True Tales of Indiana: An Attack With a Caveat and a Note on Gas Tax Relief:
As the Hoosier state votes today on the Sherman's March to the Democratic nomination for President, the Rude Pundit figures now's as good a time as any to out himself: he lived in that hideous shithole of a state for over half a decade, and if Barack Obama wins the primary today, it's because someone told the backwards ass rednecks hunched over in the toxic ditches that bisect the poisonous landscape of Indiana that black people would be at the voting booths waiting to shiv any whitey who dared show his inbred face. Don't worry, though. As Hillary Clinton assures us, these racist motherfuckers are the salt of the earth.
Ah, fond memories of living in a town northeast of Indianapolis, of car rides past homes that that flew the Confederate flag on poles on their front lawns (and this was in a medium-sized city, not a small burg), of towns with black populations so disenfranchised and isolated that they are practically invisible, of migrant workers regularly abused by employers when violence wasn't being committed against them by townspeople. And that's not even to get into how flat and gray and ugly most of the state is for most of the year, after harvest and before planting season.
When a large swath of a state is populated by people from the Appalachian region who migrated northward for factory jobs decades ago and then those factory jobs dry the fuck up for the most part, what you are left with is a bunch of resentful crackers looking to play "where's the scapegoat?" Thank Christ that Gary is in the state, because that violent rat's nest gives whites all the ammunition they need for hating blacks all around the state.
You wanna hear stories? Howzabout a black friend harassed by cops while driving through small towns in the state looking for the Rude Pundit's place out in the country? (Hoosier cred: the Rude Pundit lived in an apartment in a barn on a working corn farm. No shit. When the farmer's wife left him for a black guy, he told the Rude Pundit he was going to kill himself.) Howzabout another black friend who was told while singing in front of his all-white band at a bar that he needed to get the hell out of there as soon as the gig was over because some of the guys in the parking lot were "preparing a noose"? And that wasn't a metaphorical noose. He and his band were followed out of town by a couple of cars until they reached the town line.
All that and the headquarters of the KKK, plus Nazis, militias, and anti-immigrant "patriot" groups. There's a lot of white motherfuckers in that state who are sportin' a chubby for some cross-burning.
So there's about a flea fart's chance in a hurricane that Barack Obama can win the Democratic primary. The Rude Pundit's spent time in American places from sea to shinin' goddamn sea, north and south, and he's never been anywhere as openly, proudly ignorant and racist as Indiana. The biggest shame is that the nascent bigotry of many of the whites in the state has been left out of the discussions on who will vote for whom. And if Hillary Clinton wins and if she burns down Denver to win the nomination, there's no fuckin' way that state'll vote for her against shiny war hero and white guy John McCain. If a Democrat wins Indiana in the presidential election, the Republicans are well and truly fucked as a party.
Caveat: Of course, of course, the Rude Pundit knows many, many wonderful, kind, lovely, smart, and wise people white and not-white in Indiana. And he has sat around with many of them, Hoosier and not-Hoosier, to bitch about how fuckin' backwards the state is in regards to race (and, until last year, daylight savings time). A bunch of them have gotten the fuck out of there, too. Also, like a goddamn oasis in a savage desert, the tiny, tiny town of Redkey has one of the best places in the country to see amazing live blues music.
Regarding the gas tax holiday: the Rude Pundit lived in Indiana in 2000, a gubernatorial election year, when gas prices were threatening to break the terrifying $2.00 mark. Governor Frank O'Bannon, up for re-election, used a little-known emergency power to suspend the state gas tax for two months in the summer. It was opportunistic and amazingly timed, just when gas prices had peaked and were about to decline anyways.
Initially, the prices dropped, and, yes, it was a relief, mostly psychological, to pay a buck or two less a fill-up. But, almost imperceptibly at first, the prices started to creep up, as the station owners and the oil companies took advantage of the price elasticity like a well-hung leather stud eventually works his fist into the pliable anus of the twink bent over the corduroy couch. The Attorney General tried to keep monitoring prices, but by the time any action could be taken, the holiday, even after a short extension for maximum political benefit, was over and gas prices in general had taken a dive, so nobody cared.