During the protests against America’s involvement in the Viet Nam war, it became very popular for warmongers and so-called patriots to tell young men facing losing their lives in a worthless war and those protesting to save them that this is “America, love it or leave it.” The implication was that since Congress adhered to the Constitution in waging war, regardless the devastating consequences, the American people were obliged to either show their love of country and support the war or get out. There is a segment of the population today that hates America, its people, and the nation’s founding document, but instead of packing up and leaving the country, they have tasked Republicans to punish the entire population by legislating that all Americans suffer their lifestyle founded on poverty, bigotry, ill-health, and religious ignorance. Although there are Americans who hate this nation across the country, it is the former Confederacy that is punishing the people because they failed in their attempt to destroy America of their rejection of the United States Constitution they claim to love.
Southern states are still resentful they were unable to rip America apart because the Constitution forbade them from keeping dark-skinned human beings as livestock, so they spent the past 149 years punishing different groups of Americans based on their religion’s instruction manual (Christian bible). Over the past thirty years, angry southerners began electing Republicans to strip everything from the people until they relented to a government by bible that drove their attempt to restrict other Americans from their Constitutional freedoms. Republicans have happily accommodated southerners to bring down the rest of the nation to their level of poverty and distress that southern red state voters embrace so long as they have imaginary enemies who believe Americans deserve more than slave wages, sickness, dire poverty, prayer, and firearms.
It is fairly common knowledge the former Confederacy considered owning human beings a biblically-supported and constitutional right according to their interpretation of the 10th Amendment. But even after losing the Civil War they persisted in targeting other groups for discrimination with biblical justification. Since their war against America, southern states opposed interracial marriage, women’s right to vote, civil rights, voting rights, women’s right to choose their reproductive health, and recently gay rights. The impetus for their opposition to those rights guaranteed in the Constitution is founded in their religion and since they were prohibited by the Constitution from depriving those groups of their rights, they have taken out their anger on the rest of the population by electing Republicans to Congress who promise to subject every American to conditions red southern state residents live under including poverty, slave wages, sickness and disease, and no hope of ever escaping their chosen lifestyle.
It is difficult for reasonable Americans to comprehend why voters in the South continue electing Republicans that campaign on perpetuating living conditions most Americans consider unacceptable. It is not because they believe all Americans live in poverty and love it, or that they are unaware their miserable plight is unavoidable. Most likely they are willing to live in poverty and ill-health with no chance of escaping because they are angry the rest of the nation will not tolerate their bigotry and hate; their only recourse is electing Republicans to legislate America into one big red state mired in bigotry, religion, guns, and deep poverty.
According to The Department of Agriculture’s measure of poverty, every red state from Arizona to South Carolina has the highest poverty rates in America; between 17.9% and 22.8%. The so-called bible belt is America’s poverty belt including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, nearly one in four children trapped in Southern red states live in dire poverty and parents of those children elect Republicans to make those despicable statistics uniform across America. Part and parcel of conditions driving the South’s poverty is low wages that voters elect Republicans to perpetuate across America.
Southern states are hostile to organized labor, five states have no state minimum wage, most are “right to work for less” states, and the 10 states with the lowest average incomes are in the former Confederacy including Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, New Mexico, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina and Oklahoma according to the Equality of Economic Opportunity Project. Republicans in Congress promote policies that create poverty across the South and red state voters elect them anyway to subject the entire nation to low wages and the poverty they engender.
The depth of Southern voters’ hatred for other Americans and their own families is evident in their support for Republicans that rejected expanding Medicaid in most of the South. According to a map by the Urban Institute, counties with the most people without healthcare insurance are in the Southern United States and it defies comprehension why voters support Republicans who prevent their children, parents, brothers and sisters from access to healthcare that does not cost states one cent for the first few years and only 10% (at most) thereafter. The same voters avidly oppose the Affordable Care Act that reveals they want tens-of-millions of Americans to suffer the same ill-health and disease they choose for their families.
It is unfathomable that residents in southern red states reject attempts to help them climb out of poverty and sickness, but religion and guns are powerful motivators for people still holding a grudge over being prevented from owning slaves, restricting women’s rights, and discriminating against Americans according to their religious beliefs. It is no coincidence that the poorest Southern states are also the most religious and have the most firearm violence. In fact, the poorest states have the highest incidence of gun violence to go along with some of the highest gun ownership rates that Republicans take advantage of by joining the National Rifle Association fear mongering that President Obama is coming after their guns as fervently as he is coming after their religious liberty.
Many pundits assert the conditions in southern red states are the fault of Republican-dominated legislatures, but without voters electing Republicans and teabaggers to preserve the deplorable conditions southern states would not lead the nation in poverty. Unfortunately, the same people electing Republicans at the state level vote for Republicans in Congress because they promise to oppose Democrats and President Obama’s campaign to disarm Southern state residents’ of their guns and bibles. It is certain that if President Obama and Democrats supported religious-driven bigotry and gun fanaticism, red southern state voters would reciprocate and support policies giving them decent wages, healthcare, and domestic programs to combat poverty. However, since that will never happen they will vote to elect Republicans to Congress to impose their deplorable living conditions on the entire population and spread their real America to every state in the Union.
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.