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The Other White Flight: Can Democrats ever regain the support of Southern whites?(BARF ALERT)
Charlotte Creative Loafing ^ | January 21-27, 2004 | Kevin Griffis

Posted on 01/22/2004 3:23:42 PM PST by The Black Knight

The Other White Flight Can Democrats ever regain the support of Southern whites?

BY KEVIN GRIFFIS

Carlton Sparks is the reason the GOP has a stranglehold on the South.

With his wife Cindi and their 17-year-old son Andrew, he lives in a tan, one-story home off a country road surrounded by mountains. His kitchen walls are wood-paneled, covered with Cracker Barrel-style knickknacks and a pair of decorative, cloth bouquet hangings.

Sparks, 49, makes a good living for a resident of Blairsville, GA. He pulls in more than $45,000 a year from Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation, where he works as a warehouseman. But his worn face and ragged English betray a life of hard work and hard times. Sparks grew up a self-described Kennedy Democrat, born to a single mom in 1954, a time, he notes, when single mothers weren't too popular. After high school, he joined the military for a short stint, got out and went to work at his uncle's sawmill before joining an EMC right-of-way crew. That was before they used chainsaws.

"They's people in prison don't work as hard as what we worked," he recalls, "but I had to have it." His motivation was a wife and a baby girl.

Watching him light up Winstons and listening to his adventures in syntax, some might pigeonhole Sparks after about 10 seconds. They'd be wrong. He defies easy categorization.

One minute, he's spewing Fox News/talk radio cliches about "big government" and school prayer. But the next minute, he's speaking eloquently on the real problems he and his neighbors face in 21st century rural America.

"To me . . . if you're working a public job, basically what you're going to wind up with, if you can pay for a house, if you can drive a relatively new car, not a new car, but a newer used car and send your kids to college, that's a pretty good chunk and then on top of that save a little bit for retirement," Sparks says. It's humble and anti-materialist. "Now, that don't seem like a whole lot of goals to put in front of you starting out in life, but that's basically what it wound up being."

In Sparks lies the great conundrum of modern Southern politics: The average, white, working-class guy is having a hard time making ends meet -- as if consumer debt recently topping $2 trillion for the first time wasn't enough of a clue. His wages have dropped when adjusted for inflation. His health insurance premiums have skyrocketed (if he has health insurance). He and his wife both have to work, and they pay astronomical childcare bills. His younger kids' schools are crappy and under-funded. His older kids' college tuition has jumped (an average of 14 percent in the last year). And, if he's like Sparks, 30 percent of what he managed to stash away for retirement evaporated in a stock market fiasco fueled by corporate greed that a little more government oversight could have prevented.

So where's the anger? And why in the world is he going to vote for a president based on a side issue like which candidate hates gay marriages?

I spent a week on the road trying to figure out why traditionally Democratic rural whites have so solidly embraced a Republican Party whose economic program runs directly counter to their own interests.

I started in the mountain hamlet of Young Harris, GA -- the hometown of US Sen. Zell Miller -- and in nearby Blairsville. Then, on to Seneca, SC, the birthplace of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards. Finally, I headed to Polk County in one of the poorest parts of central Florida.

Like much of the rural South, each town I visited was poor, was overwhelmingly white and voted for George W. Bush in 2000. At each stop, I looked for working poor and middle-income people, asked them how they voted and why. The answers were both depressingly facile, filled with the parroted lingo of the rightwing media echo chamber, and yet, once I dug, often so thin, disconnected and confused that I wondered whether a strong wind (or a populist candidate with the right message) might reorder the political landscape.

"Part of the problem that any political party would have . . . is: Do you take the political world as you find it or do you try to change the electorate?" says Emory University political scientist Merle Black.

The answer for progressives and populists is the latter if they intend to solve the riddle of their dwindling support in the South, because these are the places where politicians fear to tread, places populated by the most ignored voters in the country.

Driving east into Seneca, SC, on US. 76, you're greeted by the corpulent majesty of the local Super Wal-Mart, a monstrosity with a barber shop, McDonald's, grocery store, shotguns and an eye doctor. Everything under one roof.As you exit the town, headed toward Clemson, you see 76's other most conspicuous roadside attraction, Tiger Tails: Dancers Wanted. It's a strip club popular with the over-40 set. For anyone tempted to go in, there's four or five religious radio stations to choose from as you make the 10-minute drive between Sam Walton's packed economy of scale and Tiger Tails.

Most of Wal-Mart's blue-smocked employees greet the news that a reporter is in the building with startled amusement or downright evasiveness, as if they're being asked what color underwear they're wearing.

Person after person shrugs when asked who they plan to vote for in November. Most say no one. They don't follow it, don't have time for it.

