Republicans and their teabagger comrades are wont to claim they are the real Americans, and those residing in the former Confederacy like to claim they live in the real America. Never mind that over 150 years ago they waged the nation’s deadliest war to tear America apart, or that they threaten a nullification crusade and secession that led to the Civil War. Republican governors, primarily from Southern states and all ALEC alumni, are running a television ad campaign touting the achievements of Republicans in Southern states they intend on spreading to the rest of the country. It is doubtless the America they created in the South is the goal the Koch brothers, Republicans, and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have for the entire nation. However, if the entire country ever resembled the Southern United States, it would rival the poorest third world nation on the planet and besides less-than-poverty wages, 30% of children living in dire poverty, and religious fundamentalism as higher education, it would be very deadly indeed.
As if the Southern states did not already distinguish themselves with seriously depressing statistics in every quality of life category, eleven of the top 12 states with the highest mortality rates are located in the South. As a contrast, the top 10 states with the lowest mortality rates are in the Northeast and Western United States and of the 25 states that are above the national average, 19 are blue and just six are red. Conversely, of the 25 states below the national average, 17 are red and just eight are blue. It is no coincidence that states with no environmental policies, little to no access to healthcare or insurance, and no workplace regulations are uniquely Republican-controlled Southern states and all contribute to the higher than normal mortality rates.
Every factor contributing to higher than normal mortality rates is the result of conservative policies that were paid for by the Koch brothers and enacted by ALEC with propaganda from Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, and Wall Street. They are all organizations representing corporations benefiting from low wages, no corporate taxes, no environmental protections, no labor protections, and no healthcare for what Southerners call the real America.
It is difficult for reasonable Americans to comprehend why people living in the Southern United States vote for Republicans when their policies have transformed the former Confederacy into a poverty-ridden region including the 14 states with the highest child poverty rates in the nation, and in many cases highest in the world. The South also has the distinction of having the lowest graduation rates in the nation because conservatives have convinced ignorant Southerners that higher education is the purview of snobbish Democrats who will turn good Christian children into dirty fascist liberals, so why graduate from high school. It is likely why Southerners elect Republicans who promise to transfer taxpayer-funded public school money to private religious schools to teach the next generation that destroying the environment is of no consequence because Jesus is returning to “rapture” the faithful to heaven and leave sinners behind to suffer a polluted environment during the War of Armageddon.
Every one of the low Southern state ratings are due to voter ignorance that drives them to vote against their best interests and elect representatives beholden to the Kochs and ALEC that created a workforce that made the South the preferred third-world wage-base for first world nations outsourcing their manufacturing. Southern states have supplanted countries like Indonesia, India, and Pakistan because their residents reliably elect Republicans who enacted ALEC legislation such as right to work for less laws, no overtime pay, no workplace safety, and no vacation time every civilized nation provides their workforce.
It is possible Republicans take advantage of Southern state residents due to their predilection to fundamentalist Christianity, and it informs the ease at which Republicans convince voters that “the other,” “un-American,” and “not like us” President is in a crusade to destroy America as a Christian nation. It is no coincidence that Southern Republicans pass “no Sharia” laws, Draconian abortion laws, and convince residents voter suppression laws are necessary to preserve their Christian way of life. It is likely that many Southerners understand they live, work, and will die prematurely in a hazardous region of the country, but if Christ’s return is just around the corner, why worry or change?
Americans living in the Southern states have the lowest wages, least access to healthcare, highest mortality rate, highest child poverty rate, lowest graduation rate, and least amount of protections for their residents. But they have no-one but themselves to blame because they elect Republicans out of fear, ignorance, and in some distortion of reality; a sense of pride that they are the real Americans living in real America. However, it is a conservative construct because the Koch brothers bought and paid for it to realize their vision of a transformed America.
It is getting difficult to feel empathy for ignorant Southerners, and if not for the people who want better wages, education, food and healthcare for their children, and a safe environment to work and live, it seems it would be in America’s best interest to let the South secede. However, this is America and decent Americans will continue sending their tax dollars to house, feed, provide healthcare, and attempt to educate a population that is determined to undermine the entire nation and fulfill the Koch brothers’ dream of fifty states as hazardous as the South.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.