Thu Jan 24, 2013, 05:59 PM
sheshe2 (20,588 posts)
"the current South is willing to cut off its own nose to show contempt for the government,"
I was struck by something in Ken's Monday night post about The South. He quotes Garry Wills, a son of The South, explaining how "the current South is willing to cut off its own nose to show contempt for the government," citing the case of Florida Gov. Rick Scott turning down $2 billion-plus for a high-speed rail system "that would have created jobs and millions of dollars in revenues" ("in this mood, his forebears would have turned down TVA") as well as encroachments like federal money for better health care (which "no one needs more than the South"), not to mention possible government largesse for education ("preferring to inoculate its children against science by denying evolution").
The part that I couldn't get out of my mind though was when Wills asserted that "No part of the country will suffer the effects of global warming earlier or with more devastation than the South, yet its politicians resist measures to curb carbon emissions and deny the very existence of climate change-- sending it to the dungeon with evolution and biblical errancy. One doesn't need much imagination to see the South with lowered or swollen waters in its rivers and ports, raging kudzu, swarming mosquitos, and record-breaking high temperatures, still telling itself that global-warming talk is just a liberal conspiracy. But it just digs deeper in denial. The South has decided to be defeated and dumb..." And they are absolutely positive they are entitled to their own facts and their own reality.
This is a tough one politically. Republican financial backers-- Big Energy (which has dumped over a quarter billion dollars into lobbying Congress last year alone and has spent $419,749,114 on political races since 1990, almost all of it going to Republicans and Blue Dogs)-- have demanded that slowing down amelioration of Climate Change be non-negotiable. They have taken their case to the public, spending millions of dollars on misleading advertising and other media efforts. And it's paid off. The public is confused and unsure about global warming, climate change and Science itself.
From a Sub-Thread:
"The South escaped one of the worst character traits of America, its sappy optimism, its weakness of positive thinking. The North puffed confidently into the future, Panglossian about progress, always bound to win. But the South had lost. It knew there was an America that could be defeated. That made it capable of facing tragedy, as many in America were not."
-- Garry Wills, in a NYRB blogpost, "Dumb America"
I wasn't the only reader whose attention was caught by George Packer's recent New Yorker "Comment" piece, "Southern Discomfort." In a new New York Review of Books post, "Dumb America," Garry Wills reports, "George Packer's recent New Yorker comments on the South made me sort out my own complicated feelings about the region."
Packer, you'll recall, wrote:
An estrangement between the South and the rest of the country would bring out the worst in both -- dangerous insularity in the first, smug self-deception in the second.
Southern political passions have always been rooted in sometimes extreme ideas of morality, which has meant, in recent years, abortion and school prayer. But there is a largely forgotten Southern history, beyond the well-known heroics of the civil-rights movement, of struggle against poverty and injustice, led by writers, preachers, farmers, rabble-rousers, and even politicians, speaking a rich language of indignation. The region is not entirely defined by Jim DeMint, Sam Walton, and the Tide's A J McCarron. It would be better for America as well as for the South if Southerners rediscovered their hidden past and took up the painful task of refashioning an identity that no longer inspires their countrymen.
5 replies, 850 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
"the current South is willing to cut off its own nose to show contempt for the government," (Original post)
Response to sheshe2 (Original post)
Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:18 PM
Fumesucker (38,027 posts)
3. <sigh> It's really not that simple, there are right wingers and left wingers all over the country
There's brighter red close to the Canadian border than in my deep South state.
Response to MightyMopar (Reply #4)
Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:11 PM
Fumesucker (38,027 posts)
5. The population centers are usually blue most everywhere
Not to mention that the US does not have strict proportional representation, low population states have more power on a per capita basis than do high population ones.