Few even know that Edwards, the North Carolina senator who moved as a child from Seneca to Robbins, NC, is a favorite son. There's an Edwards campaign sign, faded from the sun, in the window of the local Democratic Party headquarters and a gravestone marking a family plot in the city's cemetery. But it doesn't seem today as if Edwards' roots even matter.

A few women say they'll vote how their husbands are voting, and that's for W. In grocery stores and fast-food joints all over town, the pattern is repeated: a shrug, an admission that they don't follow politics too much, and have no particular plans to vote.

These are workers who are sitting near the bottom of an economy that lately has been particularly hard on the lower middle class. "Roughly, since 1973, we've been growing about 1 percent a year slower than we did since 1870, and that's very significant when you accumulate it over time," says economist and professor Jeff Madrick.

You might expect a little outrage from the average worker when confronted with the policies that have led to the current state of the economy, but that outrage is distressingly rare. Instead, the opposite appears to be happening -- a sort of political paralysis that's reflected in the blank stares of Seneca's Wal-Mart employees.

It's no surprise to Emory University's Merle Black that many of the women we talked to have no plans to vote. He notes that the poorest and least educated Southern whites used to vote but now seem to have dropped out of electoral politics almost entirely.

"They're either alienated, or they don't see that their interests are advanced or that they have any real motivation to take part," Black says. That might sound like a promising voting bloc for Democrats, but Black notes that the lack of unions in the South makes it difficult to organize working-class Southerners into a group that would work together for their own economic and political interests. And who's to say which side they'd be more pre-disposed to support?

In the Super Wal-Mart, Adam Canady, from nearby Walhalla, hurriedly opens box after box of CDs amid the buzz of customers in the electronics section. His smock is festooned with small pins and his nametag. He looks up from the drudgery and practically sticks out his chest when he says he'll vote for Bush. "He's the only one who's shown himself capable of leading," Canady says.

Sentiments like Canady's and the fact that Al Gore won just 42 percent of the vote in 2000 haven't stopped the Democratic presidential candidates from campaigning like hell in South Carolina, a state they think will prove their bonafides with Southern voters on Feb. 3. Never mind that they don't have a chance of winning the state in the general election, or that some pundits say the primary is so unrepresentative of the state that nearly 90 percent of the voters are black -- in a state with a 30 percent black population.

In the parking lot of Mary Ann's eatery back in Towns County, GA, four men huddle around a cream-colored, rust-pocked Silverado pickup. A red, white and blue placard below the sign for the Young Harris Motel proudly reads: "American Owned." It's cold, and the sky is promising snow.The men are examining a diesel generator in the back of the pickup. I ask whether they plan to vote to re-elect President Bush.

"Hell, no. I've been starving since Bush became president," says a man, 25-ish, a dump-truck driver in a baseball cap and sunglasses.

"It's about conflict of interest," he continues, stretching "con-flict" out as if it's two words. "He come from oil, so we attack a place with oil. There's plenty of dictators in Africa doing worse things to their people, and [Bush] don't do nothing about them."

The oldest member of foursome, craggy-faced with a camouflage hat, turns to me and leans close to my face.

"You won't find many people here voting for Bush," he twangs. "They's poor people here."

The older man is right, sort of. There are plenty of poor people in Towns County, which is deep in Appalachia, right across the line from North Carolina. Nearly three-fourths of the households earn less than $50,000 a year. More than one-quarter earn less than $25,000.

But the guy's wrong about the way people vote, and the gang around the Silverado is definitely in the minority around these parts. Towns County turned out nearly 2-1 for Bush in 2000. In return, they got a free-spending president who gave them a $300 tax rebate while he lowered taxes for the richest Americans to their lowest levels since 1932, a government deficit billed to their children and their children's children, and an invitation to send their kids to a war of disputable necessity. By all counts, it looks as if they'll vote even more heavily for Bush the second time around. It's like watching someone flog himself again and again.

The roots of such political self-flagellation can be traced to the historical Southern tradition of politicians' scapegoating. Forever, it seems, Southern demagogues managed to blame the "other" -- mainly blacks or Yankees -- for the sorry state of poor whites, while they quietly curried favor from corporations and wealthy families. Today's growing economic inequalties are tailor-made for finding more scapegoats. These days, politicians blame "liberals," but it's the same game.

Large swaths of Southern religion have failed to fight such demagoguery. Indeed, many churches have employed it themselves, substituting Christ's message of love and justice for the self-help gospel of personal wealth -- along with an emphasis on casting stones at others.

Heat those elements in a pot with the vitriol of rightwing news outlets and a well-funded political machine designed to advance the special interests of corporations. Add seasoning from a well-founded skepticism about government, and you've got a pretty potent stew. It's not surprising then, that to many Southern whites, national Democrats, even the moderate ones, seem little more than the equivalent of exotic reptiles -- fun to look at but you wouldn't take them home with you.

