What I have to say about the state of politics in New Jersey today is too much for a series of Facebook rants, and, frankly, too much for this blog. So I’m just going to talk about two big ballot issues eating the brains of Jersey residents as we lead up to a critical election in which about 9% of the electorate will bother to vote.
As always, Republicans remain in lockstep on made-up issues that affect no one but have the communications prowess to convince their base and beyond that these are the only things that matter:
Windmills and trans youth.
Yesterday I took in a morning run in Ocean City to enjoy the beach breeze and no less than 500 township-sanctioned signs convincing residents that BIG WINDMILL IS GOING TO RUIN YOUR LIFE.
Here’s the many things about this:
So, first, no, it would not look that big. It would be specks on the horizon. And, frankly, even if it would look like a God-sized toilet, do you remember what the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy looked like? Because those are literally your two choices.
Residents are being bilked into believing some absurd NIMBY sentiment about wind power being “bad” when the alternative is that their houses will continue to lose value due to extreme weather, their insurance will go through the roof, and then, finally, they along with their property will be swallowed by the ocean.
Trump will surely show up in New Jersey before November to GOTV sobbing about “the beautiful whales,” when he and his family literally hunt endangered species for sport. And for the millionth time, WINDMILLS ARE NOT KILLING WHALES – CLIMATE CHANGE IS.
And if you are brave enough to admit all of this is insane, your neighbors will feed you to sharks.
Speaking of sharks, let’s talk about something seemingly unrelated but is the second piece of Republican messaging teeth-sinking that also includes airplane banners at the beach – trans kids! Who doesn’t want to see this on your family beach day!
I don’t need to rehash all the reasons the attacks on trans children and the people who support them are gross, wrong, and ignorant. So let’s just talk about the most recent poll that not just Republicans – but Democrats – are using as an excuse to walk back support for basic human rights.
Now, I’m not saying that polls are always wrong. But I DO REMEMBER 2016. Polls are deeply flawed. And this new one from Monmouth University about New Jersey’s view of gender identity seems wildly offbase.
If we are to believe this poll is accurate, 37% percent of DEMOCRATS do not believe trans people exist. And only one-third of the general New Jersey population feels that someone can identify differently from the sex they were assigned at birth. That would actually put New Jersey BEHIND the rest of the nation (according to recent Pew Research, 40% feel gender is not necessarily determined by birth and that includes people from far more right-leaning America).
To be frank, I don’t know that politicians should really care if people believe trans people exist because – they exist. They also face an extremely high suicide rate, particularly when not supported by their families and their communities. I imagine these plane banners don’t help. And, I would also imagine that the majority of people in New Jersey and across America would prefer to keep these children ALIVE. I have to believe that.
I have to believe that most people in New Jersey want to keep trans kids alive just like I have to believe most people in New Jersey can accept the distant sight of a windmill in the distance if it means their home won’t be ravaged by the ocean.
The saddest part is that since 2016 and especially since COVID, the amount of people willing to accept lies as fact has grown exponentially. Fringe conspiracies have become kitchen table issues. And the more “conservatives” push these lies for votes, you would think the more Democrats would push back. But, sadly, at least in New Jersey, that is not the case.
My opinion is that Democrats, for the most part, are doing things wrong here. Letting the Republicans push you to the right does not energize the base of women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. Accepting nonsense as “something you will look further into” legitimizes “alternative facts” and does nothing to get out the vote among the people who rely on this party to protect their basic human rights – and their planet.
If I was in charge of political communications for everyone in the state they would all be screaming ABORTION and GUN SAFETY and flashing photos of hurricane and wildfire wreckage from climate change. But they seem to think playing it safe will win votes. I hope they are right and I am wrong. Because no matter how pissed I am, I will ALWAYS vote for Democrats to protect the most marginalized among us from full-fledged fascism.