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Risking starting a flame war, I have something to say about Southerners.

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Bertha Venation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:38 PM
Original message
Risking starting a flame war, I have something to say about Southerners.
Actually, I have something to say about one particular Southerner. Seems many DUers are eager to generalize about all Southerners, since most of them are among the country's 59M 2004 Assclowns. What I have to say is clearly anecdotal (and I may be biased, but these are facts about this woman). But for God's sake, South-loathing DUers: please realize that all Southerners cannot be categorized as inbred, backward, ignorant, brain-dead idiots.

Mrs. Venation is an Appalachian hillbilly, born and raised in Eastern Tennessee, well within the Bible Belt. Her parents and most of her large extended family are extremely devout Southern Baptists, and that's how she was raised. Mrs. V.'s parents' religion doesn't much influence their politics. They're Democrats and they voted Kerry/Edwards. When Mrs. V. came out to them, they told her it made no difference; that they would never love her any less for knowing she's gay.

Mrs. V. is a progressive liberal. She's more liberal than I am, and more outspoken (although more shy IRL). She has a logical mind, and knows how to keep her cool, making her very valuable in a debate.

Among the jobs Mrs. V. has held are coal miner, caregiver to the profoundly retarded, and escort and guard to women at a battered women's shelter (armed as necessary). Due to gender discrimination in the early 70s, she successfully sued the TVA. She has always been -- from an early age -- a fervent and outspoken defender of laborers, Americans struggling for equality, and a woman's right to choose. (Among the influential experiences my beloved has had was an incident the morning of the Birmingham church bombing. She was 12 years old. At church that morning, she and a few of her friends stood discussing the bombing and weeping. A deacon walked by and said, "Don't know what you all are so upset over. It was only four little nigger girls.")

Mrs. V. reads the Washington Post front to back every day, as well as most of her hometown newspaper on line. She is our family's political analyst. Right or wrong, I rely upon her for much of my news about Congress & the Administration. She devours it all -- as well as devouring local news, real estate news, book reviews, etc., etc.

I shared this general prejudice against Southerners until the first time I spoke to Mrs. V. on the phone. We had corresponded for months, and I'd come to know an intelligent, well-read, well-spoken, sophisticated woman. I knew she was from Tennessee, but didn't expect to hear that accent on the other end of the line! Just hearing the accent, my prejudice kicked in instantly. But since I knew this woman, it was gone within ten seconds. Gone forever.

Saying "I know all Southerners aren't like this, but most are so I'm right" is not acceptable. Replace the word "Southerners" with "liberals" and imagine those words coming from the mouth of a neocon. Then the picture may begin to emerge.
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jdots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. right you are
it's like saying all people from NEW ENGLAND are liberals.
Everybody from Orange County Ca. is a goober NO !
All budwieser drinkers are doody heads ,well maybe....
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jukes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
2. EXCELLENT point!
yankee living in the rural south, i'm freq appalled; but it is absolutely wrong to categorize all southerners as the "stereotype".

many good liberals here; also many misguided but kind-hearted folks.

i really have to fight my own prejudices in this regard, esp since there are so many validating examples surrounding me.

TX++ for the reminder not to become a judgmental, prejudiced creep my damn self!
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Gyre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
3. I suspect that a lot of the anger
expressed here towards the south, has more to do with the southern democrats we've seen dominate the party for the last 40 years.

Carter didn't generate anger but all the rest of them did, starting with LBJ.

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Lefty48197 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
4. Point well taken
as a northerner, I too often generalize that all southerners are stupid like the right wing conservatives that dominate the area.
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Fenris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
5. Being a product of the buckle of the Bible Belt (Texas)
I've learned that one can't categorize people smply by region. Not everyone in the South holds conservative beliefs and not everyone in the northeast and west holds liberal beliefs. I tend to divide society into two groups: assholes and everyone else. Not everyone from the South is an asshole, but a lot are. And there are an awful lot of Northern assholes too (G.H.W. Bush, for example). But there are also a lot of good people in America. And good people aren't restricted to blue states.

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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #5
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Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
fugue Donating Member (846 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
6. I think the better analogy is foreigners denigrating Americans
Just as sites like have tried to make the point that not all of America loves Bush, we need to remember that not all of the South does either. We need to remember that it's much harder to be a liberal in the South than it is in the Northeast. We need to show support and admiration for our Southern liberals; they are on the front lines of the battle, and those of us in blue states are on the homefront.

If you aren't willing to do that, then you should not complain when Americans are demonized abroad as being ignorant barbarians. You'll have asked for it.

*HUGS*! to all who live and fight in the belly of the beast!
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Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. As a Georgia liberal ...
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 01:12 PM by Laelth
I thank you. But the black boxes here (all Diebold, no paper trail), make the fight seem less and less winnable all the time.

Speaking for myself and from what I've seen, Georgia Democrats are deeply, disturbingly demoralized.


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helnwhls Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
7. thank you Bertha!
That is so well written! Thank you for sharing all of that with DU.

