Just one last Election Day story that is kind of hard for me to pass up seeing as how I was born and raised in Colorado. Not from the anointed sovereign state of North Colorado, though. Just, you know, plain old Colorado. Denver, Colorado to be exact.
Those of you who have been following the more quirky news items spinning out from the coverage already know where I’m going with this, right? Because if the story of five Colorado counties located on the northern edge of the state that actually voted to secede from the rest of Colorado wasn’t so pathetic it might actually qualify as perversely amusing. I can think of endless Saturday Night Live-style skits that could be written making (justifiable) fun of the bumpkins on the fringe – mentally as well as physically. There really is a wealth of biting comic material here just waiting to be mined for endless hours of political comedy. Or just the plain and ordinary comedy that takes excessive joy poking fun at stupid people.
But then, taken in the Tea Party context of what has been happening across the country where hordes of bitter bumpkins have been uniting against the onslaught of facts and reason ever since The Black Guy got elected to the highest office in the land, it’s not always so easy to laugh in the face of madness – because it is this type of madness that has been holding the rest of us hostage for quite some time now. It was this sort of madness that shut down the government. It was this sort of madness that sought to repeal Obamacare. It is this sort of madness that cares more about the right to bear any and all sorts of arms more than the steadily rising pile of dead children victimized by gun violence.
There are days when it appears that the madness just might be winning.
Sure, it is highly unlikely anything will come of this. Michael Tomasky in The Daily Beast spells it out as good as anyone could:
These things have popped up before. I covered one 20 years ago, when Staten Islanders voted two-to-one to break off from New York City. The voters always approve these things. Of course, Staten Island is still a borough of New York City, which tells us that although they always pass, they always amount to nothing. This one will amount to nothing too, in the short term. Congress has to approve a new state, and that isn’t going to happen.
But it’s fascinating that we are witnessing the culture-ization of politics, the trumping of shared culture over shared political traditions and agreements that go back generations. We’ve seen it around the world. Czeckoslovakia splitting in two. Yugoslavia splitting in five. The movement to split Iraq into three, which didn’t take hold but had the backing of some serious people. Back in the day, peoples of different cultures banded together to form states because there was more power in being larger, in the post-Congress of Vienna era of the nation-state. But eventually they circled back to the core unavoidable truth of not being able to stomach one another.
Well, now we’re getting to the same point domestically. In the last 20 years, we’ve herded ourselves into clusters like snarling breeds of dogs.
But it is the dogged, determined persistence of willful ignorance, fueled by rage, that must always be guarded against. Because just when you start to laugh at the crazies is when they start coming over the fence like The Walking Dead.
Keith Owens (AKA Black Liberal Boomer) is a Detroit-based writer who has worked for The Detroit Free Press, Detroit’s alternative newsweekly the Metro Times, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and other newspapers. He was also a nationally syndicated columnist with Universal Press Syndicate for three years beginning in 1993.