Monday, December 30, 2013

Post Square 12.29.13 ~ Red and Blue Are Not Complimentary Colors

Post Square 12.29.13 ~ Red and Blue Are Not Complimentary Colors
A Synopsis of a story in the Washington Post by Dan Balz

In America, 37 states have governors and both houses of their legislatures under the control of a single party. 23 are Republican (red) and 14 are Democratic (blue).

The red states favor limited government and traditional values. The blue states believe in the essential role of government and tend to be more liberal when it comes to cultural issues.

Concerning the major points of debate, the differences are as follows…
  • Obama’s Affordable Care Act ~ This law counted on each state to establish its own marketplace to facilitate the purchase of health insurance. All 27 Republican states opted not to, making it necessary for their residents to buy a plan through the federal government. The states that did form their own exchanges are largely Democratic or have a divided government.
  • Tax Policy ~ Of the 18 states that cut taxes last year, 16 have Republican governors and the other 2 have Republican legislatures. Democratic governors have raised taxes, particularly on the wealthy, rather than cut their budgets.
  • Education ~ Republican leaders push for charter schools in lieu of spending more on education. Democrats are for spending money on schools and supporting the teachers unions.
  • Minimum Wage ~ Blue states are for increasing it. Red states are not.
  • Labor Relations ~ Republican governors and legislatures have moved to restrict collective-bargaining rights for public employee unions and approve right-to-work legislation. Democratic leaders support organized labor.
  • Abortion ~ Red states are for abortion restrictions. Blue states are not.
  • Same-Sex Marriage ~ Now legal in 17 states, mostly Democratic, Republican legislatures are moving to put prohibitions against it in their constitutions.
  • Gun Rights ~ Since the Sandy Hook shooting, 8 states have placed new restrictions on gun ownership. Seven of these states are under Democratic control. The director of public affairs for the NRA is quoted in this Post article as saying that in the states that Republicans hold power the organization is able to “advance [their] agenda”.
  • Voting Laws ~ Many red states have moved toward laws that restrict voter registration, requiring ID cards and cutting back on early voting. In blue and some red states legislators are trying to make access to voting easier, with things such as online registration.

The degree of single-party control within our states is greater than at any time in more than fifty years. Not long ago governors were more inclined to work together with legislators from the other party, acknowledging the diversity of their citizenry. But now the elected officials are taking more actions to promote their party’s agenda.

Some analysts see the red-blue contrast as just what our Founding Fathers had in mind for us. It wasn’t the plan to have a country dominated by one or the other. Each state is free to design its own policies and we as individuals are free to live wherever we feel at home.

Drawing taken from a detail of a photo by Melina Mara
The Post cover photo is of a Texas rancher feeding his cattle. The detail is from a feedbag he’s holding. The words “THE LINE” stuck out when I was searching for a 1” square section to enlarge. It could apply to the line dividing our country. The finished drawing is 4” square and done with randomly chosen colored pencils. I was struck by the coincidence of choosing bright red and blue as some of the first pencils, then by the many grays that appeared. Could the universe be promoting the concept of some compromise, in the proverbial “gray areas” of thought? Maybe things don’t have to be just black and white, or in this case, red and blue.

1 comment:

mim said...

I love what you are doing!