Having grown up in a small southern town, I understand it well.
In fact, as my wife and I drove around Eden yesterday to deliver yard signs, we were struck by how many Bush signs were in front of small mill village houses. We’ve struggled to explain it. Many of these are one-issue voters (abortion), because of what is being preached to them in fundamentalist churches, which dot the landscape here in the textile – furniture – tobacco south.
Others have commented how they can’t understand why a Bush sign is in front of a poor black home, when he does absolutely nothing for them. Here the reason is less clear, but is also tied to what they are being told that God wants them to do.
Essentially, these good folks are being preached to with the fear of hell fire and damnation if they vote against Bush. Make no mistake about it, this election more than any other, is about Fear.
I heard a long NPR Radio interview done in a small Texas town (80% Republican) and the same applied. The local county Republican party chair actually said that George Bush was just like them, that he was seen as a guy who would roll up his sleeves and help pull your cow out of a ditch. How utterly absurd! My wife, who grew up on a farm, laughed out loud when I told her.
One woman interviewee said Bush was wrong on Iraq. She proudly explained that she’d have bombed Iraq on 9/14. When the reporter reminded her that it’s been proven there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11, she said she didn’t care, they were all the same. This is the same mindset as their Leader, whose only claim to fame is that once he commits to something, he sticks with it to the end. And he can’t think of a mistake he’s ever made. It’s why he knew if he could just get boots on the ground in Iraq, he could energize his unfaltering base of support to sweep him back into the White House. And Dick Cheney’s drive to acquire control of Iraq’s oil fields was assured. "Texas Tea. Black Gold." as the country musician sings to us.
This is also why they get so much mileage here in the rural agrarian south against the "liberal" press, which Jesse Helms used to rail and slur against to his eastern NC tobacco growers.
Liberal means smart and aloof and "northern", while through AM talk radio they have been sold conservative to mean "not too bright, just like me", just like George, and "true south". It’s the dumbing down of America. It’s the now two-decades-old TV sitcom golden: "Celebration of the Dysfunctional Family". Conservatives capitalize upon them both. Liberals and intellectuals decry this, to no avail, which just makes the gulf between them ever widen. While Liberals are the true uniters, Conservatives are the true dividers of our Nation. They understand the battle strategy of divide and conquer, sending deception from the shadows, and never admit to a mistake. Is it any wonder they blindly follow a sociopathic leader they see as just like them?
The red-neck Scot-Irish mentality views these battles as a simplistic Religious/Cultural War to the Death of one civilization or the other — us vs. them, liberals vs. conservatives, Christians vs. Muslims, God vs. Satan, whomever they Don’t like against whomever they Do like — and they plan to win, with "compassionate" George as their Great Crusader. Bush speaks to the same powerful bigotry that kept segregation in place for a century after slavery ended.
This campaign, filled with brilliant diversions, is the greatest multi-million dollar con game that’s ever been pulled on the American people, organized by flimflam experts. It’s the Battle Real in the Culture War between those who are conned, and those who see behind the curtain in OZ. We see the Emperor’s new clothes, but can we awake a drugged populace in time? The counter force may partially come from a huge number of students who are being registered across the nation, who are largely Democratic. But it will take more, so much more. Are there enough of us good guys to fight off these forces of darkness? Do we really yet understand the consequences of not doing enough?
This is the most important election in your lifetime. Believe it, and work as if your very life depended upon it.
Please do everything you can to defeat this dangerous Force of Ignorance rearing itself across our land.