Context for the Race to the Stone Age (How points were figured)
To keep tabs on which state is running faster to the Stone Age, there is a scoring system, in which a state earns a certain amount of points for some ass-backwards news or displays of stupidity among its government or just its inhabitants.
Here are the possible actions and criteria through which a state gets points in the Race to the Stone Age:
- Example of general stupidity or backwards-ness of a state’s inhabitants (e.g. bumper stickers, shirts or license plates displaying love for certain repugnant candidates, buying into the Obama birther thing, something targeting a race, women, gays, etc., or any other teabagger behavior): 1 point.
- A legislator introduces legislation targeting minorities, women, GLBTQTIA+, labor or public education to committee (the first step in the legislative process): 1 point.
- Mass gathering of conservatives and/or bigots independent of a GOP campaign event (e.g. tea party crowd, protest in favor of bigoted legislation, etc.): 2 points.
- Noteworthy bigoted or uncivilized behavior from a crowd (e.g. cheering executions or deaths of people with no insurance, booing homosexual soldiers and birth control, riots in support of a clear wrongdoer). This one CAN include incidents at campaign events: 2 points.
- Bigoted, classist, fascist or anti-education legislation (targeting minorities, women, GLBTQTIA+, labor or public education) passes committee and makes its way to the floor of a legislative chamber: 2 points.
- Bigoted/classist/fascist/anti-education legislation passes one chamber: 3 points.
- State government official or member of Congress representing a state does/says something really embarrassing (this can include interviews letting his/her bigotry show, or disrespecting the President on a visit): 3 points.
- Bigoted political ad: 3 points.
- “General embarrassment factor” that can be tacked on for something especially silly or tacky that makes the state as a whole look awful: 3 points.
- Act of domestic terrorism: 4 points.
- Violent police act (not resulting in death): 4 points.
- Bigoted/classist/fascist/anti-education legislation passes the second chamber: 4 points. (Note, in the case of Nebraska, which has a unicameral legislature, we don’t want to let it off the hook for only having one house, so we’d award 7 points for it passing the legislature.)
- Local or county government within the state enacts bigoted/classist/fascist/anti-education ordinances: 4 points.
- Legislation that would’ve done something positive for civil rights (e.g. gay marriage legalization), women’s health, education, etc., either fails in the legislature or gets vetoed by the governor: 4 points.
- Bigoted/classist/fascist/anti-education legislation becomes law (either signed by the governor, or legislature overrides the governor’s veto, or via popular referendum). This can include executive orders from the governor, or state school board policies, as well: 5 points.
- Law that does something positive for civil rights (e.g. gay marriage legalization), women’s health, education, etc., gets repealed: 5 points.
- Political candidate with a well documented history of being bigoted, classist, corrupt, etc. wins an election in that state. (This can be primary or general election, state or federal election.): 5 points.
- Occurrence, trend or other such news that strongly hints at systemwide corruption (call it the “whole damn system is wrong” factor): 5 points.
- Questionable or wrongful execution, or police brutality resulting in death: 6 points.
Note that if you see mention of a bill or law, you will often notice point totals that don’t match the descriptions above. That’s because in the interest of convenience, I’m factoring all the steps of the legislative process into just one omnibus score. (ex: A bill that’s on the floor of the first chamber has a +3 omnibus to cover the +1 from introduction and +2 from making it out of committee, a bill that’s passed one chamber +6, a bill that’s passed both chambers +10, and a law that made it to the books +15.)
Also, because I don’t want to be negative all the time, I’ll recognize when states do the right thing. In that case points will be subtracted from your state for the following:
- Noteworthy and publicized act of person standing up against repugnant politician (e.g. The Bistro in Knoxville against Campfield, the New Mexico hairdresser against Gov. Martinez), or a person or entity bucking the trend of retrogressive thought in their locale or institution: Subtract 1 point.
- Significant turnout at a socially positive or progressive event: Subtract 2 points.
- Especially defiant acts by legislators or state judges against retrogressive agendas (e.g. Wisconsin’s Democratic state senators leaving the state in protest against Walker, Texas judge refusing to conduct marriages): Subtract 3 points.
- Local/county government within the state passes positive/progressive ordinances or repeals retrogressive ones: Subtract 4 points.
- Getting a politician with a well documented history of being bigoted, classist, corrupt, etc., out of office (either via election, recall or impeachment), or in a national election (e.g. presidential), voting against that politician: Subtract 5 points.
- Legislation that does something positive for civil rights (e.g. gay marriage legalization), women’s health, education, etc., becomes law: Subtract 15 points. (This represents the total of the whole legislative process.)
- Bigoted/classist/fascist/anti-education law gets repealed via the legislative process, referendum or state judicial action: Subtract 15 points. (NOTE: This does NOT apply if a federal judge strikes the law down, because in that case it is out of the hands of the state.)