26 July 2005

colorado does mean "color red"

Note: This whole post is an excuse to bring up this news site: Watching America. Bad design, really interesting content. All articles from international news sources translated into English, the huge drawback of this being that the site managers primarily rely on computer translations which are sporadically checked by human beings. Highlights include a touchy article from Russia about NASA's hubris, a piece from Canada about the country's victory over the U.S. in the category of "Dumbest Government of the Year," and the unbelievable: that an ancestor of our dear president, named the Rev. George Bush, wrote a biography critical of the Prophet Mohammed in the 19th century. This from Egypt, which has reluctantly allowed its reprinting.


*

I'm not sure when I began to experience this nagging feeling about Colorado. Maybe around about the time I realized that I'd been driving around with the title of my car in my glove compartment for the past three years, which was recently, though it took me an additional couple of months to actually put it someplace safe. I have a growing sense of obligation to pay attention to the social and political culture of the state in which I was born. The ladyfriend has a pretty stellar, almost masochistically obsessed, reputation for keeping up with events in the big O of the northwest, from misogynist serial killers and abductions of local blond girls to The Willamette Week and voter-initiated ballot measures. Last Christmas, as we drove over the Cascades to visit her sister and her new nephew, I witnessed a conversation between the ladyfriend and her pa about how Colorado was the testing ground for some of the most vengeful anti-environment, anti-preservation legislation that the U.S. has seen. They explained that Oregon eventually became the target for similar legislation, perpetrated on behalf of logging companies.

I really felt compelled to recognize that my political consciousness belongs to my post-College era, and that any exposure to politics I received from my family were the odd invitations to ritzy fund-raising dinners (mostly unattended), those thrown for local candidates who were either pro-business or pro-development. Post-college my politics have been queerer, more theoretical, way less practical in terms of useful facts, publications, or people. But during college I met people like the ladyfriend and Brook-trout whose investments in their local political situations began in toddlerhood (flag-waving age).

Colorado was a weird-ass state to grow up in. Part farm, part resort, the state has earned a reputation as a stomping ground for tree-huggers and gun-toting isolationists, WASP-lite small business owners and Cali-Texan imports.

Then there's the fact that the following organizations have sprouted, blossomed, and spread through Colorado like evil, smelly, stinging vines over the past five years: Focus on the Family (which, should you desire to contact it, requires no street address on the envelope, only "Colorado Springs, CO"), the Promise Keepers (the organization for men started by Coach McCartney of CU Buffalo infamy, who proudly notes in his second autobiography that he "had built the program on the Rock of Christ"), and the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys (keeping the link between Jesus and slaughterhouses alive). All are nationally known (syndicated) but maintain their roots in Colorado. Not to change the metaphor, but Colorado Springs alone hums with an impressive network of Christian culture machines.

We English majors are always vacillating between the mechanical and the organic metaphor. Both seem to suit these groups. There's something so organic about their comprehensiveness. You could spend your entire life trying to get a grip on all the little micromanagements necessary to achieve the status of ideal heterosexual, middle-class Christian. And yet, there's something so mechanistic about the writing, something so canned and reproduced. Many sites feature similar articles by the same writers. The delightfully named Michael Fey contributes broadly to numerous online Christian publications, focusing primarily (of course) on the reparable nature of homosexuality.

In other words, Colorado totally rules, and I just can't wait to stumble, drunk, poor, and addicted to Nicorette, back to the old homestead there. Perhaps later on there will be a post about how super Colorado is, but not now.

No, not with Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado of the 6th District (of Littleton and Columbine fame) representing our interests, mostly wacko immigration policy. I discovered I have a connection to this person, tenuous and conflict-based, besides our status as U.S. citizens. In this utterly bombastic letter, in which he exemplifies conservative victimhood while simultaneously begging for loot for his "war chest," he names an "ultra-liberal activist" (read "rich and bored lukewarm liberal") I once babysat for. Pat Stryker is actually a billionaire whose money comes from tiny, surgical parts invented by her grandfather and whose house is across the reservoir from my parents'. She butted heads with Tancredo when she helped preserve bilingual education in Colorado. All of the men in my hometown couldn't give a rat's ass about her (in this pointed "I wouldn't even marry her for her money" kind of way) until she gave 20 million to Colorado State University, most of it going to the football team.

