Sunday, April 01, 2007

Will the South Embrace Progressive Leaders?

This is a riff on a post by Jill at Thoughts of an Average Woman from whom I took the title. *

To begin with, I don’t run in the same circles as Bush and his gang of henchmen and henchwomen (?). Most of the people from the South I’ve met aren’t the ones getting the tax breaks Bush gives the wealthy. They are hard working, honest, reliable, practical, stoic, patriotic and disciplined people.

These people can relate to progressive ideas with a few exceptions, a couple of which I’ll discuss later.

These people want work. They don’t want handouts from government, but do appreciate unemployment compensation when they lose their jobs through no fault of their own and need to get by until they can find new work.

These people are perfectly willing if not happily willing to help out their neighbors in time of need, but they want the government to step in when things like Katrina and Rita happen. They want government to support the American people.

These people don’t begrudge oil companies’ making a decent profit because they provide jobs, but they don’t accept oil companies’ making obscene profits beyond what’s necessary to grow the company and provide more jobs. Big oil is one business model they can endorse because they see it can work.

These people do or would like to work in a union. They don’t like being peons for some big corporation anymore than you or I would like it.

These people respect the land, their coastlines and oceans. So they aren’t for indiscriminate drilling in environmentally sensitive areas. And they don’t support denuding old growth forests and national forests, many of which provide recreational opportunities.

These people live within their means whenever possible and believe government should too.

These people are family people. They aren’t in favor of mortgaging their children’s future to pay for things now. If they farm, they don’t sell the farm to buy a new pick-up truck.

These people don’t favor sweet subsidies for the giant agro-businesses while the little guy is going under and losing the farm. And they look on offloading jobs to other countries as disdainfully as does the rest of the country.

These people don’t clip coupons or invest huge amounts in stocks and bonds. They work for their money and believe others should too. Congress’s old 2-3 half-day work weeks really grated on them.

These people don’t want anyone prying into their affairs and that goes especially for the government.

These people want universal health care. They don’t like losing health care because they are temporarily out of work or between jobs, many of which provide no health care anyway.

These people want transferable retirement accounts so they don’t have to start all over if they change jobs.

These people are honest and don’t like being lied to and cheated by their government.

These people are practical. Now here’s where it gets a little dodgy. They aren’t for big business in general, but Wal-Mart provides many jobs. They aren’t particularly good paying jobs, but its honest work. And Wal-Mart offers low prices. Being practical, they can overlook some of the sins of the Walton family (Southerners) to keep those jobs and prices.

These people do have things they care strongly about which don’t quite jibe with the progressive agenda. These are items the progressive leadership doesn’t need to abandon, but they do need to be less than aggressive on them.

These people are not supportive of abortion. Yes, many do favor abortion because they’ve seen the need for it among their own family members or friends. But they aren’t too keen on what could be viewed as abortion on demand.

These people don’t look favorably on strict gun control. Reasonable gun control doesn’t disturb them. I’ve never known a Southerner who went dear hunting with an assault rifle. And a waiting period before taking possession of a firearm isn’t an issue.

These people have almost every reason to support the progressive leadership because its in their best interests. So to answer the question in the title, will they? Not sure, but they should.

* Let me be clear here. This is all based on my experience hence the lack of links to statistics and polls.

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