Carlton Sparks is no different, and yet he juggles contradictions -- the words he hears from television commentators versus the life he sees and lives.

So why is Sparks a Bush man? He makes half a case for morals -- the abortion thing -- before conceding "even that has its gray areas."

There is also a careful, understated racism that mimics talk radio's complaints about the misdirection of tax dollars on misguided affirmative action. He lets out his inner beleaguered taxpayer: "They's always someone on the side that's going to get their pockets lined. They's always a minority group or whatever that deserves this other chance," Sparks says. Then come the rightwing whipping boys, atheists and the ACLU. They're taking the 10 Commandments out of public buildings and prayer out of the schools.

"You let your moral values keep sliding away, keep sliding away," Sparks says. "How long is it going to be before they start taking out the pledge of allegiance?"

And yet Sparks is capable of the kind of socioeconomic insight that many politicians just don't get. You just have to ask enough questions. Take his employer, the electric membership corporation.

"It's tough. Up here, for the guys starting on the right of way crew, if the company pays him $14 an hour, his benefits is going to cost him $7 an hour," Sparks says. "He ain't making much money, so [the cost of] his benefits are going to seem greater. It comes time that something's got to give. He's got to put food on the table. When I went to work on the EMC the average years was like 25 years. Now, a lot of kids will start, will work for a couple of months and then they're gone. They get hooked up into [the idea that] they're making $7 an hour. They can get a job out here runnin' a dang weedeater for $10. Well, the $10 an hour don't bring insurance, but he's got to have the $10 an hour to put food on the table."

Sparks acknowledges he'll be paying for their doctors' bills with higher insurance premiums, and while he's not interested in paying for health insurance for everyone in the form of government-subsidized medicine, he will make the sacrifices to save his own children from having to make the weedeater choice.

Sparks has the pocketbook scars to prove it. To pay for college for his daughter, Carli, he refinanced his $26,000 house, when he had just $5,000 left on the mortgage. After refinancing, he owed $45,000.

That's the kind of life he's had to live, one where sacrifices have to be made -- a life unlike the runaway fiscal policy of the president he supports.

Marlene Young was the last Democrat elected to the Polk County Board of Commissioners in Central Florida. That was in 1996, when she won re-election for a third term. In 2000, Polk County voters pulled the lever for George W. Bush by a 10 percent margin. After 12 years of public service, Young, a moderate, was tossed out, while Republicans captured all five commission seats.Yet Polk and its county seat, Lakeland, are anything but the picture of economic well-being. Nearly 20 percent of its children live in poverty and the median household income is a modest $36,036. The city has a movie-lot quality. The commercial strips, save for a Super Wal-Mart and a Target on the edges of town, look as if they haven't seen new facades since 1973.

Young sits in her real estate office in a shopping center in nearby Winter Haven. She still can't put her finger on the "why," three years after the election that knocked her out of politics.

"I'm a Democrat who's been turned out of office by registered Democrats, who are essentially voting Republican," Young says. "For a long time, I've looked and been dismayed at, you know, why are people who are not being well-served by these [Republicans] in office, or by this party and the platform -- why do they continue to support it?"

She's come up with various theories, none of which quite satisfy her.

"The Republican Party is certainly seen as the party of wealth and influence and power and the country clubbers, all of those things that the poor working shmucks strive to be," Young says. "It's almost a wannabe mentality."

Then, Young attributes the change to Clinton's sex scandals and "because the Republicans have so effectively characterized us as free-wheeling, tax-spending, social-promoting freeloaders."

And yet, Young says, it "s these very same people who are indignant about the huddled masses getting a crack at their money, who clamored when she was in office for more services and lower taxes.

"It just . . . seemed to be a dwindling of responsibility," she says. "People more and more just seem to be looking at their own individual self-interests rather than the larger interests that may be necessary for all of us to live together."

Neil Combee is a farmer, a Republican, and a 13-year member of the commission. He sounds ancient on his cell phone, which he often answers while driving his tractor in his fields out on the edge of an area of Polk County called the Green Swamp. But it's just the stress of getting over the flu. He explains the shift to the GOP more coarsely than Young. Voters are "tired of paying people who sit around all day on their butts."

Never mind, of course, that it was the Democrat Clinton who signed the welfare-to-work legislation and famously declared an end to the era of big government. There aren't too many people left cashing government checks each month, but in conversations with a number of white Southern voters, the bugaboo of welfare moms was cited as a reason they plan on voting Republican.

Lakeland's Darrell Conaster, 45, a firefighter in the Winter Haven department, closely identifies with John Kennedy, like Carlton Sparks, even though he largely missed those years. When he was in high school during the mid-1970s, "you still had the utopia of the Kennedys, you know, everybody helping one another. That's the mindset that I had. That's why I considered myself a Democrat. Republicans were the well-to-do party. I never considered myself that way. I'm more down to earth."

