So we live in a polarized country. Romney won mostly in those states that were in the Confederacy or were part of territories where slavery was allowed. The exceptions are Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado that went for Obama and Indiana that went to Romney.
The geographical polarization proves that the distant echoes of slavery still resonate in the minds of many Southern whites. Working class whites in the South voted for Romney by more than a 40% difference and in Mississippi they may have gone to Romney by more than 90%. You've seen the maps and the polls. If some of you question any of this I'll be glad to point you to the sources. I am writing this diary while I wait at Miami International for a flight down to the real deep south that leaves in 4 hours.
The polarization is by gender, single women specially supported Obama, by age (younger people supported Obama, old fogies in my generation went for Romney). Let's not even talk about polarization by ethnicity, African Americans (100% for Obama?), Latinos (71%?), Asians (73%).
The map that scared me but then gave me hope is this one;
This map highlights the urban vs. rural polarization. Paul Ryan did talk about it after the votes were counted when he said that the higher numbers of urban voters were what surprised them.
Hell, this map shows America as mostly red and it shows my California as half red. But it also shows a string of blue dots in the cities of the South.
So there you have the two Americas. Rural and urban.
There can be no secession of rural and urban geographies, both areas are so economically intertwined that it is not possible to operate separately.
Why are they so different and what can we do to bring rural America to get on with the times?
I have a similar map for the 2008 vote and it looks just as polarized between rural and urban.
I have spent most of my life in urban areas but I have spent at least 5 years living in or visiting rural areas in the US and elsewhere.
Certainly the deluge of wingnut radio that is constant in most rural areas (even in California) is a reason for the difference in attitudes.
But I think there is more to it.
Urban areas have the reputation of being "impersonal", while rural areas are the opposite. In rural areas people exchange greetings even if they don't know each other. In rural areas people seem to have time to make new acquaintances. In cities it's rush rush rush all the time.
...in cities people get to meet people of all sorts, origins, ethnic groups, nationalities, socio economic status, education, etc.
My favorite part of Los Angeles is Venice Beach. I love the diversity there;
When you grow up in an urban area you get exposed to all sorts of people. When you grow up in a rural area you don't.
Yes, perhaps many chose to live away from urban centers to stay away from people that are not like them. I think these people did not grow up in cities. Perhaps they moved there for a while but they came with prejudices that they acquired growing up in rural areas.
I have lived in Los Angeles and I have seen all sorts of people work together to accomplish great things. (LAPD is a different story and the subject of a diary one of these days).
I have hope that the future will see rural America come about and become more like the rest of America which by population numbers lives increasingly in cities.
Part of my hope is because younger Americans are connecting across geographies via social media. Social media is changing the way people interact. Heck, people of all ages are interacting via social media globally let alone in America. Social media is exposing younger citizens of rural areas to the lives of their peers in urban areas. I cannot believe that this information flow will not change them.
The other thing that gives me hope is Obama's re-election. This will cause many in rural areas to question their attitudes and in time they will start changing through this introspection.
Perhaps, now that it's clear that this polarization between rural and urban is a reality, we can also start reaching out to these rural Americans in good faith.
Those blue dots in the South can perhaps be made to grow.
Anyway. I had to get this off my chest. I feel so much better now that Obama has another 4 years that I am starting to look at things with a positive outlook.
I'll hang around for a while.