The south has long been a stronghold for GOP candidates. I understand that there are stereotypes for every region, but none convey such strong images as the south – the racist, gun slinging, pick up truck driving, Bible quotin’, tobacco chewin’, cousin-kissin’bubba is standard fare in Hollywood.
Why does this stereotype carry over in to politics? Why does the left feel the need to perpetuate this idea of the south as racist, backwards rednecks? The answer is relatively simple – they need a counterpoint to their own racist ideologies. If they perpetuate the image of the south as irrelevant and racist, then their own hypocritical ideals are overshadowed. If our left wingers believe that the right is so full of racism, bigotry, and general intolerance, then they can rest a little easier.
Here goes. There has been much discussion of what Obama’s election meant for the US. Are we now a truly post-racial society? No. If we were, his race would not have been such an issue. There is no doubt in my mind that many people overlooked what he said based on their desire for a black president. And the media bought right into what Obama was selling. Voting for someone BECAUSE they are black is a judgment based on skin color – is this not the very definition of racism?
I would also argue, on a more individual level, that funding and benefits given based on skin color are also racist. Why should someone from the same economic background as me receive more money based on the color of their skin? Yet it happens all the time. Minority education grants are standard fare in colleges. There is no equivalent grant for being white. Affirmative action is just a part of our culture. Companies have to fill their quotas of minority employees – how about letting them hire as they see fit? I don’t want people to hand me jobs because I’m a woman. This does nothing but compromise my credibility, as well as the strength of the company I work for. If I don’t deserve a position, they shouldn’t give it to me. Period. I could go on and on, but I am simply pointing out the inequity.
So what is the reality of the south? It contains half of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the country. Texas consistenty boasts the strongest state economy in the country. Where is all this growth coming from? Michigan. Western New York. Ohio. Pennsylvania. The dying economies of the north have driven people to their thriving southern counterparts for work. The cost of living remains below national average. Take a look at this graph:
Notice something? Yeah, the bluer the state, the higher the cost of living (with exception of Alaska, which has extenuating circumstances, since it’s not attached to the US and all…) Housing is cheaper. Taxes are lower. In fact, Tennessee, Alaska, and Texas are among the only states left without a state income tax.
Yes, the south has it’s problems. There are factions that are backwards, but no more so than anywhere else in the country. The racism and bigotry of the 1800′s is a thing of the past. We’re not all homophobic religious fanatics. I don’t hang out at KKK meetings. On the whole, we are educated, industrialized, thriving cities, full of people who don’t want to leave and relocated northerners who got smart. I would never choose to live anywhere else.
Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?