Conaster lives with his wife of 14 years, and two children. While he says he gets his news from local television and "balances it out" with reports from Pat Robertson's 700 Club, Conaster also thinks The Ledger, the local New York Times-owned newspaper does a fair job.

He's spent 18 years as a firefighter with Winter Haven and works a second job, running Faith Lawn & Tree Service. His wife works as an office manager so his children can attend a private Lutheran school. Public schools "force your children to learn things that are not your family values," says Conaster, citing evolution.

God informs Conaster's voting. Conaster attends the local Family Worship Center, an offshoot of the conservative Kenneth Hagin Ministries which spawned self-help televangelists like Kenneth Copeland and other preachers who sound more like motivational speakers at business conventions than typical preachers. In his version of the Bible, and the one Conaster describes his minister discussing on Sundays, God wants you to be rich. It's here that Marlene Young's contention that Americans identify themselves, whether they're wealthy or not, with the party of financial success makes sense. Conaster can't see it working in his own life, yet he doesn't have a populist's suspicion of success.

"I think the Ross Perot thing was when I really started picking up on that, because they were picking on him, and the man's a successful businessman, and if you check his company out, which I did, he did a lot for the people of his company."

Conaster says his switch to the Republican Party also had a lot to do with Clinton.

"Bush is family-oriented," Conaster says. "His stance on faith is bold. He's got backbone. He's got integrity. He's not afraid to do what he feels is right. You don't get that wishy-washy thing out of him."

At the same time, Conaster sees no moral problem with handing tax cuts to the wealthy. He shrugs at the idea that conflicts of interest, like the one between Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root and its ex-CEO Dick Cheney, could end up looting taxpayer dollars.

"You can invest in those companies," Conaster reasons. "Bush ain't just standing back saying we've got to give more money to the poor to stimulate the economy. That ain't what makes it work."

In fact, creating jobs and training people for new jobs has worked to stimulate the economy in the past, but it was essentially abandoned as a government policy.

In the early 1970s, wages stopped going up for males, and in particular for lower-income or middle-income, less-educated white males. Nearly 60 percent experienced either a decline or almost no gain in wages, Madrick writes. They rose for minorities and women, but only because they'd been so much lower to begin with.

With a little more imagination, the government response might have been to step in and re-train the workers who were falling behind. It would have meant more spending, but not a huge increase, Madrick says, and it might have helped avoid the pervasive anti-government feelings heard on my trip through the South.

Instead, as Carlton Sparks suggests, those low-skill workers just kept falling behind until companies started shipping their jobs out of America.

"You wouldn't believe the jobs we've lost in this area, and this wasn't a great place to come to work to start with," Sparks says. "But these companies that keep farming it out overseas . . . where's your kids going to work one of these days?"

If progressive politicians want to break the GOP death grip among rural whites, Sparks' question is one they need to answer.

Copyright © 2003 Creative Loafing Charlotte, Inc.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bubbavote; democrats; realignment; south; southerndemocrats; southerners
Allow me to vent my anger...

Watching him light up Winstons and listening to his adventures in syntax, some might pigeonhole Sparks after about 10 seconds. They'd be wrong

By the very way you describe him, you already have pigeonholed him, you elitist scumbag.

One minute, he's spewing Fox News/talk radio cliches about "big government" and school prayer. But the next minute, he's speaking eloquently on the real problems he and his neighbors face in 21st century rural America.

It's good to see that big government and school prayer aren't important. Jerk. And of course, it's Fox News Channel for us dumb-dumbs.

And why in the world is he going to vote for a president based on a side issue like which candidate hates gay marriages?

Maybe, just maybe, it's not a side issue for us Bible thumping rednecks. Ever thought of that?

Driving east into Seneca, SC, on US. 76, you're greeted by the corpulent majesty of the local Super Wal-Mart, a monstrosity with a barber shop, McDonald's, grocery store, shotguns and an eye doctor. Everything under one roof.As you exit the town, headed toward Clemson, you see 76's other most conspicuous roadside attraction, Tiger Tails: Dancers Wanted. It's a strip club popular with the over-40 set. For anyone tempted to go in, there's four or five religious radio stations to choose from as you make the 10-minute drive between Sam Walton's packed economy of scale and Tiger Tails.

Like I said, with "writers" like this in the South, who needs someone from Philly bashing us.

Instead, the opposite appears to be happening -- a sort of political paralysis that's reflected in the blank stares of Seneca's Wal-Mart employees..

Gee, I guess I'm on Free Republic and a conservative because I'm stupid now, is that it?

