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Let the South Fade Away
The worst elements in the South have come to power nationally with George W. Bush, according to a book by Anthony Dunbar.
"The worst elements in the South - whether politicians or ideological tendencies - have come to power nationally with George W. Bush," according to a book by Anthony Dunbar called Where We Stand: Voices of Southern Dissent as reviewed in The New York Review of Books by George M. Fredrickson. Nothing has happened since the 1950s and 60s that would fulfill the hopes of liberal Southerners that the South could be the source of something helpful for the rest of the country. One of the articles in the book by Paul Gaston says that the South has "become the engine driving the Republican Party", a South which continues the attitudes of the Southern secessionists of the 1860s and the court-defying segregationists of a century later.
America itself has "moved South" according to another of the authors. America is undergoing a "Southernization" in that the worst of the South has caused the country to move to the far right politically and socially. With the passage of the civil rights acts of the 1960s the South moved away the Democratic Party and towards the Republicans. The racism deeply embedded in the South finds resonance in other parts of the country.
Jimmy Carter represents a Southerner who also promotes liberal values, but one man cannot redeem the whole South.
Frederickson ends his article with the statement that perhaps the South should be allowed to fade away. His comment reflects a certain arrogance that this will happen on its own. The South won't give up without a fight and it is a fight it is currently winning, especially through the dominance of the religious right in current political culture.
Look at what Zell Miller of Georgia did at the Republican National Convention. A Democrat, Miller pulled out all the stops by blasting John Kerry on defense issues. I believe Democrats have to find a way of disciplining this sort of behavior, and, in general, work to deny the Southern states access to the federal funds they receive in such abundance from the more progressive states. The Southern states are, in reality, welfare states; they fight against big government and then reach out for federal handouts. Their public schools are falling apart because they won't tax themselves, since those schools are now so heavily black due to so many "Christian" private schools. Somehow strategies have to be designed to make the worst elements of the South face up to the facts. They cannot be allowed to dominate America and one of the best ways to defeat the South again is to defeat George W. Bush in this presidential election.
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