We all live in a red state

We all live in a red state

As long as there’s a MAGA majority on the Supreme Court, they’re coming for our freedoms in all 50 states.

I call myself LOLGOP online. So I’m part of the problem.

In the Trump years, I began to realize that laughing at the right can drown out the true bleakness and danger of what’s going on, the lives and futures at stake. 

For instance, I noticed a headline last month about Oklahoma hiring Chaya Raichik for the state’s Education Library Media Advisory Committee. This gave me a mild case of the WTFs. I might have tweeted something half-funny like “I guess the Chief Bomb Threat Coordinator position was filled.”

You may know Chaya is not a librarian or a teacher. She lives somewhere around New York City, apparently. She’s a former real estate agent and her only notoriety comes from acting as an online divining rod for right-wing freaks looking for an excuse to toss off a bomb threat or death threat or just a threat threat, generally targeted at places that have to protect lots of kids – often schools, libraries, or children’s hospitals.

But I didn’t look further into the story. I didn’t discover Chaya’s only known connection to Oklahoma. Last summer, she sicced her digital lynch mob on a school district there after an educator in Tulsa dared to jest about “pushing her woke agenda” on kids. 

"My radical liberal agenda,” the awesome librarian said, “is teaching kids to love books and be kind.”

After one of Chaya’s Elon Musk-boosted tweets, the inevitable unfolded. 

“In August, multiple Oklahoma schools were targeted with repeated bomb threats after (State) Superintendent (Ryan) Walters shared a post from Libs of TikTok targeting a librarian in the Union Public Schools district,” Rolling Stone reported.

Read that above paragraph a few times to let it sink in how the incentive structure on the right encourages and rewards sociopathy.

Well, that was Chaya’s job interview, apparently.


Obviously, Oklahoma is not ok. 

The Superintendent is more interested in pushing himself to the Fox crowd for a shot at Fox News or a spot in the Trump Administration than protecting the vulnerable kids in his schools. The state is fully consumed in the playbook of pretending the victims of abuse and discrimination are the aggressors.

When you just laugh at the clownishness and obviousness of this agenda, you can fool yourself. You can easily forget that real kids suffer because these frothing adults see them as pawns in a game of right-wing clout craving.

Kids like Nex Benedict

You probably know by now that Nex was non-binary teenager from Owasso, Oklahoma who died after being beaten in a bathroom at school last week. The school reportedly didn’t call an ambulance for their injuries.

“I said ‘you’ve got to be strong and look the other way, because these people don’t know who you are’,” her mother told The Independent. “I didn’t know how bad it had gotten.”'

Since I’ve started working on the earlyworm with most of my time, I've gotten to focus more on how bad it has gotten.

Nex’s death is maybe the clearest example of this.

There’s also Oklahoma House Bill 3216, which coincidentally passed out of committee last week.

It’s easy to say this, too, is an anomaly to mocked. You could go further. You could suggest that is what Oklahomans deserve for electing Republicans. Why don’t they pick up and move? They must not be able to pack their yokelmobile fast enough.

But as Jessica Valenti explains, this is the right’s plan for the entire country. Oklahoma is just the test case.

But I live in California! Rhode Island! MASSACHUSETTS! 

This won’t ever happen to me or my kids.

To this I say, where do you think those death threats started? And who do you think is on the Supreme Court?

Donald Trump has a plan to personally ban abortion pills, the safest and most common form of abortion in America. Who do you think is going to stop him? The Republicans on the Supreme Court, who are on the verge of gutting our federal government’s ability to do just about anything, right as we face our last chances to do anything significant about climate change?

The vast conspiracy to bring back segregation by technocratic means is not just for Alabama, Mississippi or Oklahoma. It’s for California, Rhode Island, and MASSACHUSETTS! 

The oppression that exists in red states through the coiled plagues of gerrymandering, voter suppression, right-wing propaganda, negative partisanship and self-sorting may feel distant to you now, as it does to me in Michigan where we're undergoing a renaissance of democracy. But I can tell you things swing fast. A decade ago, our state government poisoned a mostly Black city to save a piddling amount of money and was suing to keep gay couples from adopting kids.

So I have some bad news for anyone in a blue state who feels a little schadenfreude or urge to tell people to just “get up and go!” when a horrible law or hate crime comes up in a red state. As long as we have a Supreme Court dominated by six Republicans, we all live in a red state.

America is a red state and will be until we rid ourselves of a MAGA majority on a Supreme Court.

We need to accept that to feel the stakes of the challenges we face. And part of this responsibility comes from empathizing with those in red states who suffer most from our lack of solidarity.

As I said, I’m part of the problem. I’m trying to do better. Because when we just laugh at the harm the authoritarian right does to others, we forget that we’re part of their plan.

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