In the Super Wal-Mart, Adam Canady, from nearby Walhalla, hurriedly opens box after box of CDs amid the buzz of customers in the electronics section. His smock is festooned with small pins and his nametag. He looks up from the drudgery and practically sticks out his chest when he says he'll vote for Bush. "He's the only one who's shown himself capable of leading," Canady says.

The only intelligent thing in this pile of rubbish. I don't know who this guy is, but I like him already.

In return, they got a free-spending president who gave them a $300 tax rebate while he lowered taxes for the richest Americans to their lowest levels since 1932, a government deficit billed to their children and their children's children, and an invitation to send their kids to a war of disputable necessity.

Gotta love that unbiased reporting, especially when this is the front page article.

Forever, it seems, Southern demagogues managed to blame the "other" -- mainly blacks or Yankees

No, just liberal Yankees and blacks who push through excessive and unconstitutional programs which suck the money and life from the veins of ALL hard working people, not just Southerners.

Large swaths of Southern religion have failed to fight such demagoguery. Indeed, many churches have employed it themselves, substituting Christ's message of love and justice for the self-help gospel of personal wealth -- along with an emphasis on casting stones at others.

I wonder if he'll repeat that line to St. Peter?

That's the kind of life he's had to live, one where sacrifices have to be made -- a life unlike the runaway fiscal policy of the president he supports.

Since Democrats NEVER have had bad fiscal policy (coughcough) CALIFORNIA, NEWYORK, MASSACHUSSETTS (coughcough)

Then, Young attributes the change to Clinton's sex scandals and "because the Republicans have so effectively characterized us as free-wheeling, tax-spending, social-promoting freeloaders."

And the wrong point of this arguement would be...?

"It just . . . seemed to be a dwindling of responsibility," she says. "People more and more just seem to be looking at their own individual self-interests rather than the larger interests that may be necessary for all of us to live together."

Yeah, we should all give up individualism and be collective minded, kinda like on a commune. Hey, we can call it...COMMUNISM!

1 posted on 01/22/2004 3:23:43 PM PST by The Black Knight
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To: The Black Knight
Way to play "Stop The Tape!", Knight. Stole my thunder.

"Support of Southern Whites?" They've got the black vote - what do they need us for?

2 posted on 01/22/2004 3:29:33 PM PST by Old Sarge ("Behind Blue Eyes" - The Who)
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To: The Black Knight
"It just . . . seemed to be a dwindling of responsibility," she says. "People more and more just seem to be looking at their own individual self-interests rather than the larger interests that may be necessary for all of us to live together."



we are borg. resistance is futile. prepare to be assimilated.


naturally theres the usual whine that FOX rules the world.
3 posted on 01/22/2004 3:30:42 PM PST by cripplecreek (.50 cal border fence)
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To: stainlessbanner
Ping. Make sure you've got some Pepto handy.

}:-)4
4 posted on 01/22/2004 3:37:27 PM PST by Moose4 (Sherman burned Columbia to the ground Feb. 17, 1865. Can we get reparations?)
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To: The Black Knight
It is amazing that liberals think their policies will benefit the poor. You can make things "fairer" by raising taxes on upper-income earners (mostly small businesses owners), but you'll only take away poor people's jobs. And I'm sorry, but $50,000 goes a long way in rural Georgia.

This is my favorite line:

"Bush ain't just standing back saying we've got to give more money to the poor to stimulate the economy. That ain't what makes it work."

This "yokel" demonstrates that he understands economics much better than the author.

5 posted on 01/22/2004 3:38:10 PM PST by The Old Hoosier (Right makes might.)
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To: The Black Knight
"Republicans, the other white meat." ;-)
6 posted on 01/22/2004 3:39:09 PM PST by Still Thinking
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To: The Black Knight
Few even know that Edwards, the North Carolina senator who moved as a child from Seneca to Robbins, NC, is a favorite son.

"Oh . . . JOHNNY Edwards. Yeah, we know him."

"Favorite? Who's he favorite of? We ain't even sure whose son is he."

7 posted on 01/22/2004 3:39:34 PM PST by JohnnyZ ("This is our most desperate hour. Help me Diane Sawyer. You're my only hope." -- Howard Dean)
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To: The Black Knight
To pay for college for his daughter, Carli, he refinanced his $26,000 house, when he had just $5,000 left on the mortgage. After refinancing, he owed $45,000.

I like how it’s now an expectation that mommy and daddy will pay for college. I paid for my own by working and scheduling classes around work. My wife paid for hers by getting a full scholarship (it paid for almost everything). For spending money she had a waitress job and worked in a printing shop at one point. I have many, many relatives that either attended college while in the military, or after they got out for the non-career guys.

8 posted on 01/22/2004 3:42:01 PM PST by Who dat?
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To: The Black Knight
This is encouraging. As long as liberals so totally misread and misunderstand where these people are coming from and what and why they believe things the liberals will never be able to reach them at all.