Anyway, I'd heard about this "Watching America" site on NPR, and low and behold, when first I opened it, there was Tom Tancredo, who I honestly had no idea about before. A Moroccan newspaper had reported on the response of the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) to a conversation Tom had had with a talk radio host in Florida.

Tancredo made the comments in a conversation with talk-radio host Pat Campbell at WFLA in Orlando, Florida. They were discussing an article on the conservative Internet site WorldNetDaily that said Islamic terrorists have brought nuclear devices across the Mexican border, preparing for an attack on the interior United States. Cambell asked Tancredo how the country should respond if terrorists were to strike several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.

Tancredo: Well, what if you said something like - if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites.

Cambell: You're talking about bombing Mecca.

Tancredo: Yeah... I mean, I don't know, I'm just throwing out there some ideas because it seems to me...at that point in time you would be talking about taking the most draconian measures you could possibly imagine and because other than that all you could do is once again tighten up internally. (Image courtesy of Tancredo's imagination and the delightful discussion boards of the Free Republic.)

JUST THROWING OUT SOME IDEAS??? I keep looking at Tom's picture, willing his existence to be a violent farse. Tom Tancredo: Crusader Against the Alien Hordes. A charade of Coloradoan proportions. Searching for other responses to Tancredo's comments yielded the sublimely bogus looking "Northeast Intelligence Network," which had this glowing response and the link to the audio of Tancredo's threats. He shows his light touch when he refers to the bombing of Mecca as "Draconian." Gee, sir. Draco was supposed to be "impartial." Spanking you with a sportsman's knife live on national television while forcing you to eat uncooked tofu might be considered Draconian. What you're talking about is the destruction of a culture, not the poking out of an eye. There were a few conservative blogs that were inspired by Tancredo to talk about the "liberal censorship" of brilliant ideas such as his. Mainly, I feel a little obsessed with the fact that there is zero national news coverage of this bozo's comments, but this small Moroccan paper has got its eye on him.

But this, this was the kicker. Someone's decided Tancredo is the 9th most likely Republican candidate for the 2008 race. Just ahead of the wackolicious Rick Santorum and just behind every right winger's exotic (Black and a woman?) fantasy, your favorite and mine, helmet head Condi. Colorado yesterday, the U.S today, and tomorrow, dear friends, the WORLD.

To be continued...

16 Comments:

Blogger carla said...

Your ladyfriend will be pleased to know that we at Preemptive Karma try to write about our beloved home state of Oregon often. We've just finished a series on the wingnut Karen Minnis...who abused her authority has House Leader to thwart civil unions.

Welcome to the Progressive Women Bloggers webring. :)

26 July, 2005 20:12  
Blogger Who's the dourest of them all? said...

Thanks, Carla! I'm excited...I feel like we're creating our own media!

26 July, 2005 22:58  
Blogger good golly said...

I wanna join a feminist web ring run out of oregon that talks about karen minnis! and we could trash talk betsy close and jeff kropf. eww eww and we could talk about how kate brown is hottt.

but if i joined your web ring, would it be like wearing each other's clothes too much? will we start to talk too much alike and become lesbian clones? i mean, clones are people too; "The Island" taught me that, but I'm still not sure.

27 July, 2005 12:42  
Blogger Body Mascot said...

Ah, Colorado, the state my Evangelical in-laws left Italy for, and where they now attend a mega-church and get paid to convert grad student instructors and faculty as part of an ongoing mission to "influence the influencers."

Speaking of Christian influence in Colorado, check out this article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4091956.stm

27 July, 2005 14:02  
Blogger P-BS-Watcher said...

See Desperate Situations and The Suicide Strategy.

27 July, 2005 16:25  
Blogger good golly said...

why do all the crazy christian right wingers read your blog?

29 July, 2005 11:12  
Blogger Julie O. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

30 July, 2005 15:30  
Blogger Julie O. said...

I'm a recent transplant to Colorado, though my husband's from here, and I have the great pleasure to reside in Crazy Tom Tancredo's District.

I think Colorado is pretty awesome, especially having lived in Florida for a few years. I can't get over how sweet the air is here.

Anyway, Colorado is a much more blue-friendly state than any in the South, which is another reason I feel happier here.

30 July, 2005 15:32  
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