-run state. I'm sick of it. Living in a "red" state, I know a lot of Bush voters. In fact, nearly everyone I know, with the exception of people I know from a certain political group, voted for Bush. And yes, in Kansas, I've run into a couple real stereotypical right-wing Christians... for "the Bible", also for guns and the death penalty, those types (they're very... interesting). But this faction makes up about three of the people I personally know, leading me to believe that the Average Bush Voter is not the extremist moron that every SNL writer in New York likes to think s/he is.
Here are some things I'd like to say about the Average Bush Voter, based on my personal experience:
1) The Average Bush Voter doesn't really give a flip about the gay marriage amendment, or gays at all. They'd rather not talk about it. Many aren't used to gay relationships, and may feel a little sick of the media and pop culture pushing the issue everywhere they look, so if anything they're probably wanting to backlash against it. This doesn't mean they hate gays. The Topeka city council debated a bill last year that would make it illegal to evict someone from rented property based on sexual orientation (race, gender, religion, etc. were already on the books that way). When I asked the most far-rightwing freakiziod I know about this, he told me he'd actually support the bill. "We should protect our morals, but evicting people? That's not showing the love of Christ." right on. That was the only issue I think I'd ever gotten along with him on. Anyway, we don't like being told "You have to accept us." We can accept whoever we want, it's a free country. The gay rights movement, instead of using the "We should be treated equally because it's a free country" argument, continues to use the "If you don't accept us you're a close-minded bigot" argument.
2) The Average Bush Voter didn't believe their taxes would stay the same if Kerry were elected, and that's a really big issue... bigger than gay marriage or almost anything else. Kerry said he wouldn't raise taxes on middle class families. That's all he said. For someone like me, with no kids to write off (yes, I watched the debate, I heard him say he'd raise the child tax credit to account for any tax increases) that means I pay more taxes. This blows. The trillion dollar debt is not my responsibility to pay off. Poverty is not my tax dollar's responsibility to deal with... I donate to charities for that. When my company wanted to save money, they didn't give me a pay cut, they encouraged us to submit ideas for saving money, and trained quality control people to examine our processes. That's a radical idea for the government. The Average Bush Voter, along with myself, believes that the fiscal policies of our government are inherently inefficient and we don't want any more of our hard-earned cash going to such inefficiency.
3) The Average Bush Voter doesn't see illegal abortion as a gigantic threat to the good of everyone. Outlawing partial birth wasn't a drop in the bucket towards making it all illegal, it was just outlawing partial birth abortion, which we've been lead to believe is pretty horrific anyway. And here's one point I'd like to make to liberals everywhere: when the right-wing extremist tells us that if we recognize gay marriage, we're one step away to letting six year olds marry their dogs (because... where's the line?), we tell them that they're making stupid, "slippery slope" arguments. We can't turn around and tell them that the partial birth abortion ban is the first step to outlawing abortion, and have that be an acceptable argument. That's blatent hypocracy. We need to stop. But I digress...
4) The Average Bush Voter is bothered that we may have accidently waged a war that killed tens of thousands of people, but there is one less country being lead by a mass-murdering fuckhead. So, it's not all bad. I personally wish Bush would just come out and state this, instead of saying, "No really, there's got to be a link..." because clinging to that obviously defunct argument about did him in, election-wise. But everyone has faults.
5) The Average Bush Voter thinks that people living on the east and west coast judge us and hate us and think we're idiots, just because we're from the midwest. We in turn believe that the coast people are selfish elitists, so you can see that it goes both ways, but I think our mistrust is a reaction to how we're percieved, rather than an initial perception. My conclusion here has been reenforced this month with the livejournals I've read and media coverage I've seen. True liberal progressives think the government should be handed to them, even though they're in the minority, because they know best. Conservatives on the other hand are in the majority and just want to fight to keep it that way, and I really believe that we're more open to talking about it and slower to write of the enemy as "idiots" than the left. We in the midwest feel that, rather than get down to the streets and have frank discussions with people, the elitists would rather skip over us (since we're idiots anyway), take over the government, and tell us what to do. We like the "majority rules" way of operating. The opinion is that people in the blue states don't. That's why there's been such a backlash against "activitist judges". We don't like the idea of some random guy setting the laws.
6) The Average Bush Voter doesn't care about the political philosophies of Whoopi Goldberg or Bruce Springsteen. In fact, we resent these celebreties for telling us that if we don't vote for a progressive, we're being selfish assholes. When someone living in a ten gajillion dollar mansion tells you that you're being a selfish asshole for not wanting to contribute more tax dollars, it's tough to not resent them. If they want to make the world a better place, they can start by selling a Lexus, not trying to run our lives. I know that there were people who resented Kerry because they perceived him as a rich elitist who married into his position. We resent Hillary Clinton for the exact same reason, so the idea of her being on the ticket in 2008 is a train wreck waiting to happen (just a warning).
I might have voted for Bush. Yes, I'm pissed off about his stance on social issues, but when it comes down to it economics are just more important to me, and always have been. Kerry didn't seem to have any new brilliant ideas about anything, from the war to social security to health care. Politics is all about perception, so I might be way off on some of my assumptions, but it is how I see it and it's how almost everyone else I know here sees it.
So if you're a democrat, quit blaming Kansas ignorance for your problems. We are not ignorant and if you call us that we'll just get more pissed off. We are not right-wing extremists. The democrats simply cannot fly a flag that we agree with... we feel like they're catering to the east-coast elite who hate us, so why would we want them in power?
Get down and talk with us. Get on the radio, get in debates, and don't take it personally when we say "welfare is a crutch for the lazy", tell us how it's not. We're out here talking, we're organized, we're writing books. You're calling us idiots. And that made us Bush voters.