Comments: Ohio, Canada

Comments

I'm hoping people get past the "where shall we move to" phase soon. I don't want to deepen their depression by pointing out that there is no where on Earth to get away from the Bush administration.

At a certain point you have to realize that homos like me are rather scared of what we're seeing. 11 states just passed anti-gay laws, and many Democrats are blaming the loss on gay marriage -- see Diane Feinstein and Barney Frank. If the DNC gets the message getting a bit more fundamentalist is the way to power, people like me are really screwed.

I'm not saying I'm leaving, but I'm thinking about it. Why should I pay my taxes to a government that considers me less than a good citizen, when every other western democracy is moving in the other direction? Those other countries got rid of sodomy laws through the democratic process. This country had to do it via the courts, which is reversible.

P.S. Why only an email box on comments except the error page? I would rather leave my blog URL.

At a certain point you have to realize that homos like me are rather scared of what we're seeing. 11 states just passed anti-gay laws, and many Democrats are blaming the loss on gay marriage -- see Diane Feinstein and Barney Frank. If the DNC gets the message getting a bit more fundamentalist is the way to power, people like me are really screwed.

I'm not saying I'm leaving, but I'm thinking about it. Why should I pay my taxes to a government that considers me less than a good citizen, when every other western democracy is moving in the other direction? Those other countries got rid of sodomy laws through the democratic process. This country had to do it via the courts, which is reversible.

P.S. Why only an email box on comments? I would rather leave my blog URL.

Sorry for the two messages. I got a server error the first time.

Ah. Yes. I see the problem. I'm hearing the Canada thing from so many people, many of them not gay, that that aspect had not occurred to me.

There's a lot wrong with the democratic party and losing the election puts it under pressure to change. I'm hoping that the democrats scapegoating of gays passes quickly.

The real problem, it seems to me, originates from a system when the parties change by making small incremental changes in reponse to polling data. This has locked them tightly in a struggle that admits no other reforms of grander visions. Some kind of larger revisioning needs to go on, thought I'm not yet sure in what direction.

barry, that's a good point and one that hadn't occurred to me as a straight man. I guess I sort of wrote those votes off as some knee jerk latent homophobia that will go away eventually as the center catches up with the coasts. But that's easy for me to say, and clearly not easy for others to live, and I feel pretty shitty for thinking that way.

In anycase any Democrat blaming the loss of the election on the anti gay marriage laws was clearly not on the ground in Ohio. I'm sure there are homophobes there, but there are also a hell of a lot of relatively reasonable people who would have voted Kerry if someone just was there to talk more reason into them. In the end this thing was lost by a RCH and any number of things could have flipped the results. Swift boat ads, charisma, Billy Clinton campaigning in Ohio, better robo-calls, more boots on the ground, etc. Which essentially ends up with the bad guys out playing us, there is no point trying to blame it on

As for the email and no url, it's the remnants of my earliest anti blogspam effort, and it failed, I'll reverse it one of these days..

I'm a Canadian. Here's a few words of warning over considering Canada utopia: we have Rightists too (in fact, they are also in the middle of the country -- can anyone with a social geography background care to lay down some analysis here? I have some conjectures but I will leave them be for the moment), and the centre party in power, the Liberals, has been keening to head Right ever since Paul Martin (Jean Chretien's successor) got in power. They've just been waiting on the election. And now that Bush got back in, Martin is aching for some kind of post-Iraq contracts for his corporate supporters. So expect Canada to get in on the deal. Hell, Germany is training troops for Iraq.. so perhaps we'll even pop in as 'peacekeepers' (just like Somalia, which was a Canadian debacle for peacekeeping -- a few soldiers were charged with torture after they roasted a Somali man over a fire).

In the end, however, Canada will take only slightly longer to dismantle as a nation state. It's social welfare system is failing, and by the end of my lifetime, programs such as provincial health care and national social security will be bankrupt.