They'll never reach southerners if they think that having shotguns in Wal-Mart is somehow remarkable.

9 posted on 01/22/2004 3:43:42 PM PST by Seruzawa (If you agree with the French raise your hand. If you are French raise both hands!)
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: The Black Knight
Apparently he thinks that Southerners are so stupid as to not know when they have been insulted, derided, and stereotyped.
11 posted on 01/22/2004 3:46:40 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: The Black Knight
That's all right. As soon as more of these southern white boys discover the pleasures of Charmin, many of these newspaper writers will be out of jobs.
12 posted on 01/22/2004 3:46:44 PM PST by Blue Screen of Death (,/i)
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To: Who dat?
I paid for my own by working and scheduling classes around work.

I'm doing that right now. Graduate in December. I know how ya feel, buddy. ;-)

My wife paid for hers by getting a full scholarship (it paid for almost everything). For spending money she had a waitress job and worked in a printing shop at one point.

My friend has a full scholarship, too. 3.9 GPA after taking 52 HOURS in 3 SEMESTERS. She waitresses for spend money. She doesn't work in a print shop, though. And she's WAY too high class to ever be MY wife. Guess the similarities stop there. Hehehe.

13 posted on 01/22/2004 3:47:48 PM PST by The Black Knight
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To: Blue Screen of Death
That's just TOO funny.
14 posted on 01/22/2004 3:50:41 PM PST by The Black Knight
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To: The Black Knight
Sorry BK I just couldnt finish this article .it really got my dandruff up. what a snide,condesending arse this so-called journalist is.
15 posted on 01/22/2004 3:54:05 PM PST by suzyq5558 (WARNING! this tagline does not dial 911..........)
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To: The Black Knight
"It just . . . seemed to be a dwindling of responsibility," she says. "People more and more just seem to be looking at their own individual self-interests rather than the larger interests that may be necessary for all of us to live together."

I love it!!! In typical "1984" style, they've reversed the meaning of the word responsibility from self reliance to a belief in handouts from nanny state politicians. Literally makes me want to puke.

I flipped past a "documentary" on PBS a few months back where they were talking about how FDR started using the words "liberty" and "freedom" in connection with his liberty and freedom stealing programs, where they had previously meant the choice to take care of your own business without the risk of being interfered with by the government. The narrator seemed to think this was just hunky dory. I kept flipping before I needed to clean off the screen.

16 posted on 01/22/2004 3:54:06 PM PST by Still Thinking
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To: The Black Knight
"national Democrats, even the moderate ones, seem little more than the equivilant of exotic reptiles........"

Priceless!!!
17 posted on 01/22/2004 3:54:23 PM PST by CTOCS
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To: The Black Knight
He pulls in more than $45,000 a year from Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation, where he works as a warehouseman. But his worn face and ragged English betray a life of hard work and hard times ... His older kids' college tuition has jumped (an average of 14 percent in the last year). And, if he's like Sparks, 30 percent of what he managed to stash away for retirement evaporated in a stock market fiasco fueled by corporate greed that a little more government oversight could have prevented.

45 thou per year goes a long way in Blairsville, Georgia. I doubt that Mr. Sparks would trade his life/job for that of the author. Furthermore, Georgia's Hope Scholarship (funded by the lottery) pays tuition and fees for any student maintaining a "B" average. Finally, the "stock market fiasco" (whatever happened to the Reagan-Bush "Decade of Greed"?) "fueled by corporate greed" had nothing to do with corporate greed. It had everything to do with the very human tendency to want something for nothing that led to speculation by many including, evidently, Mr. Sparks.

18 posted on 01/22/2004 3:54:26 PM PST by catpuppy
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To: The Black Knight
I am a Conservative Yankee who now lives in the South. I don't make a lot of money, but my family doesn't go hungry. We don't vote on who is going to give us "free money" (never mind that no money is free) instead we vote on who is going to uphold the moral standards of this nation.

We Vote Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Family, Anti-Homosexual and Anti-Immorality.

Those are really the only issues that matter to us. Lower taxes and other economic things are nice, but those are only icing on the cake. If a candidate wants to destroy one of the pillars of society (marriage) I don't care if they would eliminate ALL Taxes, They won't get my vote.

19 posted on 01/22/2004 3:58:36 PM PST by johnmorris886
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To: The Black Knight
Ah, this is one of those leftist City Paper type of newspapers, where they wear their bias on their shirt.

It certainly drips with liberal contempt for all things culturally and politically conservative.

Sad that the author cant get out of the box of his own biases.

20 posted on 01/22/2004 4:03:31 PM PST by WOSG (I don't want the GOP to become a circular firing squad and the Socialist Democrats a majority.)
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To: johnmorris886
I am a Conservative Yankee who now lives in the South. I don't make a lot of money, but my family doesn't go hungry. We don't vote on who is going to give us "free money" (never mind that no money is free) instead we vote on who is going to uphold the moral standards of this nation.

