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The Voters of Appalachia
Newsweek ^ | July 7-14, 2008 | Steve Tuttle

Posted on 07/03/2008 2:19:08 PM PDT by forkinsocket

"Hick." "Hillbilly." "Redneck." "Inbred." "Cracker." "Ridge Runner." I heard and self-effacingly used them all when I left the mountains of Appalachia to attend college in the great metropolis of Williamsburg, Va., in the '80s. I was mercilessly ribbed as a rube when I brought along my sky-blue JCPenney suit—with reversible vest—and my stack of Willie and Waylon albums, and entered a world that was as foreign to me as I must have seemed to my fancy William & Mary roommates from the private schools. Imagine my surprise at their surprise when, thinking nothing of it, I casually mentioned that I missed my mom's home-cooked squirrel.

Well, look who's laughing now. In this strangest of political seasons, Appalachia, the last forgotten place in America, suddenly matters. Never mind Florida and Michigan. In a close election come November, the difference between President McCain and President Obama could come down to me and my people: a bunch of ornery, racist, coal-minin', banjo-pickin', Scots-Irish hillbillies clinging to our guns and religion on the side of some Godforsaken, moonshine-soaked ridge in West Virginia. The Democrats comically pandered to all these stereotypes during this spring's primaries, when the 23 million people of Appalachia—that 1,000-mile mountainous stretch from southern New York to the middle of Alabama—briefly hijacked the presidential race. Scrounging for every last vote, the candidates went out of their way to look country. Hillary got all twangy. Barack tasted beer.

It was fun to watch them make fools of themselves. It was also a little depressing. Taking in the coverage, I was struck by how clueless people still are—and this goes double for presidential contenders—about this vast chunk of the country. If they think about it at all, it's not as a real place where actual people live actual lives.

(Excerpt) Read more at newsweek.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Politics/Elections; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: 2008; appalachia; elections; mccain; obama; ruralvote
.
1 posted on 07/03/2008 2:19:08 PM PDT by forkinsocket
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To: All

bookmarking for reading


2 posted on 07/03/2008 2:22:29 PM PDT by rbmillerjr ("bigger government means constricting freedom"....................RWR)
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To: forkinsocket
Then there's Cletus Del Roy Spuckler, arguably the stupidest of all the characters on "The Simpsons." He eats skunk, makes moonshine and, in a running gag, may or not be married to a close relative.

That character is annoying. One of the many reasons why the show should have been canceled a while ago.

But how current a problem is this kind of prejudice? There's always a city vs. country split and there always will be one, but does the country even think about "hillbillies" as much as it did thirty or forty years ago?

3 posted on 07/03/2008 2:30:10 PM PDT by x
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To: forkinsocket

“Scots-Irish hillbillies”

Well, none of the hillbillies I grew up with were Scots-Irish. They were mostly English (surnames) but really had no idea where their ancestors were from. I miss a fine roast squirrel and snapping turtle soup. Good eatin’.


4 posted on 07/03/2008 2:30:25 PM PDT by Varda
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To: forkinsocket

Stereotypes die hard.

The real racists are in New York City and they are Democrats.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KACQuZVAE3s


5 posted on 07/03/2008 2:30:46 PM PDT by eleni121 (EN TOUTO NIKA!! +)
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To: PreviouslyA-Lurker

read later


6 posted on 07/03/2008 2:32:34 PM PDT by PreviouslyA-Lurker (...where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty... 2 Corinthians 3:16-18)
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To: forkinsocket

“Hillary got all twangy.”

This is something liberals do. They seem to have no idea how idiotic they sound.


7 posted on 07/03/2008 2:32:57 PM PDT by Varda
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To: forkinsocket

I think W Va is one of the most beautiful places this girl has ever been.


8 posted on 07/03/2008 2:33:08 PM PDT by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys--Reagan and Bush)
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To: Varda

Other so-called forgotten places are the ‘hood, the barrio, and Indian reservations. I’m sure all of these places are actually different than the stereotypes about them.


9 posted on 07/03/2008 2:33:30 PM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
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To: forkinsocket

Well. That was a waste of five perfectly good minutes. Thanks for nothing.


