I know that not all of our readers here are Southerners. However, I am not writing to pick a fight, nor will I go into some boring rehash on the Civil War. I simply want to address a phenomenon that permeates throughout our society. That is, the totally acceptable bigotry towards those who are from the South and sound like they are from the South.
I recall watching a debate between Karl Rove and James Carville. Rove made the statement that one Bush’s biggest obstacles was that he was a Texan, who spoke like a Texan. He said there was a real disdain in certain parts of our country for the kind of accent Bush had. Carville jumped quickly to point out that Clinton was from Arkansas and had his own accent. I don’t remember Rove’s rebuttal to that point but it was a weak one. What he should have said was that Clinton was forgiven of his curse because 1). He believed in late-term abortion, 2). He had an extra-marital affair(s), and 3). He was a liberal Democrat.
But, those in the South who are conservative and Republican have no chance at recompense, especially those who actually seek the presidency of a nation their ancestors fought against. A Southern accent is all the smoke needed for the liberal establishment to light the fire. Because, from the windows of their limousines, where there is a Southern accent, there is racism, sexism, backwardness and Right-wing extremism. It means fire hoses and police dogs. Of course, the pinky-in-the-air northern liberals cannot directly attribute these negative images to any modern Southern Republican; though you can’t say the same thing about Democrats, Southern or otherwise. It only needs to be associated and the liberal press will do the rest. You’ll remember Joe Wilson’s outburst to Obama. The now infamous, “You Lie!” It didn’t matter that Obama was in fact lying. Joe Wilson is from South Carolina and a Republican to boot. He has no right to challenge President Obama: a self-proclaimed black American and a very liberal Democrat.
Surrounded by middle-aged white guys — a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club — Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” at a president who didn’t.
But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!
The outburst was unexpected from a milquetoast Republican backbencher from South Carolina who had attracted little media attention. Now it has made him an overnight right-wing hero, inspiring “You lie!” bumper stickers and T-shirts.
The congressman, we learned, belonged to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, led a 2000 campaign to keep the Confederate flag waving above South Carolina’s state Capitol and denounced as a “smear” the true claim of a black woman that she was the daughter of Strom Thurmond, the ’48 segregationist candidate for president. Wilson clearly did not like being lectured and even rebuked by the brainy black president presiding over the majestic chamber.
It is true that the South is a chauvinist society with its own history – good and bad. There is a ready supply of Marlboro, Skoal, and Budweiser – don’t forget church. It is male-dominated, chivalrous, and the honor code still exists. Only instead of dueling – though that hasn’t entirely died out – there are fist fights and a high degree of male-on-male violence. It is a land where many men still build their own homes. It is a pride thing and generates respect. My dad built our home back in Louisiana. It’s still there. My best friend is currently building his, too; in fact, just a few miles away. It’s rural and traditional. It is culturally defined and guarded. It is Southern culture; therefore, the people there makeup the Southern race.
For those who do not live there often criticize these qualities. It seems alien and soo last century. They resent the fact that it has remained, to some degree, insular and its identity unaffected by increasing centralization, political correctness, and the cosmopolitan trends of late. However, these things make the South the nation’s warrior class. It is because of these defining attributes that allows the South to man our armies and be more productive despite making considerably less than its unionized counterparts. It is a land of free labor, with right to work laws, and low taxes.
This scorn must be because we don’t contribute to the country’s greater good then. But 35% of active-duty military come from the south. Of the US troop casualties in Afghanistan, 47% were from the south, and from Iraq, 38% (Deep prejudice about the deep south).
Ann Coulter put it this way about Southern heritage:
Liberals love to cluck their tongues at such admiration for the military — which they consider a redneck trait, almost as bad as slavery itself. The military ethic of the South does place a premium on fighting, fraternity-like rituals, respect for authority, chivalry and virulent patriotism. But whether that ethic is your cup of tea or not, it was disproportionately Southerners — some wearing Confederate battle flags under their uniforms — who formed the backbone of the military that threw back Adolf Hitler.
Pride in being good fighters is not an endorsement of slavery.
With all that being said, ridicule for Southern whites, especially poor Southern whites, “are the only ethnic group in the country that it is permissible to mock in polite company.” And it makes for great fun, too!
This “acceptable prejudice” is told from a Liberal’s perspective.
Liberal prejudices are against three related groups: evangelicals, whom we do not give the respect of other religious groups; Southerners, whom we hold guilty of uniquely wicked views and behavior, as well as stupidity, evangelicalism and talking funny; Texans, we say, combine the wickedness and corn pone dialect of Southerners with diabolical evils all their own. Since evangelicals in our own back yard tend to be invisible to us, let’s sum all of this up as a single bigotry, the prejudice of regionalism.
So instead of hearing and reading about Perry’s record as governor of Texas, and his appealing economic philosophy, voters will get a tour de force from the liberal establishment on Perry’s views of states’ rights, gay marriage, civil rights, welfare, religion and abortion. After all, aside from his accomplishments in Texas, his record is quintessentially conservative and rural. Smaller-government, less taxes and spending, personal responsibility, competition and “do more with what you have” are anathema to the liberal elite that run our bankrupt cities and dilapidated schools. There are no good answers that Perry can offer to any of those questions without sounding like a conservative regionalists and extremists. That will be the plan from the start. He can’t use “compassionate conservative” as Bush did to derail the attacks on Southern stereotypes. Perry will be contested at every turn as he works to spread his voting appeal outside of a region that so many powerful figures hate.
So remember that when the campaign against Perry and the South kicks off: These people are not interested in getting America back to work and making it strong and vibrant again. They are only interested in recreating it in their image. And people like Perry, and those who vote him are not a part of that image. This will not be an ordinary campaign for Perry as he will soon discover. He’ll have to promote his record while fending off a demented fifth-column of howling goons that is set aside specifically for candidates like him or Palin.
I have a feeling that the stench liberals plan to stir up in 2012 will reflect the health of our so-called “United” States.