Well said. This author is clearly a liberal and has not a clue as to that concept of citizenship, nor even the concept of morality. Apparently non-college-educated hard-working low-income people have a better grasp of it than even this journalist.

I've managed to maintain the same political philosophy from studenthood to being well-off and middle-aged, because being conservative is not about my selfish interests or anyones individual interests, but what is the best set of principles to organize society as a whole so ALL of us can live in a free and civil society. Govt should be about protecting our society and its key institutions (like marriage and family!) and protecting rights of individuals to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. It should not be about handouts and govt redistribution. This journalist wrongly thinks people should be emotion ("angry") that some have more and some have less. But that is ENVY, a sin.

Of course, there are people who vote for the "what can you, Big Daddy Govt, do for *me*?" ... reminds me of that pony-tail guy from the 1992 debate.

21 posted on 01/22/2004 4:15:10 PM PST by WOSG (I don't want the GOP to become a circular firing squad and the Socialist Democrats a majority.)
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To: catpuppy
Dittos on the stock market point.

And also his point has been *erased* by the 40% climb in the markets since last March!!!

22 posted on 01/22/2004 4:16:18 PM PST by WOSG (I don't want the GOP to become a circular firing squad and the Socialist Democrats a majority.)
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To: The Black Knight
I may be a poor southern white, but I am smart enough not to try to get any political insights from "Creative Loafing".

If I wanted to find a dildo store or a massage parlor, CL is fine. But politically, they are all Maoist/Marxist, God-hating, gay-loving, progressive elitists. Their solution to everything, especially in handing all us dumb white southerners, is another big-government program, centrally administered by someone who thinks they are smarter than us.

Elitist pricks like this "writer" and the rest of the CL staff are what represent Democrats to me. And that is why I no longer vote democrat.
23 posted on 01/22/2004 4:16:51 PM PST by spodefly (This is my tagline. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: The Black Knight
Last year, in honor of the Roe v. Wade anniversary, Kevin Griffis penned a long, long, long piece in the Atlanta Creative Loafing to trash pro-lifers and celebrate the joys of baby-killing. This is one bad fella.
24 posted on 01/22/2004 4:22:38 PM PST by madprof98
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To: The Black Knight

OMG.... I'm pretty sure he managed to put every Southern stereotype in that one article...*gag* ...did you see the part where us ignernt 'little women' are just gonna vote for who our husbands vote for...not a working brain cell in our purty little heads...what a typical insulting article about Southerners. Go figure
25 posted on 01/22/2004 4:25:34 PM PST by SouthernFreebird ( Go Panthers !)
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To: madprof98
I should have checked before my last post. It seems Griffis has also gotten his piece into the Atlanta incarnation of Creative Loafing. I didn't know that because--even though CL is free and widely available--I hadn't bothered to pick up this week's edition from one of the boxes scattered around town. Of course, at this time of year, some of those boxes empty out quickly because a lot of homeless people grab the CLs and stuff them inbetween their blankets to keep warm.
26 posted on 01/22/2004 4:26:17 PM PST by madprof98
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To: The Black Knight
"The answers were both depressingly facile, filled with the parroted lingo of the rightwing media echo chamber."

No bias here.

The old southern Democrats are dead or are dying...

27 posted on 01/22/2004 4:32:36 PM PST by blam
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To: Old Sarge
Can Democrats ever regain the support of Southern whites?

At this point, can Democrats even be sure of holding the loyalty of an overwhelming majority of the Americans of African descent much longer?

The Democrats have trouble mustering any kind of a coalition to challenge the rise in general prosperity, all their rhetoric to the contrary. When there is talk of phasing out a reduction in tax rates, more and more people realize this is directly a pay reduction from what they now are receiving. Things have only recently gotten easier, why vote to return to hardship?