10 posted on 07/03/2008 2:35:27 PM PDT by don-o (Have you donated to FR? If not, why not?)
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To: yldstrk

Me too.


11 posted on 07/03/2008 2:36:13 PM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we write in marble. JHuett)
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To: Varda

And remember the time Hillary drawled : “Aaahh don’t feeel nooo waaaays tard” Can you imagine if a Republican had mocked a black person’s accent that way?

Liberals can say idiotic things too. Remember the time Hillary spoke to largely black group and said that the Republicans ran Congress like a plantation? Yep, I’m sure all those black city folks in the audience immediately could identify with the cotton plantations of the old South. Why else would she describe it as a plantation? Why not as a dictatorship or monarchy or some other term suggesting that the Dems. in Congress felt like they were ignored?


12 posted on 07/03/2008 2:37:17 PM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Dilbert San Diego

NO doubt. There is always the attempt to define people without getting to know them, especially poor people and their snotty nose kids.


13 posted on 07/03/2008 2:42:09 PM PDT by Varda
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To: yldstrk

Appalachia is a wonderful place to live. the people are great. This is my home. Where ever I go. This will always be my home.


14 posted on 07/03/2008 2:45:59 PM PDT by se_ohio_young_conservative (Dont stop believin... John McCain in 08 !)
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To: Varda

Well, none of the hillbillies I grew up with were Scots-Irish. They were mostly English (surnames) but really had no idea where their ancestors were from. I miss a fine roast squirrel and snapping turtle soup. Good eatin’.

___________________________________

My husband’s family grew up on squirrel and snapping turtle. They lived near the Mississippi and my husband’s father hunted and traded to feed his family. I find when I visit with people who the elite look down upon, a wisdom filled with common sense. It’s a quality sadly lacking in arrogant elites.


15 posted on 07/03/2008 2:47:32 PM PDT by navymom1 (I support Free Speech. Defeat the Fairness Doctrine.)
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To: Varda
I miss a fine roast squirrel and snapping turtle soup. Good eatin’.

I miss my Mammaw's beans and cornbread, and her chicken n' dumplin's were to die for! She always had a big, ripe sliced tomato fresh out of her garden too. Sunday dinners at her house were a real treat.

A few things I inherited from my Appalachian ancestors; being too proud to ask for help, too hard-headed to take to authority very well and a determination to survive no matter what comes my way. I thank God for them each and every day.

I also inherited a healthy suspicion of strangers and people who will say anything to get my vote!

16 posted on 07/03/2008 2:48:12 PM PDT by alicewonders (I'm a conservative, and I'm hated by the GOP & the Dems - I must be doing something right!)
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To: forkinsocket

IF it appears in Newsweek it’s hype.


17 posted on 07/03/2008 2:55:03 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (the media vs. the people.)
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To: forkinsocket
Re: And no one in West Virginia thinks Obama actually kicks back with a bottle of Bud.

Yeah, Steve, but the voters of West Virginia still keep sending Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller back to DC, so they must have a very large suspension of belief factor back in them hills and hollows!

18 posted on 07/03/2008 2:58:40 PM PDT by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: navymom1

I’d guess squirrels and Snapping turtles provided food for country folk where ever they were. I like the general friendly attitude. People would wave as you went by just because you were human. If you acted like a friend, you were a friend. It’s a simple way of judging people and things.


19 posted on 07/03/2008 3:14:46 PM PDT by Varda
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To: forkinsocket

> Scots-Irish hillbillies
Even that is too PC. Those of us that are prefer the Scotch-Irish hillbilly designation.


20 posted on 07/03/2008 3:15:42 PM PDT by BuffaloJack
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To: forkinsocket

I’m always amazed that “Appalachia” doesn’t include the Appalachian Mountains of New England. I guess we were the rich cousins up here. Fine with me. I don’t need to be identified as any kind of a victim.


21 posted on 07/03/2008 3:19:25 PM PDT by Past Your Eyes (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.)
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To: alicewonders

You must of had the best of Appalachian ancestors. I have to admit many West Virginians have no trouble being on welfare. However, “too hard-headed to take to authority very well and a determination to survive no matter what comes my way” is right on the money. Obeying the law is pretty optional to many but most won’t do anything particularly bad.


