Friday, March 14, 2014

What's wrong with the south?

In previous blogs, we have looked at maps of various metrics in the US, and found evidence that the South-- well, has issues, and those issues are affecting all of us.  Of course we all know and love many individual southerners, who represent the legendary warmth, hospitality, and loyalty of that part of the country.  But our friends also admit there are problems.

This week, for example, in South Carolina, the legislature voted to cut funding for colleges that assigned pro-gay books.  In the department of hypocrisy, despite fulminating against gay rights, MS, LA, and GA watch the most gay porn.

Over on Salon, there's an article identifying disturbing trends in the south.  And the HuffPo has a series of maps also suggests metrics in which the south fares poorly relative to the rest of the country (with a spur into Appalachia and up into the poor rural west...

These include:

  • Highest rates of poverty
  • No minimum wage
  • Lowest economic mobility
  • Lowest per capita spending by state goverments
  • Poor access to preventative health care
  • High rates of obesity, cigarette use, teen pregnancy, and other health issues
  • High rates of gun violence

The New York Times has an article arguing that although the Democrats are presumed to have lost the white working class, the real difference is regional. 
[W]orking-class whites in the South are – no surprise — far more conservative than their counterparts in the rest of the country. Lumping all of these voters together exaggerates this constituency’s overall rightward tilt. ...
White working-class voters outside the South are becoming more open to the Democratic Party because, as the P.R.R.I. polling on abortion and same-sex marriage shows, they are coming to terms with the cultural transformations stemming from what sociologists call the “second demographic transition.” of the more visible dividing lines between left and right in American politics is the extent to which voters in a particular state or region have adopted the values of this second demographic transition — a lessening of sexual constraint, extensive nonmarital cohabitation, delayed childbearing, reduced fertility, family disruption, a stress on personal autonomy and individual self-expression, declining religiosity and growing acceptance of women’s rights.
The declining commitment of white noncollege voters outside the South to conservative values has been masked, politically and culturally, by the continued ferocity of sociocultural and racial conservatism among working class whites in the South. But insofar as the second demographic transition is taking hold among these voters in the North, the Midwest and the West, Democratic prospects may well be better than national polling data suggests.
It's ironic but in some ways, the South won the Civil War.  It increasingly seems like a separate country.

The 11 nations of the US:


dr.primrose said...

A follow-up to the stories about teachers in RCC schoools being fired for getting married to a same-sex partner, see Fired gay Glendora [CA] Catholic schoolteacher sues St. Lucy’s Priory.

"A former Catholic high schoolteacher who says he was stripped of his job for marrying his gay partner soon after same-sex marriage was made legal in California is suing his former employer.

"Former English teacher Kenneth Bencomo sued St. Lucy’s Priory High School in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. He alleges wrongful termination in violation of public policy, violation of the state Labor Code and breach of contract.

"The firing violates the constitutionally protected right of a person to marry and to engage in political activities, including political speech, the lawsuit states."

Kevin K said...

I found the Salon article interesting. Particularly where Southerners are not buying enough Lottery tickets and are instead relying on prayer.

Kevin K

JCF said...

"What's wrong w/ the South?"

JMO, but the Original Sin of Slavery---guilt, not repented of, but projected outwards---is The Source.

If one can forcibly DENY that, one can deny anything.


Still reject the above map: my home burg of Sacramento County MUST be accounted as Left Coast!