A reader writes:
"Beautifully expressed"? That's what you called this. Well, maybe. It's certainly well written. But I'm surprised that it didn't get a bunch of votes for a Moore Award. "The planter mentality." Really? They can't just be misguided, uneducated, and wrong? They have to be human traffickers worth going to war over?
Another is more direct:
Okay, seriously, fuck this reader. As a Southern liberal who voted for Obama and gladly will again in 2012, I took offense to almost every word of that sanctimonious tripe.
I'd prefer to spend my life chained to the most backwards, Tea-Party, Limbaugh-listening, gun-toting, NASCAR-loving, backwoods hillbilly you've ever seen than to sit down for a single drink with this reader. It is one thing to be constantly condescended to by the rest of the country because we have funny accents and sweet tea. I am used to the constant reminders of the sins of our fathers (as if the sins were confined to one corner of the country). The Bible-belt moniker no longer bothers me like it used to.
However, one thing I will never get used to is the phenomenon of self-righteous Northerners talking about us as if we all love Jesus and guns and hate non-whites. Almost without fail, these are people who, other than the occasional trip to South Beach, have never been south of the Potomac; who have never lived in a small town; who have never seen a sunset in Texas; who have never never been to Shiloh, or Sharpsburg, or Mannassas, or Vicksburg; who think Faulkner is great because of his stylistic idiosyncrasies and who read the stories of Flannery O'Connor with horror and confusion rather than wonder; who have never loved their racist grandparents simply because family is family; who could not tell the difference between a Tennessee accent and a West Texas drawl; who have never seen the true devotion and love and warmth of the fundamentalist Christians they hate so vehemently.
When I was a boy, I loved the South. When I was a teenager, I hated it, wanted out. Now, I love it all over again, but for different reasons. I know the history of the place, and I know the mentality of so much of the Southern population. I know many Tea Partiers and NRA members and hard-line pro-lifers myself. I love many of them. Some of them are family. I love them too. I disagree with them, sometimes profoundly, but when you grow up with it, you learn to see beyond the caricature painted so crudely in the editorial pages and by your smug, self-satisfied reader. You learn that these people are every bit as capable of real compassion and sacrifice as any Northern son.
Your reader does not understand this place – does not care to try – because he/she does not like guns or Baptist churches or country music. That's fine. Your reader must sleep comfortably knowing that his fathers were on the right side of history. Well done. He/she sure earned his place atop the moral totem pole.
Your reader and I will likely vote the same way in 2012. Your reader, though, is an asshole.
I'm a Southerner and a Dish reader. Imagine my surprise when I read on your blog that in 2008 I viewed the election as "a nigger up against a son of the South". I understand that those weren't your words, but you believed that it was a sentiment worth posting. I felt sick to my stomach that you would post childish rantings of someone who lazily lumps whole groups of people into a simplistic category of evil. Try to maintain some objectivity and don't let your emotions make you a hypocrite. Such mean-spirited generalizations are not tolerated against blacks or gays, and neither should they be tolerated against an entire people.
To dignify that email is beneath you. The reader who wrote it is beneath contempt, not to mention completely ignorant of today's South, where the "niggers" are returning in droves.
(Map via All Economics Is Local)