Skip to main content

I've written recently about the need for Democrats to do a better job of communicating with middle America about "values."  But if there is any condescension from blue staters toward red staters, there is certainly plenty of it flowing the other way as well.  Josh Marshall makes an interesting point: red state hatred of the blue states may be linked to irrational notions of violated honor -- call it the Zell Miller factor:

Divorce, out-of-wedlock birth, poverty, murder, incidence of preventable disease --- go down the list and you'll see that they are all highest in the reddest states and lowest in the bluest. ...

Broadly speaking, New England and the parts of the country originally settled by New Englanders have low murder rates --- some only a fraction of the national averages. The South on the other hand, and the parts of the country originally settled by Southerners, have higher murder rates. (The highest homicide rates are in the Old Southwest --- Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.) ...

In the North, where murder rates are higher in urban centers, they tend to track with the commission of felonies.

In other words, people get killed by people who are in the process of committing felonies --- whether those be drug sales, muggings, robberies gone bad, organized crime, or something else. But in the Southern states, where murder rates are higher in small towns and rural areas, this isn't the case. Rather than happening in the process of committing other crimes, these murders tend to be rooted in what are best described as violations of honor, personal slights that escalate into violence or in the simplest sense, rage. ...

Coming out of this election we hear again and again that folks in the Blue states have to give up their attitude of condescension toward those in the Red. The story comes in different flavors and intensities, ranging from admonitions to `reach out' to folks in the Red states to more acidy claims that folks in the Blue states need to get over their alleged hatred of religion and Red state culture.

At some level, something like this is certainly necessary. I can do the math as well as anyone. And what these last two elections have shown (particularly this last one) is that if the country is divided more or less evenly, that `more or less' isn't working in our (i.e., the Blue states) favor. We're in the minority for the moment, even if it's a close run thing. And Democrats can't keep going into elections in which so many states are simply out of play. As I wrote a couple days ago, Democrats need to find a way to put a good half dozen more states into play in every election. ...

But the bad feeling of Red State America toward the Blue is just as often expressed as contempt, moral denunciation or simple rage. To the extent that one hears Blue Staters dissing Red Staters as holy-rolling trailer park denizens, the Red staters routinely portray their fellow countrymen as corrupt, deviant, rootless perverts who express their flipflopper-dom by oscillating between being limp-wristed whiners on the one hand and signing up to work for Osama bin Laden as terrorist fifth-columnists on the other.

More commentary at The Situation Room

Originally posted to Geheimbundler on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:15 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Settlers (none)
    Broadly speaking, New England and the parts of the country originally settled by New Englanders have low murder rates --- some only a fraction of the national averages. The South on the other hand, and the parts of the country originally settled by Southerners, have higher murder rates. (The highest homicide rates are in the Old Southwest --- Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.) ...

    Umm... my only criticism of the post is the paragraph above. Simply put, you aren't a "New Englander" or a "Southerner" until you've settled that region. In other words, the south wasn't settled by Southerners. The south was settled in large party by Scotch-Irish who landed in northern and mid-Atlantic ports and moved south to find better land to cultivate (among other things). At that point, perhaps they called themselves Southerners, but probably not. I'd wager that the whole term didn't come about until the Civil War. But I'm not a cultural historian, so what do I know?

    Sorry... It's a semantics thing, really, but for some reason, it annoyed me.

    •  I think what he means.. (none)
      I think what Marshall is referring to is internal migrations. New Englanders eventually moved elsewhere to other parts of the country like the west coast and mid-Atlantic states. Many Southerners moved out of the south and into the "old southwest."

      The South wasn't settled by Southerners, but those settlers who became Southerners ultimately settled other parts of the country.

      (I don't know the historical demographic patterns, so I can't say that this assessment is accurate, but this is what Marshall was referring to)

Click here for the mobile view of the site