I found one of those emails in my inbox this AM- the one with 500 other email addresses, forwarded and re-forwarded a thousand times. I was about to trash it, but, with nothing on TV but preachers and hucksters [and both] I opened it. It began:
Dear Red States:
We’re ticked off at your Neanderthal attitudes and politics and we’ve
decided we’re leaving.
After every election lately, members of both parties threaten to flee to Canada if their candidate loses, but no one ever does. Yet the idea of formation of two separate nations strikes me as quite a grand compromise for the continuing problem of Red v. Blue states.
Neanderthal they say. And why? Could it be that ‘rape’ thing? Or evolution and climate change denial? Tribal identity? Belief in magic and miracles? Disdain of science? Perverted interest in neighbor’s bedrooms? Purity of race?
I suggest it is all tribal stuff. That’s it, tribal.
Dictionary: tribe- A unit of sociopolitical organization consisting of a number of families, clans, or other groups who share a common ancestry and culture and among whom leadership is typically neither formalized nor permanent.
Common ancestry and culture. Of course in many of the red states the common ancestry is African, but ‘those people’ don’t actually count in the election results. Many whites here surprisingly identify their ancestry as ‘American.’ No, not native, just American as if their g-g-g-g-grandparents were born on this continent.
Culture, then. It surely must be culture that binds them altogether as a tribe. So, what elements of culture glues this demographic? Race, history and religion are my suggestions.
White voters drive red state victories; non-white voters are highly represented in the blue-state electorate. Differing racial demographics clearly drive red v. blue states.
The history of red states vary depending on geographic location. The red states outside of the Old Confederacy are predominantly populated by white people [Utah, Dakotas, Wyoming, Idaho, Nebraska, Alaska], thus racial makeup dedides.
In the Old Confederacy, of course, history clearly defines today’s racial attitudes- them versus us; Slave v. plantation owner, Jim Crow, segregation, civil rights legislation, Federalism v. States Rights. Clearly, states’ rights clearly defines the southern red state more markedly than anything.
Yet, there is also religion as a cultural element. Could religion be a significant deliminator of red v. blue? Evangelical and fundamentalist theology v. liberal theology and/or no religious affiliation at all. In a map named ‘Bible Thumper Index,’ it becomes clear that the Old Confederacy teems with people deeply wedded to fundamentalist religious beliefs.
Interestingly, the map’s darkest shades capture Indiana, the only Midwest red state. Note on the less subjective ‘Baptist’ map below similar geographic findings:
The convergence of political belief and religious belief could not be more clear in this set of red states. Somehow belief in the Bible is a strong indicator of political preference. And why is this, one might ask. What do thee two sets- the Republican Party and Bible-believing Christians- have in common? How does the Republican Party represent this faith group? Better yet, should a political party represent a faith group in a democracy?
Perhaps this is the most important question of all. And if it does, then what type of ‘democracy’ does our nation exhibit?