28 posted on 01/22/2004 4:35:20 PM PST by alloysteel
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To: The Black Knight
Well, now, I'm not fer shure, but I thank that Yankee just insulted me. (And don't try tellin' me he ain't know Yankee. He dang shure is, with talk like that.) Is he tryna say thit I'm to dumb ta vote? Mayhap he don't meen me, seeins how I'm livin' up north rite now. But that's jist tempary. If'n I'da been in that Walmart when he come in spewin' his trash, I'da whupped up on his communist butt and sent him flyin' out inta the parkin' lot, cryin' fer his mama. The onliest reason he didn't see no outrage, like he said, is cuz Southerners are mostly too polite. But I been livin' up here in New Jersey, crowded in with folks like him long nuff to know that manners don't work on his kind. You got to stomp 'em in the mud like the reptiles they is.
29 posted on 01/22/2004 4:39:23 PM PST by BykrBayb (Temporary tagline. Applied to State of New Jersey for permanent tagline (12/24/03).)
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To: Who dat?
That's what I was thinking. My kids paid their own way by working, getting grants and loans. A college education paid for my parents is not as appreciated by the child as one they work for themselves. Self-esteem you know.
30 posted on 01/22/2004 5:12:54 PM PST by WVNan
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To: Wolfgang_Blitzkrieg
This writer is a condescending idiot. He doesn't come near being as wise as the people he's obviously disrespecting. The obvious question in response to this garbage is: If the South is so poor and the people are so dumb, why is this after 40 years of Democrat social engineeering? Hummmmm? If the Democrats can do soooo much for these poor people, why haven't they?
31 posted on 01/22/2004 5:17:31 PM PST by WVNan
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To: madprof98
I should have checked before my last post. It seems Griffis has also gotten his piece into the Atlanta incarnation of Creative Loafing. I didn't know that because--even though CL is free and widely available--I hadn't bothered to pick up this week's edition from one of the boxes scattered around town.

Yeah, I usually don't read it either. But I just got outta class, and was gonna burn some time. I thought I'd get the typical liberal crap, but this just took the cake. That's why I put it on here in the first place. Made by blood boil, and I'm USED to this crap.

32 posted on 01/22/2004 5:57:56 PM PST by The Black Knight
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To: The Black Knight
Articles like this one, which are based entirely on anecdotes, are always, always, ALWAYS complete failures at "proving" whatever point it is that the author is attempting to get across. I could go visit the exact same towns this guy did, hang out in the exact same Wal-Mart, etc, and come away with an article making it "crystal clear" that the Hick South is a Democratic stranglehold. All you have to do is be willing to invest the time to meet enough people who fit the stereotype that you have decided in advance that you wish to highlight.
33 posted on 01/22/2004 8:37:42 PM PST by Timesink (Two fonts walk into a bar. The bartender says, "We don't serve your type here.")
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To: The Black Knight
Never mind, of course, that it was the Democrat Clinton who signed the welfare-to-work legislation...

Kicking and screaming, right before an election, with some vague promise to "fix it" after he was re-elected along with the 'rats newly reclaimed House and Senate.

34 posted on 01/22/2004 9:24:14 PM PST by Morgan's Raider
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To: The Black Knight
It's always amusing to watch elitist northeastern transplants try to comprehend the south. They never have been able to and likely never will. This guy is no different, which is why his article is so terrible and so wrong.

The average leftist yankee know-it-all thinks of us as dumb racist hicks who hang out in wal-mart parking lots and go to klan rallies for fun. They think we're too stupid to know what's best for us (i.e. our economic interests) and believe we need to be shown the way...by them of course. And they cannot for the life of them figure out why we don't eat up their welfare handout programs that they use to buy voters in every other region of the country. Every last one of them is smug, arrogant, snobbish, nosey, and, above all, extremely prone to inserting himself into other people's business and attempting to direct their lives. They are truly the most wretchid and arrogant scoundrels on the face of this earth and every day that any honest, decent and hard working individual has to spend encountering them is a curse.

Two years ago I drove to Louisiana as a volunteer for the Terrell campaign to oust Mary Landrieu. Landrieu and her DNC backers had recruited and hired workers straight out of the womens studies departments of every left wing northeaster college campus they could get to and bussed em down to counter us. They were some truly hideous beasts: spiked purple haircut black makeup overweight tank top wearing armpit hair showing pierced lip lesbian vegan goth abortionist yankee banshees. Worst of all, every last one of em though she was on a modern day "freedom ride" to the south to "liberate" the economically oppressed and ignorant backwoods poor people from us evil demagogue racist corporatist republicans. They were fun to taunt though, so all was not lost.

35 posted on 01/22/2004 10:20:48 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: The Black Knight
Man... well done, Sir Knight. that is definitely the fisking of the day. And this schmuck deserved it.

I know Winter Haven and Lakeland really well; I have friends who live there. They got hosed worse than many others by the economic downturn and the reduction in travel in the first year of the war. (The Cypress Gardens resort, which employed hundreds, went paws up, for one thing).

But this guy who wrote this is simply priceless. You can almost feel him seething, Don't these inbred hayseeds know that we know better what's good for them... they should give up their guns, give their kids to Michael Jackson, celebrate diversity, perversity and buggery, and just generally shut the heck up and vote for us!

And then he's actually surprized that they don't want to vote for his wonderful party. Glory.

d.o.l.

Criminal Number 18F

36 posted on 01/22/2004 10:56:53 PM PST by Criminal Number 18F
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To: The Black Knight; Moose4
mebbe the author should have spent less time at the Tiger Tale and more time writing this piece.
37 posted on 01/23/2004 5:55:28 AM PST by stainlessbanner
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