Three years ago I wrote one of my first diaries, Kiss My Dixie Ass. Three years later, I'm thinking about that diary.
I met my husband after he moved from the Bay Area to Memphis to buy a home. Our income is about $90K per year. In Memphis we were able to afford a little house, a 1/2acre on a winding treelined road in a beautiful city neighborhood. Within two houses in any direction my neighbors are white, black, hispanic, new parents, grand parents, kidless, married, single, gay, lesbian, employeed, retired, unemployeed... That's some diversity and I haven't even gotten to religion.
We're leaving because in CA the summers are milder, the soil softer and his widowed mother closer. Luckily the economy in Memphis we were able to afford to invest locally. This has allowed us to save enough for two acres in the Wine Country. We never could have done it in California. There's so much opportunity in the South. Growing up I remember running low on food between paychecks; today I can fill the trunk with whatever I want.
Would I be this blessed if I had been born in innercity Oakland?
Sigh. Some things never change. The culture snobs still bash the south, and still I call bullshit...
What I want to know, why is it when Dems were loosing all over the country, we all said it was the fault of the consultant class and candidates too afraid of losing to stand up and be worth voting for. Then the next election comes around, we have dynamic candidates all over the country who win, but in the south, we get the same old CW candidates following the loser consultant pattern. But instead of recognizing that, losses are attributed to notions of an inferior southern morality.
It's such bullshit.
Take Harold Ford Jr. All the press was about what a great campaign he was running, and how he represented so much hope for the south. What a crock. Harold Ford Jr. was an establishment candidate hoping to yet again capitalize on the nepotistic benefits of his family's corrupt west Tennessee machine. But he lost, no surprise to anyone actually paying attention to the campaign.
Tennesseans rejeceted Ford and his pandering to a tired old stereotype of what it means to be southern. The disgusting transparecy of his strategy was only eclipsed by the stunning lack of creativity employed to carry it out (camo hat anyone?).
Tennesseans rejected Ford and his embracing of conservatism as a substitute for defining himself. In his vacated house seat, Tennesseans elected Steve Cohen, a progressive who knows how to be respectful and listen even to people who disagree with him. His authenticity and determination allowed him to champion progressive causes not typically considered southern, such as animal rights legislation.
Tennesseans rejected the corruption of a political machine that has brought embarrassment to our state for as long as I can remember, from mistressess driving suv's of questionable origin through wive's livingrooms, to embezzling money from struggling daycare centers, to pulling shotguns on utility workers.
Tennesseans rejected a machine that actively campaigned against the Dem nominee (Cohen) in Ford's old district, while trying to pass off another family member as a Dem.
Tennesseans rejected the campaign strategies of the old establishment consultant class who tried to build a candidate based on overhyped simplistic stereotypes as ridiculous as their uninspired outdated tactics.
Ford didn't work with local blogospheres. Ford "threw his base under the bus." The Ford machine pulled "dirty tricks" and the consultants convinced him to jump on the pander wagon. And for all the effort, Ford was roundly rejected. Thank God.
There is a vibrant progressive movement building in the south, and southerners are just as frustrated with the lack of inspirational leaders as anyone else. Southerners, like eveyone, want leaders who speak to the important challenges our nation faces with a voice that is stong and unapologetic. The south, like the many regions ignored by the Dems for decades, has infrastructure obsticles to overcome. But I have no doubt that the biggest obsticle is one progressives continue to fortify today. How can southern progressives honestly convince citizens to vote for a party where a huge chunk of the base misunderstands, misrepresents, and looks down upon them?
One more excerpt from my three year old diary:
You Northern CA culture snobs can kiss my Dixie ass. You have the 9th largest economy in the world while your inner cities are in shambles. The middle class can't afford to live there and your poor can't afford to move.
We know its not all harmony and sunshine for all Californians any more than it is for all Southerners or all Americans for that matter.
That diary was in response to a post from a Californian. But this diary is in response to all the south-bashers. So in the spirit of inclusvenss, I'm inviting all scapegoating, stereotyping, knee jerk reacting, beam in your own eye ignoring sob's to pucker up too.
Can Dems win in the south? Surely. When we have real leaders who stand up boldly for progressive values, when we have candidates who are champions for the people who they are supposed to represent, when we have women and men of character running for office, rejecting pandering and approaching us with the same respect and authenticity everyone craves, then, yeah, Dems will win in the south.
As for the culture snobs who continue making it harder for us southerners to build the very same things you claim to stand for, well, y'all can kiss my dixie ass. again.