Following Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) resounding loss to Senator-elect Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on December 6, the Daily Beast threw in the towel on the South, which it describes as a post-Democrat region lacking “tolerance, compassion, [and] civil decency.”
In short, the outlet asserts the South has no redeeming quality, and Democrats are better off without it.
According to the Daily Beast, things like “tolerance, compassion, [and] civic decency” were once present in the South, but have succumbed to “euthanasia” imposed by those who rejected Democrats at the ballot box. Now the South is just a “welfare moocher” full of “resentment” and backwardness–except for the northern portion of Virginia and a small section of Florida.
Yet reality stands in stark contrast to these descriptions of the South and of southern people.
For instance, contrast the outlet’s caustic statements on the South’s alleged lack of compassion with the real-life, charitable habits of southerners. According to a 2012 report in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, seven of the top ten most-charitable states in the union are in the South: Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, and North Carolina.
And when you look at the bottom of the list, seven of the ten least-charitable states are in the North: New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire.
And what about “civil decency”? If service in the military is any indicator of civic decency, the South is far ahead of the North here, as well.
The Heritage Foundation has previously shown that Northeast and North Central states are “underrepresented” in “military enlisted recruits-to-population ratios,” while states in the South and Southwest are “overrepresented.” In other words, the South’s “military enlisted recruits-to-population ratios” are out of whack not for a lack of “civic decency,” but because southerners sign up to fight for their country in larger numbers than their population numbers justify on paper.
As for “tolerance,” was it not the Republican Party that defeated the intolerant, slave-owning Democrat Party in the Civil War? Did not the Republican Party rein in the intolerant, Democrat-founded KKK following that war and then fight, via Reconstruction, for educating newly freed slaves and free blacks who were moving to the South?
Contrary to what the Daily Beast claims, southern Democrat practices and policies have long been a hotbed for intolerance. This was explicit in slavery and related practices, and it was no less real–albeit implicit–in LBJ’s War on Poverty.
So the South has not let go of “tolerance, compassion, [and] civic decency” in voting Democrats out of office. Rather, it has secured and moved to protect these qualities by driving the remaining Democrats from their strongholds.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.