22 posted on 07/03/2008 3:22:07 PM PDT by Varda
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To: x

When I was in boot camp in Parris Island, SC, I remember a young man, a fellow platoon mate, from West Virginia named Hatfield asking me where I was from. I told him New Hampshire. He said “Is that up near Massachusetts?” I told him it was. He said “Well, at least they won’t call you a hillbilly”. I laughed my head off. I figured I was just as much of a hillbilly as he was and didn’t much care if I got called one.


23 posted on 07/03/2008 3:24:52 PM PDT by Past Your Eyes (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.)
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To: alicewonders

squirrel stew ain’t a bad way to go either. real tender.


24 posted on 07/03/2008 3:29:34 PM PDT by Natchez Hawk (So sue me.)
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To: navymom1

And most of them know how to take care of themselves and their families. I think they are more self-sufficient than city folk.


25 posted on 07/03/2008 3:32:58 PM PDT by nobama08
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To: x
There's always a city vs. country split and there always will be one, but does the country even think about "hillbillies" as much as it did thirty or forty years ago?

Nope. Now the smug big city liberals think everyone from flyover country is a hillbilly and look down their noses at us from 30,000 feet in passing...which is fine, it is more pleasant here that way.

When I first moved up north, I had to leaarn to speak with a 'radio' accent. Not only could I not be understood, but the disdain for someone speaking with a Southern accent was immediate and detrimental, and largely a result of television stereotypes.

After I learned to speak like Johnny Carson (Goodbye, drawl!), I did okay.

It was pretty tough on a science Grad Student on a NSF full ride, though, to be thought an ignoramus because Boss Hogg and Jed Clampett were the only exposure anyone had had here to someone who 'spoke Southern'.

26 posted on 07/03/2008 3:35:51 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: Varda
Even though my parents grew up "dirt poor" (my mother went to a one-room schoolhouse & the house she grew up in had floor boards spaced so wide apart, she said they couldn't play marbles in the house without them going through the floor - they also wallpapered their house with pages from Montgomery Ward catalogs) - no one in our family has EVER been on welfare. It just wasn't an option.

Here's a picture of my great-grandmother and my great-great-grandfather with my dad and his older brothers. The boys all ended up with college degrees or owning their own successful businesses. My dad put himself through college selling strawberries he raised and everything else he could do to make money. America sure has gotten off track - welfare never has eliminated poverty.


27 posted on 07/03/2008 4:03:22 PM PDT by alicewonders (I'm a conservative, and I'm hated by the GOP & the Dems - I must be doing something right!)
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To: alicewonders

I see the picture says Ramage WV. My maternal grandparents were from Six Mile (Hager).

USN40VET


28 posted on 07/03/2008 4:20:55 PM PDT by USN40VET
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To: Varda

Allot of the Scotch-Irish were English, Maxwell and Sandlin, in my family were from Northern England originally.


29 posted on 07/03/2008 4:45:41 PM PDT by Little Bill (Welcome to the Newly Socialist State of New Hampshire)
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To: don-o

Emailed it to my daughter and asked if she knew this nitwit.
She went through W&M at the same time.


30 posted on 07/03/2008 4:47:37 PM PDT by oldironsides
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To: forkinsocket
No one should attempt to make any analyisis of American cultural and political geographic regions without first studying Albion’s Seed .

http://images.alibris.com/isbn/9780195069051.gif

31 posted on 07/03/2008 4:56:54 PM PDT by Plutarch
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To: USN40VET

My ancestors came over from England and Ireland in the 1700’s to Virginia, making their way west until gradually settling in Pike County, Kentucky - where my grandparents & parents lived. After WWII - they scattered to the cities. I only have a few kinfolk left up there now.

I’m proud of my heritage - call me a hillbilly anytime - I love it!


32 posted on 07/03/2008 5:11:02 PM PDT by alicewonders (I'm a conservative, and I'm hated by the GOP & the Dems - I must be doing something right!)
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To: yldstrk
I think W Va is one of the most beautiful places this girl has ever been.

