Marvin's Window: Geographical stereotypes seem a bit silly

Toni Weddle, left, and Kingman City Clerk Charlene Ware check paperwork for the March 9 city council and mayor elections.

It will be Ware's last election cycle because she is retiring April 1.

(Miner photo by Marvin Roberson)I looked out my window at the faint red glow above the mountains to the northwest that mark the location of Las Vegas, long known as Sin City.

The neon lights, traffic and crowds of people were evident everywhere when we visited there recently.

Sin must be a popular attraction if that is what draws so many people from all over the world to Las Vegas.

My first visit to Nevada during my high school years was to Reno, and even their neon lights, the gambling and the shows were more than interesting to my classmates and me.

Las Vegas is one of the world's most-visited cities and I describe it as an adult fantasyland.

Yet, we were nearly inundated by teens and children in several hotel casinos.

Sin City has become a family vacation attraction.

However, the biggest problem the city has encountered in recent years is the popularity of sin all across the United States.

That is if we still define any behavior as sinful or unacceptable.

If there is no sin, can Las Vegas still keep the title of Sin City?

Gambling is so popular that almost every Indian in America is now part owner of a casino.

The largest in the world is Foxworld on the East Coast.

They are everywhere.

"The biggest threat to Laughlin is casinos on Indian reservations," Don Laughlin said during an interview two years ago.

He has a point.

Indian casinos pop up on land purchased by Indians in downtown Detroit, Milwaukee and on reservations all over California.

Poker has moved from the backrooms to prime time television.

Play on the Internet is booming.

Sin, if we can define it, may be the major issue in the coming political season.

Religion and values, according to pollsters and political types, are the great divide that is more and more evident and influential in presidential elections.

In popular terms, the news media sound bite pits the "radical religious right" versus the "left wing liberals." The middle just isn't newsworthy.

The 2000 presidential election illustrated the divide with a map of the blue states and the red states.

Al Gore, supposedly the candidate of the sinful left wing liberals, won the blue states on each coast and across the northern part of the United States.

George Bush, described as the candidate of the "radical religious right," won the red states across the south and in the "heartland" of the Midwest.

Those states are supposed to be inhabited by the old fashioned rural people who go to church most Sundays.

People in the blue states skip church to hug trees and advocate gay marriage.

I have lived in nine states and visited 44.

The stereotypes put forward seem pretty silly to me.

Pollsters and writers still tell us there is a great divide in values by state that is reflected in the red and blue map of the 2000 election.

The Zogby poll indicates that in red states only 31 percent favor a right to abortion in all situations, 25 percent would legalize gay marriage and more than half own guns.

In the blue states 42 percent favor abortion in all situations, 42 percent favor same-sex marriages and only a third own guns.

In the red states won by Bush in 2000, people generally believe in absolute truths and that there is a right and wrong, pollsters say.

In the blue states won by Gore, the divide depicts the voters with a personal morality not necessary for anyone else.

Those folks seem to want their morals writ small and kept personal.

If I were a candidate, the first thing I would notice is that neither side contains a majority.

Someone else in both red and blue state voted for the candidates to produce a majority.

I look at the same numbers and use a different word to describe the results.

To me the numbers say the United States is diverse, not divided.

Our system allows a diversity of values, morality and opinions.

Within that allowance for diversity must be a core of common rules and laws that maintain enough structure and common understanding for the country to operate.

We must at least agree to all drive on the same side of the road most of the time.

We can divide along red and blue states at election time but must agree that red and green traffic signals have the same meaning for residents in all states.

We can go to Las Vegas and gamble and enjoy Sin City for a few days.

Then it is back to reality if we kept enough sanity while sinning to not bet all we own and enjoy on a short trip to fantasyland.

Only Michael Jackson can live in Neverland all the time.

Marvin Robertson is the Miner's business/city government reporter.