In the meantime, living in Canada is kind of like living in a combo SF-NYC deal depending on the city, only a lot smaller cities and a lot bigger country. I wouldn't say we have less homophobia, but we have a system of laws in place based on community (and not individual) rights that ensures, at least up to this point, a more liberal balance of the State's power over the individual (decriminalization of grass, gay marriage, State abortion clinics, etc; however the right to die here has been denied - the Sue Rodriguez case; the Netherlands still remains more open).

tobias, the social geography is obvious.

High levels of cosmopolitanism and tolerance have always been found in river cities and coastal ports, while cities of the landlocked interior display no such correlation.

de Landa identifies these tendencies with "meshwork" and "hierarchy," respectively, and points out (after Braudel) that the character of ports and other nodal places is both a precondition and an effect of their role as markets.

I thought the whole port vs. central capital bit came via Jacobs but no mind. It seems a bit tenuous in the age of the airplane anyways, hence the strong liberalisms of Austin Texas, Columbus Ohio and even to a lesser extent Binghamton Alabama. We no longer need to rely on ocean and river currents to generate flows of culture, all we need is a reason to fly into town. Perhaps its a university, perhaps its a government to bribe.. Which leaves us less of a center/edge divide (holla at New Orleans and Chicago for me will you) and more of a classic urban/rural.

Adam noted that correlations are obvious in social geography ..

"High levels of cosmopolitanism and tolerance have always been found in river cities and coastal ports, while cities of the landlocked interior display no such correlation."

Yes, I know the correlation is obvious. But why?
Why always and is this really the case?
How did it come to be?
What are the social conditions of possibility in correspondance with land, mass, socioeconomic ties to geography, space, time?

Is it that rurally dispered humans, lacking a cohesive centre, _yet most probably knowing everyone living with xx miles_, come to be defensive, territorial, reactionary, and despite living in the vast expanse, never venturing beyond it? Is it because of a lack of information flow to these areas? (This seems unlikely today with all media flows). There is nothing essential about ports, nor do ports even mean immigrant hotbeds as they used to. Moreover, central canada is populated by immigrants; yet the strange, rural tendencies such as those observed in the US (a kind of series of intolerances) strike true.

There is nothing determinative of the correlation. What is it about the city that provides the conditions of possibility for tolerance that nonetheless is, in some respects, more intolerant of the environment than rural settings?

Besides some weak Deleuzian explanations, are there any references or suggestions?

(Yah, read Lefebvre, de Certeau, Harvey, etc.).

tV

You're kidding, right?
Like the lawyers say, "asked and answered."

As for Abe's point about all this being irrelevant in the age of the airplane: Yeah, maybe...if we were all starting from a blank state. Of course, we're not.

I think the question is not, Why do some places nurture cosmpolitanism while other so not? so much as Why do places retain their character down through time, despite epochal changes in the material and social conditions that gave rise to that character? And I think the answer is largely the commonsensical one that, when people are able to choose, they choose to be in places that reflect, reaffirm and reinforce their values, and they choose to be in places that afford them livelihoods for which they are equipped.

Nothing "weakly Deleuzian" about it - I just think de Landa does a good job of providing explanatory metaphors for different types of place.

Hmm. Well, let's think about it. First, it implies that we're all rather essential beings, "choosing" (as what? "rational actors"?) to "reaffirm values." It seems rather to me that no "choice" is being made at all...

Either we've got to delve into some social unconscious--Foucault's angle, dig--or perhaps Deleuze's rewriting of Bergson's theory of _habit_. How is _habit_ passed on? Via habit itself: the cascading effect of fractal social relations. But this is where we've got to exceed choice/value and think socioeconomic conditions: are the red, central states generally _poorer_ than the blue cosmopolis? (According to the rant Abe has linked under November 9th, they are -- I don't know enough about this, as I mentioned, I'm not American). This is another register that delimits travel--and what is assumed here is that travel is somehow essentially Good, i.e. that it produces central-liberal values of "cosmopolitanism" (which others might call hypocrisy).

Btw, I'm not kidding .. I think the answers given here are too easy, and they appear moreso from this distance across the border.. and without a better understanding of the way the US is divided, further elections will only play back into the hands of the Republicans, who don't need to _understand_ these principles: they just know that they _work for them_. That they _don't_ work for the Dems means that the latter have their work cut out for them.

best, tV