More Suicide in “Values Voters” States

Your values are killing us

Your values are killing us

Values voter.

That’s what you’re called if you vote your principles on gay rights and reproductive rights.

So long as you vote anti-gay and anti-choice, anyway.

Really?

Are those the only values? And are they good ones? 

  • Why is voting to deny gays and lesbians equal rights a value, while voting to defend their rights is not?
  • Why is voting against women’s right to control their bodies a value? When girls and women end up dying from illegal abortions?

Are these folks called “values voters” because they vote “morals” over “pocketbooks”?

Yet plenty of wealthy liberals do, too. They vote for higher minimum wages, stronger unions, and they vote to raise their own taxes so that others may have a safety net if they hit hard times, or as they age (medicare, social security).

Why are progressive ethics seemingly invisible?

I got to thinking about this while looking over research that finds teen suicide rates are higher where values voters live.

According to a Columbia University study, suicide attempts by both gay and straight teens are more common in politically conservative areas, even among kids who weren’t bullied or depressed.

The difference in suicide rates might have something to do with differences in conservative and progressive principles.

Conservatives focus on tradition and authority.

Progressives recognize the worth and dignity of each person, whether female or male; rich or poor, black, white, or brown; gay, straight, bi or trans.

No wonder teens are less likely to commit suicide in communities that hold these ideals.

Interestingly, the Bible — a major source of conservative morals — contains a progressive message… or a conservative message, depending on what your read.

True, Leviticus 18:22 says, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman,” which many interpret as banning homosexuality. (Yet Leviticus 20:13 deems killing the proper punishment. And I don’t know anyone who insists on adhering to both points.)

At the same time, Jesus declared these to be the greatest commandments: Love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).

When it’s all about love and the golden rule — good progressive values — there will surely be less suicide.

I’m on vacation, this is a rerun.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Gays and Women with Boyfriends Shouldn’t Teach (It Limits Freedom!): The Gospel of Jim DeMint
My Son Wants to Be Snow White for Halloween
Men: More Homophobic Than Women?

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on January 2, 2015, in feminism, LGBT+, psychology, reproductive rights, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I get frustrated with the politics in this country and the reasons laws and politicians end up in office. And “progressive” – yes, definitely. I truly believe that it’s the interpretation of the Bible that is conservative- and also dated- times have changed- what was working interpretation hundreds of years ago- doesn’t necessarily apply to modern times. I mean, even the dictionary gets updated on a regular basis in terms of adding new words and shifting meanings. The Jesus I pray to is all about peace love and happiness. Happy New Year, Georgia. Grateful for your work – (sidenote): inspired at how you manage to delve into so many subjects on your blog and they all seem to fit perfectly, side by side with each other.

    • Thanks Diahann. Maybe the posts fit side-by-side because they are based on what I teach in my women’s studies classes. And I agree with you on the other points. Plus, the Bible is contradictory. There’s nothing sexist or homophobic in anything Jesus said or did, The opposite in fact. When there’s a contradiction I say go with Jesus.

  2. In the UK and Australia there are more suicides when there is a Conservative Government in power.

  3. “At the same time, Jesus declared these to be the greatest commandments: Love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).”

    Moses proclaimed the same way before Jesus. Also, love the stranger for Jews were once strangers and hated.

  4. Interesting correlation between the variables (if there is indeed an empirical ground to prove it!). Best wishes and HNY Georgia, Aquileana 😀

    • On this, the evidence is correlational because the only causal proof you can gain is through the experimental method — and you can’t do an experiment with this sort of thing — totally unethical. And of course, there is some philosophical debate as to whether you can prove anything is causal, if you get right down to it.

  5. I can’t find where I posted it, I sent you a moving video of stuart scott speaking at the espys about his battle with cancer and his daughters. I remember you appreciated it, but I don’t know where I put it. Remember this video? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl_0ieqSi7Q

    Anyway he passed away today I guess : (.

  6. This information makes me very sad for people who choose to end their own life because of factors that they feel out of their control. I wish society believed in the value of mental health more. I feel that many people are direct victims of these so called “value state voter” areas and feel deep depression as a result of a lack of acceptance. At the same time, I believe that this culture of hatred, inequality, and intolerance that is “value state voters” not only affect the obvious victims, gay people, women, etc. but EVERYONE who lives in a system of injustice. It is not possible to be a whole and complete person if you are oppressing other people, and the suicide rates in states such as this are indicative of poor mental health of both the directly oppressed, and also the communities where people are being oppressed. I believe in an underlying morality human beings are born with and when we go against our baser instincts of love and acceptance, our mental health suffers.

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