Barack Obama’s first big political moment was at the Democratic convention in 2004 where he gave a heartfelt oration about the differences between red states and blue states:
The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states: red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.
It’s a nice sentiment, and there’s a lot of truth to it. But if there’s been a vague sense that cultures in America are diverging, well, there’s a reason for that. Blue states increasingly look down their noses at a lot of red state behavior—e.g., hunting and believing what the Bible says. As Obama famously told some donors four years after that big speech, people in the red states “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”
But say this for the so-called bitter clingers: Their folkways are rooted in long traditions. Objectionable blue state behavior, on the other hand, often looks like sheer lunacy with no historical precedent. Take this very earnest New York Times story about the hot new trend in urban parenting:
When Jada Shapiro decided to raise her daughter from birth without diapers, for the most part, not everyone was amused. Ms. Shapiro scattered little bowls around the house to catch her daughter’s offerings, and her sister insisted that she use a big, dark marker to mark the bowls so that they could never find their way back to the kitchen. . . . Ms. Shapiro, who is a doula, a birth and child-rearing coach, says it is practically now a job qualification to at least be able to offer diaper-free training as an option to clients. Caribou Baby, an “eco-friendly maternity, baby and lifestyle store” on the border of artsy Greenpoint and Williamsburg, has been drawing capacity crowds to its diaper-free “Meetups,” where parents exchange tips like how to get a baby to urinate on the street between parked cars.
Not surprisingly, the Times finds pediatricians are deeply skeptical of this approach. And that’s not the only ridiculous blue state idea The Scrapbook encountered while reading the papers last week. There was this from the San Francisco Chronicle:
San Francisco may have banned the exposure of genitalia, but that’s not stopping the Department of Public Health from bringing back its giant Healthy Penis. Yes, the beloved six-foot-tall mascot for safe sex is literally coming out of the closet and will be back at parades and other city events—and this time he comes with free penis-shaped stress toys! The health department sparked some controversy when it debuted the three characters, all penises but in different hues, back in 2002. But the penis costumes—worn by health department staff and aimed at encouraging gay and bisexual men to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases—became popular and have been copied in San Jose and Cleveland.
Who needs to take the kids to Disneyland when you live in progressive America? After your child is done defecating between parked cars, he can watch the STD parade and get his picture taken with a multicultural array of giant penis mascots. Taxpayer-subsidized fun for the whole family.