"By their fruits shall ye know them." Jesus said that in his Sermon on the Mount. Of course he was referring to false prophets and not to politics, but his wisdom does apply in many walks of life, and we can certainly apply this to modern politics.
True patriots do what is best for the country The only problem is, there is always disagreement on what comprises what is best. Fortunately, we now have tools to help us decide the better way to go. We can now see the results of both conservative and liberal policies by comparing the general condition of red and blue states. Please bear in mind that these are generalities, an exposition of how well the policies of conservative and liberal politicians have served their respective constituents, the American people, as a whole, and will not apply in every single case.
Let's start with my personal favorite: health care:
MSNBC pointed out today that there are fourteen states where at least twenty percent of the workforce now has no health insurance. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas. Even a casual glance will show that the great majority of these are red states. Here is an interactive map that shows what states have more uninsured workers, and it weighs heavily against red states.
But there are those who scoff at health insurance, so let's include this list of states ranked by life expectancy. Again, the blue states are much more likely to rank highest, and the red states dominate the bottom of the list. Lowest on the list is the District of Columbia at #51, but #37 through #50 are red states.
Of course, health insurance doesn't tell the whole story. So here's another list of healthiest states. This list was compiled by considering many factors including the rate of high school graduation, the violent crime rate, the percentage of children in poverty, the per capita public health funding, ready access to primary care, the disparity of mortality rates within the state, the premature death rate, the obesity rate, the preventable hospitalization rate, and rate of infectious disease. Once more, the top of the list is almost completely blue, and the bottom of the list is almost completely red.
Clearly, there is a correlation between having health insurance, a longer life expectancy, a healthier life, and whether one resides in a red or blue state.
Now let's look at education:
Here are several national maps showing states' educational levels by county. Some areas of blue states are bad, and some areas of red states are very good, but overall the results are heavily weighted against traditionally red states.
Clearly, there is a correlation between achieving a higher level of education, and whether one resides in a red or blue state.
Next we'll check on median household income:
This page on Wikipedia includes three tables of state rankings: by median household income, by per capita income, and by number of places with per capita income above the national average. As in the above references, blue states dominated the top of the lists, and the bottom of the lists were mostly red states.
Clearly, there is a correlation between achieving a higher level of education and whether one resides in a red or blue state.
"But we all know this is all because the red states pay so much in taxes that the politicians send to the blue states!" One could just hear the right-wing pundits taking such a line, but this table from the Census bureau clearly shows that the top ten recipients of federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are almost all red states…and the ten states that receive the LEAST federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are almost all blue!
Not only that, but this table of states ranked by combined state and local taxes paid as a percentage of per capita income once more shows that the blue states generally pay higher taxes and the red states pay generally lower taxes; one must also compare the health, life expectancy, and educational level of those blue states at the top of the list, and those red states at the bottom of the list.
Clearly, there is a correlation between having health insurance, living longer and healthier lives, having a higher level of education — paying more taxes to have these benefits — and whether one resides in a blue state or a red stat
But what about crime? Surely the soft-on-crime Democrats have brought the criminal justice system to its knees, right? Consider this quote from Wikipedia's page on crime in the United States:
With few exceptions, there also seems to be a strong correlation between median household income and crime rates. In addition to having the country's lowest crime rates, New England states also had the country's highest median household income, while the Southern states have the lowest. Almost all of the nation's wealthiest twenty states, which included northern mid-western and western states such as Wisconsin and California, had crime rates below the national average. The nation's more dangerous states, such as Texas, Arizona and Arkansas in turn ranked among those with a household income below the national median.
Blue states generally have a higher median income; thus, they generally have a lower crime rate.
I found a news publication stating that the high murder rate in the South is a key factor behind America's high homicide rate in comparison with other democratic, industrialized nations; states topping the murder rate were: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina.
But the article was posted in 1998 – perhaps it's no longer accurate. So, I checked the FBI's most current statistics. The South still had the highest violent crime rate. In fact, while the national violent crime rate per 100,000 stood at about 466, the ONLY region that was above the national rate was the South. The South's rate? It was just over 549, or about fifteen percent above the national average. And the same thing applied to the murder rate; the South was the only region higher than the national average, at about sixteen percent above the national average.
And then there's the death penalty. This table shows that every year since 1990, the states that do not have the death penalty have had lower murder rates than the states that do; this page from the same site shows that almost all of the states without the death penalty are blue states.
What part of the country is the reddest, the strongest against gun control, the strongest for the death penalty, and has the highest murder rate? The South.
Clearly, there is a correlation between living in a safer place, and whether one resides in a blue state or a red state. It's not true in every case, but generally speaking the correlation is true.
But the conservatives stand for family values! We hear this all the time from the right-wing pundits and Republican politicians, so I checked the divorce rate by state; once more, we find the numbers show something different. The divorce rate in red states is generally higher than in blue states, even if we don't count traditionally red-state Nevada.
Clearly, there is a correlation between the success of marriages within the population, and whether that population resides in a blue state or a red state.
Good grief! Are the liberals better for America than the conservatives in every case? Maybe not. I checked this site concerning illicit drug use, and it seems that, generally speaking, drug use is more prevalent in blue states than in red states.
Clearly there is a correlation between the likelihood of use of illicit drugs, and whether one resides in a blue state or a red state.
So there we have it. Those who live in blue states generally live longer, healthier lives, have higher levels of education, pay higher taxes to afford those benefits, live in safer communities, have more stable marriages — and are more likely to do drugs. That last seems like a small price to pay when compared to all the rest that clearly add up to the strong indication that liberal policies are better for the health and general welfare of the American people. Any conservatives who have read this entire article must see the numbers, and must see that conservative policies are NOT what is best for America. LIBERAL policies are what is best for America, as the overall data clearly show.
Seems to me that it's better to live where the people are healthier and live longer, have higher levels of education, make more money, have more stable marriages, and have safer neighborhoods, even if they generally have a somewhat higher rate of drug usage. At the risk of diminishing the effect of this article, I've just got to say that maybe Dylan was right after all: "everybody must get stoned!" But even this statistic (and much of our world's-worst prison population) would go away with the legalization of marijuana!
Again, "by their fruits shall ye know them."
To the conservatives, seeing the above proof that liberal policies are better for the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of Americans, I ask each of you how you can possibly call yourselves true American patriots if you continue to support the conservative policies that are clearly causing the red states to be left behind the blue states?Powered by Sidelines