SirKit and I once spent Columbus Day weekend, which sometimes coincides with our Anniversary date, at the hotel at Canaan Valley Resort in WV. The next year, we went back, bringing our two young boys, and stayed in a cabin. We had such a great time! We had deer come within 10 ft. of our front porch! The Resort even had activities for the kids, and I still have a set of candles that I dipped there. It is just a beautiful place.

It was a lovely weekend, and we went down to Blackwater Falls State Park to hike some of the falls there. It's been 20 years since we were there, but I'd love to go back sometime.

33 posted on 07/03/2008 5:15:58 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Varda

I’d guess squirrels and Snapping turtles provided food for country folk where ever they were. I like the general friendly attitude. People would wave as you went by just because you were human. If you acted like a friend, you were a friend. It’s a simple way of judging people and things.

_______________________________________

Yes, and a handshake meant something and so did one’s word. I’m from Kansas myself and have been lucky to know people like this. Sadly they are fewer and farer between.


34 posted on 07/03/2008 5:27:26 PM PDT by navymom1 (I support Free Speech. Defeat the Fairness Doctrine.)
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To: Plutarch

Sounds interesting! I really enjoy reading history! I’ll have to check our local library to see if they have it, or I can get it through the system.


35 posted on 07/03/2008 5:39:42 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: forkinsocket

I have a master’s degree and I’m a “Hick” a “Redneck” and a “Cracker”.


36 posted on 07/03/2008 6:12:53 PM PDT by Liberty 275
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To: SuziQ
Sounds interesting! I really enjoy reading history!

Well, it is more than History, it is like a Rosetta Stone for American culture.

37 posted on 07/03/2008 7:39:17 PM PDT by Plutarch
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To: alicewonders

Yes America has really gotten off track. My Dad used to tell us about his mother not accepting help even though the aid office left packages on the doorstep. They weren’t allowed to touch them. It’s too bad that attitude is not only not celebrated these days, it’s not acknowledged that it existed.


38 posted on 07/03/2008 8:38:02 PM PDT by Varda
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To: Little Bill

That I didn’t know. I thought the Scots-Irish were protestant Scots sent to Ireland to settle it.


39 posted on 07/03/2008 8:41:15 PM PDT by Varda
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To: alicewonders

Alicewonders: In case you are not familiar with Ramage,WV noted on the photo, Six Mile Creek discharges into the Spruce Fork of the Coal River at Ramage. My grandparents lived no more than 3 or 4 miles from Ramage, up Six Mile.


40 posted on 07/04/2008 5:27:16 AM PDT by USN40VET
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To: forkinsocket
I think that many Democrats in South west Virginia and East Tennessee, including the union type, have rationalized Hussein to be a Muslim. They won't vote for a Black man but being good Democrats won't discriminate because of race. They therefore discriminate on religion.
41 posted on 07/04/2008 5:36:56 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Conservation? Let the NE Yankees freeze.... in the dark)
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To: USN40VET

Thanks for the info. Can you tell me how far that is from the Kentucky border? Around the Jenkins, Ky/Pound, Va area? That’s where some of my family lived. I would like to know where Ramage is, I never knew my great-grandmother & I think that is where she was from.


42 posted on 07/04/2008 7:26:07 AM PDT by alicewonders (I'm a conservative, and I'm hated by the GOP & the Dems - I must be doing something right!)
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To: alicewonders

Alicewonders:

It is approximately 50 miles or so from Ramage in Boone County WV to the KY border with WV at Williamson. It is Pike County KY when you cross the border. Jenkins KY is about 100 to 110 miles from Ramage WV, driving through Williamson and Pikeville KY. This is Hatfield and McCoy country!

If you have ancestors from anywhere in the SW VA, E KY, or S WV area, I have access to a huge gen database which one of my cousins maintains; it probably has over 100K individuals listed. If you are interested, and you want to me to look up some surnames, I would be pleased to help. Alternately, I could arrange for you to get access to the database. More than likely, if your great grandmother lived in the Ramage area, there will be info available.


43 posted on 07/04/2008 9:38:27 AM PDT by USN40VET
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To: forkinsocket

“Waters is right: would an elected official make a joke that coarse in public about any other group of Americans?”

Does the phrase “White N******” ring a bell?


44 posted on 07/04/2008 9:40:03 AM PDT by jamndad5 ("I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.")
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