I’m under no illusion that the world will run short of morons any time soon, any more than the Sahara will run short of sand. Sometimes good news seems hard to find, and it can be hard to find new words to describe the sheer craziness of politics. But progress does happen, and although optimism isn’t always easy, morons don’t win every battle. It’s worth noting, and celebrating, three significant moron losses in the past day or so.
Bye Bye Russell Pearce
Arizona became famous in 2010 for introducing the Support Our Law Enforcement And Safe Neighborhoods Act. When an act has a sensible-sounding name that couldn’t offend anyone, you just know it’s going to be moronic. The law, better known as SB1070, was the most draconian anti-immigrant law in modern history, and was sponsored by Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce. SB1070 has been copied by other conservative states in attacks on illegal immigrants (or anyone who might possibly be an illegal immigrant… think Mexican-looking) and people who employ them. Alabama’s equivalent law, introduced this year, led to immigrants fleeing the state, crops rotting in the fields and huge losses for farmers: morons would rather damage the economy than allow illegal immigrants to harvest their crops.
All this closeted-racist stupidity became too much even for many conservatives. A recall was issued against Russell Pearce, and yesterday the result was announced: Pearce lost by a good margin and was thrown out of office. His replacement is the conservative Jerry Lewis, but this result is a loss for right-wing extremism and the Tea Party which has backed authoritarian laws across the US to hound illegal immigrants.
Mississippi Personhood Law
Talking of moronic laws, the good people of Mississippi voted this week on the introduction of a “Personhood” law. This is a piece of “pro-life” extremism that declares life begins, and should be fully protected, from the moment of conception, giving a single fertilised cell the same rights as a person. It would not only outlaw ALL abortions (yes, including pregnancies brought about by rape and incest) but also ban the use of some contraceptives such as the morning-after pill, and prevent many fertility treatments. As usual, the “pro-life” brigade has shown that they care little about abortion, but a lot about preventing the spread of sexual freedom. Their actions are designed to actually increase the number of unwanted pregnancies – presumably thus punishing people for daring to enjoy recreational sex. They also fail to explain why miscarriages take place, and whether God would be in breach of the proposed law for allowing them to happen.
In the event, the initiative was soundly rejected, again showing that extreme religious-right views may not be as strong in Mississippi as many had believed.
Ohio Rejects Union-Bashing Law
Meanwhile in Ohio, the spate of attacks on union rights that began in Wisconsin seemed to have been halted when voters heavily rejected anti-union legislation that had been introduced by Ohio’s moron Governor John Kasich.
In these bizarre times, the ebb and flow of ideas happens faster than ever. The far-right Tea Party has been on the march for a couple of years, apparently trampling progressives in its path. Now, with the sudden rise of the Occupy movement and a series of defeats for the moronic right, it looks like moderates are fighting back, and are perfectly capable of winning.