The wingnut plot against quad development and regular bowel movements
Via Atrios, I see that full-blown brainless resentment as a campaign strategy is well under way in 2010.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are “converting Denver into a United Nations community.”
“This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.
Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor’s efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes “that’s exactly the attitude they want you to have.”
Yep, the argument is that programs that look like they’re about reducing emissions and reducing dependence on fossil fuels—as well as getting people to be healthier by getting more exercise—are in fact a liberal plot to have the UN take over our cities. Apparently, starting with those out West, because what you want when you’re plotting a takeover of a country is to go after cities that are well-armed and spread out. Though I suppose the paranoid right wingers could just say that’s why they have to take over the cities by stealthy hippyness, because warfare isn’t gonna get it done.
There’s some jibber-jabber paranoid explanation for why bike programs are secret UN plots to destroy America.
Maes said in a later interview that he was referring to Denver’s membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an international association that promotes sustainable development and has attracted the membership of more than 1,200 communities, 600 of which are in the United States.
Whatever the bullshit explanation is basically irrelevant, of course. The point is to stoke resentment against bicyclists, and then transfer that resentment to the Democrats. Bicyclists and pedestrians are easy hate objects, because they make car-dependent people feel insecure, especially if those car-dependent people are using their car even in situations where they know they could walk it or bike it. If you doubt this, I highly recommend actually getting a bike and trying to commute with it—even if you can’t go to work, try going to the store or to nearby occasions with it—and you’ll find that there are lot of mindlessly angry drivers out there who take your bicycle as an affront to their manhood or something. Yes, even if you obey every traffic law and are scrupulous about staying out of the way (which I was when I lived where I biked everywhere—now I just walk).
I’m beginning, however, to think that conservatives are out to kill each other off, which seems to be a poor campaign strategy, but it’s getting harder to deny. There’s an increasing tendency with conservatives to adopt a pious attitude about having really bad health habits, namely eating a bunch of crap and refusing to move your body more than 10 feet without fossil fuel-based assistance. Bicyclists, vegetarians, and arugula munchers belong in the cast of villains for the right. It’s a particularly troubling trend, since we all have to share health care costs at the end of the day.
Take, for instance, this hilarious post at Sadly, No! making fun of one Julie Gunlock, who appears to be kept up at nights with worry that somewhere someone poor might be enjoying a healthful and tasty meal. She rails against soup kitchens that serve food that she thinks sounds fancy, like pumpkin soup or blueberries with sour cream. And she thinks that free lunch programs should be cut off because they somehow prevent parents from feeding their own children, hiding behind the claim that no cafeteria could compete with the nutritional value of a meal put together by someone who can’t afford enough food to feed their children three squares a day.
Sadly Naut Tintin suggests that Gunlock is hardly the person to be talking about food in such detail, or claiming knowledge of how best to put together nutritious meals, because she writes a food column where she suggests melting your leftover cheese platter over some pasta and calling that dinner. Perhaps someone in the Wal-Mart frame of mind doesn’t realize that there are “seasons” and that they have “surpluses” that might explain why a soup kitchen has a lot of donated ingredients that they turn into things like pumpkin soup. It’s a tempting explanation.
But between this and the bicycles-are-a-UN-plot nonsense, I have an alternate theory: Perhaps this is part of the larger wingnut assault on Americans making it to age 40 without a couple heart attacks under their belts. After all, Dick Cheney had his first at 37, and who are we to argue with greatness? Dan Maes might be in the division of the secret wingnut anti-health forces that concentrates on making sure that no one gets their hearts near their target heart rate. (With a big assist from the anti-sex brigade.) Gunlock is part of the Permanent Constipation division, focusing on a goal of making sure that no American craps more than once a week.
Red states do more poorly on health outcomes than do blue states. You can come up with all sorts of explanations for why the may be so, starting with the fact that red states are often less wealthy, more averse to unionization that gets people better health care plans, etc.
Or maybe it’s just that the widespread wingnut assault on target heart rates and regular bowel movements is working out really well where they have a lot of influence.