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pretzel4gore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
9. Jed Clampett excepted
I doubt Jed would have voted for presidente goofy, being quite thoughtful and wise, but there's Jethro...he looks like a freeper, acts like one, but surprisingly he's very open minded (and big hearted too) he's probably a kerry-ite!
Elly May? She loves critters and therefore she's a natural kerry voter. The big question (and face it, the old lady decides how Jethro and Elly May gonna vote) is Granny. Granny Clampette looks like a Bush voter, at first, but.....she's ornery. With all the high muckety mucks around (like the neighbor banker guy) singing bush's praises, I bet Granny stops and think about it....and therefore realize what bush needs is a load of buckshot right in the ass!
anyway, that's my opinion on southerners...
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Red_Viking Donating Member (903 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
10. Great post! I'm a Texan
I was fortunate to grow up in Austin, where being wacky and eccentric was a way of life. It's an oasis in the red sea of the state.

Most of my family is liberal and voted K/E. My two older sisters are self-described "Bush Women." Too bad. One is a fundamentalist Christian who describes evolution as an "interesting idea." The other has worked for Lockheed for 25 years. As long as they continue paying her vast sums of money to feed her materialism jones, she'll vote as they say. They are lost causes.

It's funny, I never really thought about the inherent prejudice against Southerners, mainly because I was surrounded by them. Last summer my family moved to Oregon so my boyfriend and I could attend law school. When people here find out I'm from Texas, the first thing they say is, "What? You don't have an accent!" Which is true--my dad was a radio announcer so he taught himself to speak without a Texas drawl, so I never did pick it up. I just realized how that would have affected peoples' perceptions of me if I had let loose with some thick drawl and threw in "y'all" and "fixin." Wow.

You guys are lucky to have each other--I've said it before! Rock on.

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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
11. Take heart, Southerners: Southern Bigotry now extended to the West:
Check out some of the kind comments from our fellow DUers... Seems any state that went red is responsible for all of our troubles--no matter how close the election results or how many strides towards change may have occurred through the intense work of Democrats/Progressives.

I am sick to death of this sanctimonious attitude among a minority of Duers. Grow up, my bigoted DUers who need to have someone to scapegoat. I realize this is a human trait but for the few DUers who do so, regardless of how it pains their colleagues, just GROW UP!
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AverageJoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
12. As a lifelong, proud southerner and liberal Democrat
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 01:19 PM by AverageJoe
I'm delighted to know you found happiness with an East Tennessean. Mrs. V. sounds like a great woman, indeed.

I lived in Tennesse for a few years and I'm here to tell the world that it's a lovely place with many, many good people.

It saddens me, though, that a post like this is even necessary. I'm ashamed of the DUers who slam entire regions of the country because we are in the minority there. I've lived in a number of southern states--Alabama, currently--and can say without fear of contridiction that the South has much to offer.

True, we are outnumbered here, but I take issue with anyone who would dismiss the whole region out of hand. There is much good all over this country, just as, alas, there is much that is bad.
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DuckFan4ever Donating Member (104 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Alabama has a lot of positives
They play good football among other things. It is a shame to characterize in a disparaging way any people or region of this great country.
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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
13. Thank you, Bertha!
Thank you sooo much for that post, it is extremely well-written and says what I've been trying to say for weeks...such broad generalizations from supposed liberals astounded me and were really no better than saying "all blondes are stupid, all asians are this, all Italians are that...." I'm from San Juan Capistrano, CA but now live in western NCarolina with my husband who also has a heavy accent, having grown up in abject poverty in South Carolina. He is the most liberal, intelligent, kind-hearted and generous soul I've ever met (not having met Mrs. V but they sound like they were cut from the same cloth).

Most of the people I talked to here before the election were pro-Kerry, and this predominantly rural "soutehrn" area is as dismayed as any "northern" area about the election results.
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LDS Jock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
14. thank you for this wonderful post
Prejudice should have no place in the life of an educated person. You make an important point too. Even though it did come back to you when you heard the accent, once exposed to this wonderful person any for preconceived notions were gone. We should all remember to know the person first and not prejudge them. I'm guilty too :( but working on it daily.
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idiosyncratic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
17. There are lots of "blue" people in the south. Look at this map.

Imagine how many more there would be if the votes hadn't been systematically changed from the Kerry column to the * column? :think:

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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
18. Thanks for your post, but don't forget the fact that elections are won by
majorities, not individuals. While there are people like Mrs. V. even in the most hidebound regions of redness, they do not prevail upon the culture there. Four days after the election, I traveled from my home in Oregon to my ancestral home in East Texas, by plane and rented car. The difference was shocking, not only in the hinterlands but in Dallas and its suburbs as well: I think literally most of the cars sported the "support the troops" ribbons (which I know are not pro-Bush in and of themselves, but they tend to support US policy) and I saw nary a K-E sign or sticker on the whole trip.

I grew up in that part of the world, and what I realized on this trip is that although I have changed, the red areas of our country really haven't. They don't actually call black people "niggers" as they did so matter-of-factly when I was a kid, but they are clinging pretty tenaciously to the old ways. And now the pendulum of fear and enemy-mongering is swinging back to their side.
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nonconformist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
19. Great post! As someone living in Appalachia
I agree with your assessment. There are many decent and intelligent people in this area. I know a lot of people, especially older folks, that are old-fashioned yellow-dog dems. It warms my heart. There are also a great deal of progressive younger people.

I'm not originally from here, I was born and raised in a Detroit suburb, so I don't usually take offense at the south bashing. But you're correct, it's not right to generalize. Many of us are mortified by our local election results.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
20. Do you see any "RED" states?

I see some states where we need to work a little harder.
The difference between Missippi and Minnesota is not THAT great.

Blue states vs red states is a myth perpetuated by the bigoted that only serves to divide.

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