The brouhaha over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has turned the spotlight on two different kinds of red-state hate: first, the discriminatory policymaking that is an obvious specialty of red states, and, second, progressives’ tendency to show disdain for more conservative states. Sometimes, I wonder which is worse.
Almost immediately after Gov. Mike Pence signed the act, which could allow for-profit businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others perceived to threaten their religious beliefs, social media was aflame with recommendations on how to hit back. These only intensified with Monday’s sentencing of Indiana woman Purvi Patel for conflicting charges of feticide and neglect of a dependent. Some argued for pulling conferences or boycotting corporations headquartered in the Midwestern state; others promised ballot-box retribution.
There’s certainly a lot to be unhappy with Indiana’s government right now. And so it should be that Americans make noise and use all the weapons at their disposal—from their money to their voting power—to express their political views and opposition to onerous policies. But the way progressives are reacting to Indiana’s politics displays how comfortable people in blue states are with making counterproductive, harmful assumptions about more conservative states.