Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hey Wisconsin! Are You Watching This??

I grew up in the American Midwest State of  Wisconsin.  Yet I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the  Western U.S. State of Idaho.  It is a beautiful place.  Wikipedia says ..

Idaho is in the northwestern region of the United States. The 14th largest, and the 7th least densely populated of the 50 United States. The largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state.

Idaho is a mountainous state with an area larger than that of all of New England. Idaho's nickname is the "Gem State", because nearly every known type of gemstone has been found there.In addition, Idaho is one of only two places in the world where star garnets can be found in any significant quantities, the other being India. Idaho is sometimes called the "Potato State" owing to its popular and widely distributed crop. The state motto is Esto Perpetua (Latin for "Let it be forever").

Idaho is also where my Mother was born and grew up. Where both my parents went to University and where to this day, I have a large number of relatives. It is also where,   as a young child my family would often go for Summer Vacation, to visit my Grandmother, my Aunt and assorted cousins. The three day car trip was always exciting for me, travelling along interstate highway I-80, across the center of the United States, over the Continental Divide and into the Rocky Mountains.

A highlight was always visiting  the area of Southern Idaho where my Mom spent most of her Childhood.  A beautiful area long the Snake River  known as  "Thousand Springs"

I have wonderful memories of my childhood visits to Idaho, when my Grandmother later moved to Wisconsin a few years later, I was thrilled to have her closer, but part of me missed those trips out West to visit her. Yet as I got older I became aware of the social and political climate in Idaho and found my sense of nostalgia, and desire to go back and visit seriously diminished. Idaho like many parts of the Western and Southern United States is culturally very conservative.

Anti-LGBT sentiment, white supremacist groups and ultra conservative "militia movements" had  found measures of support in the cultural landscape of the Gem State. Attempts to legislate bigotry into law have been as recent as February of this year. The Young Turks have the disturbing details...

So I had pretty much given up on the idea of ever visiting Idaho again. Certainly the idea of going there with my Husband was hard to envision. I had less concerns visiting Malaysia, a Muslim country that I have been to three times, and will be going to again in two weeks, than I did about going back to Idaho. Then, yesterday this happened.

Wait..  Gay Marriage is now legal in Idaho!!?? ,  but NOT in my home state of Wisconsin,    So just to be clear,   Idaho is now more progressive and has greater civil equality for its citizens than Wisconsin does.  If Eric and I move back to the United States we would have more civil rights living in Idaho than in Wisconsin.

Not only Idaho, but  as I highlighted  in my previous post, the ultra conservative Southern State of Arkansas now has greater civil equality for its citizens than Wisconsin does.

The marriage equality map of the United States now looks like this...  Green means gay marriage is allowed. Red means it isn't. Yellow means that a same-sex marriage prohibition in the state has been overturned but put on hold pending appeal..

One wonders what the great Progressive voice Robert "Fighting Bob" LaFollette would think of his home state now.  The State with the motto "Forward"  is now numbered among the most backward states in America.  

Meanwhile in 2014  Wisconsin's Republican Governor, Scott Walker  believes  that enshrining discrimination into the  State's constitution is part of a "healthy balance" on civil rights for  Wisconsin's citizens

Wisconsin is truly on track to become  "The Mississippi of the North".

Forward?  Not so much.

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