Saturday, September 27, 2008

Suicide, Slavery, and Sarah

Statistics don’t have to be dull if they involve sex, death, and chocolate. In one of those research quests that leads all over the web I stumbled onto which, about halfway down, has a table of states ranked by suicide rate. The US average is posted with the higher suicide rates above and the more life-embracing states below.

What stood out in this table is that the more do-in-yourself states toward the top of the table are pretty much “Red States” and guess where’s Numbah One? Our most suicidal population lives in Alaska! (Arizona ranks #11. On the other side of your presidential ballot, Illinois is #46 and Delaware ranks #34)

At the bottom of the list, the least suicidal states are the very Democratic turfs of New York (#50) and Massachusetts (#49), but wait! There is an even more Democratic – and less suicidal – population in Washington DC, happily at #51. Even California, famous as the state where dreams go to die of drug overdoses or a leap off the Golden Gate Bridge, is still at a life-affirming #42

Where’s the sex and chocolate here? Aside from the political implications – or maybe not so far aside – the Blue states are the one with the best chocolates and more relaxed sexual attitudes, and maybe those also help people to feel life is really worth living! There really is a serious connection here: It used to be common for a girl who “got into trouble” to end her life rather than face the stigma, and so-called “honor killings” happen even today in America. While it seems medieval, and thank God it’s become more rare, suicide of pregnant teens is still around. Even while that has become rarer, suicide among gay teens is still horribly high. GLBT children raised in homophobic cultures are so taught to hate themselves, so trapped in isolation, that they are much more prone to depression and suicide.

Another interesting correlation should be obvious enough, as the current geographic division is based on Nixon’s racist “Southern Strategy,” but the maps make it clear at:
Generally speaking the old slave states and territories are now “red states” and the “blue states” were indeed those that put their boys in blue uniforms against the grays.

Alaska isn’t on this map, but friends who’ve lived in Alaska report that it is indeed very racist. The Alaskan Independence Party quotes “President Jefferson Davis” urging in 1881 to preserve the struggle for the Confederacy. This atavistic bunch claims Sarah Palin as one of their own. She’s not a member, but her husband was from 1995 – 2002, until she got high enough in GOP circles for his membership in another party to be a tad embarrassing. Sarah’s cheery welcoming address to this clan of neo-Confederates is available on Youtube as are several clips of some AIPs enthusing over her progress in politics. As much as Michelle Obama has been grilled for her associations, it would seem only fair to ask Alaska’s “First Dude” about his links to these secessionists. Give him enough rope, and he just might hang himself. Just a figure of speech, First Dude! Don’t boost the stats!

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