Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Republican Intolerance

Today’s Daily Beast released a list of the most tolerant states, based on issues of fair housing and workplace laws, religious acceptance, legal rights for same-sex couples, and hate crime statutes.  If we correlate this list with Wikipedia’s classification of states as Red, Blue, or Purple (achieved by using the average margins of victory in Presidential elections between 1992 and 2008) we discover the following:

The ten most tolerant states are all Democratic “Blue States,” although the most Democratic state, Massachusetts, is only 18th on this list of the most tolerant.  Wisconsin, the most tolerant state, is the 19th most democratic state.

Of the ten least tolerant states, eight are Republican (red states) and two are purple.  Utah, the most Republican state, is among these (number 44 out of 50).  The two purple states among these least tolerant are Arkansas and Ohio.

Two Republican states qualify as more tolerant than Massachussetts (the most Democratic state), and these are North Carolina and Louisiana.  Could this be attributed to the high level of quality colleges in the former and the recognized cosmopolitan influence of the latter’s major city, New Orleans?

The twenty least tolerant states are all either Republican or “Purple states.”  

Of the twenty most tolerant states, fourteen are Democratic, three are “Purple states,” and three are Republican.  The three Republican states (Virginia, North Carolina, and Louisiana) are among the five lowest Republican states in terms of (Republican) vote percentages.

What is disturbing about this data is a fairly clear relationship between being Republican and being less tolerant today.  This negative association is supported by today’s Republican Party actions which clearly undermine social equality and, in fact, contradict the Republican Party’s purported desire to adhere to our Constitution.  

After all, the Preamble to the Constitution makes it clear that its focus was to “promote the general Welfare.”  Repealing the Health Care Law, as Republicans will attempt to do, does not “promote the general Welfare.”  Extending the Bush tax cuts even to the very wealthiest Americans will only to increase the disparity between the rich and the poor of our nation, again doing the opposite of “promoting the general Welfare.”

No matter what today’s Republicans say, today’s Democrats are clearly the party most committed to “promoting the general Welfare” as called for in the Preamble of our Constitution.  Meanwhile, the Republican Party is thriving most in those states that are shown to be the least tolerant.  This is not a proud position for the party of Lincoln.  Were I a Republican, I’d be red with embarrassment!


  1. What do you suppose makes the people of Ohio so intolerant?

  2. Wow, Tyko, what a lot of number-crunching. All I can offer here is one close-up and one long-shot.
    Conrad's mom, probably the most loving embracing individual I have ever been graced to know, grew up in circumstances where nobody gave a tinker's damn about her (girls didn't count in Iowa farm families), and endured nightmarish poverty in her battle to survive as a single mom. Nobody embraced her, nobody was in solidarity, and she did it on her own. And she hated any form of hand-out or welfare that went to anybody else. No, she wasn't selfish, she was just reflecting what she'd been taught. That's the close-up. The only empathy that was native to her was for those close to her.
    We are now experiencing a global extension of that pattern. Wealth and power are concentrated in a shrinking number of hands, and these folks do not appear to be happy. Look at their photos -- wizened malevolent tortoises. There are studies that claim that they do not live in the "now" of what they have, they measure their pleasure by where they are in the heirarchy. And when the wealth-curve is so very steep, the jump from where they are to that of the next dude up on the ladder may be pretty huge. That is the long shot.
    And as long as this species stands toe-to-toe instead of hand-in-hand, this will be true. Power-over generally has greater fire-power than collaboration-with. The downside to all of this is that now we can ALL die from it. Still, movements happen. Tunisia didn't oust their despot by singing "We Shall Overcome," but until those who were armed and loyal to the old regime started firing, it was non-violent. (Unless you factor in the self-immolation.)
    It worked for Gandhi, but where is India now? It brought huge change in US race relations, but where do we stand now? Nevertheless, it still seems to me that our only hope is in a steady movement away from power-over, and if the only way that will happen is by cataclysm reducing us to a manageable number of humans, well . . . in the meantime, read Naomi Shehab Nye's "Kindness." -- Elizabeth Fuller

  3. Dark Omen asks a question that I, also, had asked myself; having no simple answer to it, I decided to avoid (at least for now) the research to determine why, indeed, a northern state like Ohio is among the most intolerant. An interesting point to pursue.

    Elizabeth Fuller (married to Conrad Bishop, under whose name her comments appear), makes several interesting points. Possibly her observations on Conrad's Iowa mother offers some insights into the Ohio question. How do we reposition ourselves from "toe-to-toe" to "hand-in-hand?"

    We can't even get Speaker Boehner to attend the Tucson gathering, nor our three furthest right Supreme Court justices to be present at the State of the Union address. That should be simple in comparison to getting the world to hold hands!