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View Diary: Fantasy author Jane Yolen under attack by Tea Party: Updated x4, with video! (240 comments)

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  •  Western Mass. provides the right environment (0+ / 0-)

    for such people, unfortunately. It's quite poor, especially compared with the eastern half of the state. While Mass. is liberal overall (for the U.S.), its brand of liberalism is extremely classist, which helps fuel cultural resentment.

    I can only imagine the town/gown tensions in places like Northampton or Amherst, where you've got college students from affluent homes vs. a lot of working poor. The students will vary in their political beliefs, but it's easy for wingnuts to paint all the colleges as hotbeds of trustafarian radicalism.

    So the environment is ripe for the right-wing noise machine, along with religious extremists such as the "traditionalist Catholics" that infest the central and western parts of the state.

    •  Your link had nothing to do with the Five Colleges (1+ / 0-)
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      Ahianne

      It also had little to do with the four western counties.  The poor communities around here are in Hampden County, not Berkshire, Franklin, or Hampshire.  The Tea Party in the First District is so weak that their candidate, Jay Fleitman, got hammered last fall despite facing an elderly opponent (John Olver, who's in the Progressive Caucus, and hasn't had any trouble being re-elected since he won Silvio Conte's seat almost twenty years ago).

      As for the Five Colleges themselves, of course there's town/gown tension.  But if you think there's a simmering underclass of working poor who are ready to storm the gates of Smith (or any of the others), you are mistaken.  A decent percentage of the working poor around here are college students or young people just out of school who came up here for college and decided to stay.  If anything, one is far more likely to run into a Maoist than a Tea Partier.  There's certainly a poverty/class issue (where isn't there such a thing?), but people around here are well aware that the students and the schools pump a huge amount of money into the local economy.  

      The cities that are in trouble out here are Springfield and Holyoke, approximately half an hour south of the Five Colleges.  This is not news to anyone who lives in western Massachusetts, since it's been going on for years.  Holyoke is showing signs of a comeback thanks to high tech investment, while Springfield has been brought down due to a series of incompetent mayors (excepting only Charlie Ryan) and a political/social elite that by and large lives in the neighboring town of Longmeadow.  The Tea Party/militia population consists of one, and I do mean one, disgruntled African-American in Sixteen Acres who's a chronic complainer.  The police know him, keep an eye on him, and basically ignore him.

      And as for this "traditionalist Catholic" nonsense - if you are referring to the Polish Catholic Church, they are not traditionalists in the Mel Gibson/Latin Mass/hatred of LGBT-feminism-progressive politics sense.  They're part of a splinter Catholic group that broke away from Rome over a century ago.  They allow married priests and are theologically more liberal than Rome.  There isn't a single megachurch (which are the real source of Dominionism, not traditionalists or mainstream Catholics) worth spitting at unless one counts Bethany Assembly of God in Agawam, which is a rich congregation catering to the middle class.  If you're thinking of the old Brothers of Bethany cult, that broke up after its head was murdered several years ago.

      Finally, your statistics are out of date.  The most recent Massachusetts unemployment rate is around 7.6%, or so I heard on the radio the other day.

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