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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Why southern whites vote Republican.

Kevin Griffis of the Atlanta (GA) weekly Creative Loafing took a drive around the South, talking to rural white people, and trying to figure out why they vote Republican when the GOP doesn't do a thing for anyone except the wealthy.

Watching him light up Winstons or ramble up the drive to his home in his heavy-duty pick-up, you might pigeonhole [Carlton] Sparks with a glance — typical NASCAR dad. You'd be wrong. He defies easy categorization. True, one minute he's doling out the Fox News/talk radio cliches about "big government" and school prayer, but in his next breath, he's telling the stories of his neighbors and coworkers, talking vividly about the death grip squeezing rural middle class America, the battle he watches, in person, every day. It has nothing to do with affirmative action or the pledge of allegiance.

In Sparks lies the great conundrum of modern Southern politics: The average white male, for whom the system has always worked, is having an increasingly difficult 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 jumped (14 percent in the last year, on average). And heaven help his children if they don't go to college, because they're bound for a near-feudal system of working for wealthy people in low-paying service sector jobs. Moreover, if the average Joe is like Sparks, 30 percent of what he stashed away for retirement evaporated in a stock market fiasco fueled by corporate greed that a bit more government oversight could have prevented.

So where's the anger? Why isn't he pissed that he's not getting more bang for his taxpayer buck? And why in the world is he going to vote for a president based on a side issue like gay marriage?


Via AlterNet.

| | Posted by Magpie at 2:26 PM | Get permalink




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