Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Kick off those muddy work boots and set a spell. We've got to talk some more about rednecks.
The Fourth of July will soon be upon us. It's a great day to cook burgers and lose a few fingers when the fireworks malfunction. So, no time better than the present to explore the exciting topic of redneck politics!
I "came up" in the Appalachian mountains, before satellite t.v. and computers and all that stuff. Admittedly, I don't live in the mountains anymore. But I do visit alot.
To hear certain talk radio personalities, you'd think that all rednecks are ... well ... red. Not red as in Commie red, but red as in Republican.
Well, by damn. It's bad enough that all the college pukes write us off as a bunch of savages who hide behind rocks, waiting for Ned Beatty to blunder in. But to think that we're being lumped into the G.O.P. fold as a big, fat group. Just boils this expatriate hillbilly's blood.
In the heart of real redneck country lie some of the most pro-union counties in America. These are the tough folks who had to go up against Big Corporate Interests and even the National Guard when they dared to strike for living wages in the mines and factories. Last time I looked, Norma Rae wasn't no Princeton grad. Nor can I see her voting Republican or turning her radio to Rush for guidance.
These same good folks are the ones who've seen their jobs go abroad to non-union foreigners, their mountains carved into deserts by Big Coal, and their rugged individualism challenged by backward, politically-motivated preachers.
I'll agree that Rush has made inroads among the redneck population, but that's only because his backers can send out the strongest radio signals. There's not a hollow deep enough that conservative radio doesn't penetrate it.
But that doesn't mean that all rednecks buy the red agenda. Let's do a little categorizing here. Remind Rush that some people think for themselves. Remind Hollywood that some people think.
THE VARIETIES OF WHITE AND BLUE REDNECK
1. The Rebel. This redneck has never surrendered to the U.S.A. and recalls bitterly that it was a Republican president who flattened the South in 1865. Sad to say, Republicans are courting these folks by painting Democrats as a bunch of college-educated city slickers. Don't buy the bull, Stonewall. If you and yours elect a Democrat from your state, won't that candidate reflect your values? (P.S. - Save those Confederate dollars, bring 'em to the Empire of Appalachia.)
2. The Bad Ass. Who ever said all rednecks go to mega-churches, where they soak up red politics? Hell, Sunday is for rippin' around the fire roads on your Harley! Those church people have their snoots in the air so they can look down on everyone who doesn't do what they do. Who votes those sort of hypocrites into power? Bad Asses don't make up their minds about anything easily, and they're not gonna be told who to vote for. Anyone who counts on them in an election is likely to get stomped, just because Bad Asses hate to be pigeonholed.
3. The Lone Wolf. Better leave this one alone, not talk to him or her. Better not set out for a stroll across the barbed wire surrounding the property. This redneck hates all forms of government and has never met a politician of any party that he or she didn't want to spit on. (This is the category of redneck that fits the author of this blog.)
4. Union Yes! All you pro-union rednecks, stand up and be recognized! You vote Republican? I didn't think so.
5. (Gasp!) The Green White Blue Redneck. So many colors, so little time! This redneck actually appreciates the beauty of the country he or she lives in, and so has little patience with heavy machinery, natural gas leases, clear-cutting, or radical strip mining. Surprise, surprise. They'd vote a whipporwill into the White House before they'd vote red. (A lot of these rednecks live in cities now, since having been forced from their lands, either by coal interests or the red feds - how do you think that Skyline Drive would look if all the hillbillies still farmed the land they once owned?)
6. The Old Order Mennonite. Let us not forget the growing rural population of God's Chosen People, the only ones who are really going to heaven. These people do not vote and do not follow national politics, because the worldly concerns of sinners do not matter a bit in God's Plan for the Salvation of Mankind. How, you ask, can these people be growing in numbers? Each set of parents produces anywhere from 8 to 15 children. You do the math.
7. The Fringe Farmer. You know this guy. He's the one trying to keep the family farm even though a huge new Wal-Mart and a strip shopping center containing a Home Depot, a Barnes & Noble, and three Starbucks just went up across the lane. He's getting sixteen calls a week from realtors, and someone just burned down his barn. He doesn't think it's the Earth Liberation Front. This guy is savvy to the workings of Corporate Interests, and he sees right through Rush Limbaugh. The Fringe Farmer doesn't want to be a millionaire. He wants to hand down the family business to his kids. He votes blue because he sees red - the Target store that ruined his view of the mountains.
8.The Bubba Who Knows Who Butters His Bread. Go figure. A "backward" state like West Virginia keeps voting and voting and voting for one of the bluest senators in modern history -- a senator who dared to stand up and denounce the War in Iraq even BEFORE no WMD were discovered! Robert Byrd. What's the deal with Robert Byrd? Take a look at the committee he chairs, and has chaired, and will chair until he dies. And then tell me redneck voters are stupid. "Where will we put the $70 million Institute for the Study of the Snail Darter? Hmmm. How about West Virginia?" A senator with seniority is a very valuable commodity.
9. The Urban Redneck. There are millions of these, and most of them are either in a union or wish they were. These guys and gals fund the Democratic Party, and they're sick and tired of being told that gay marriage is a more important national issue than NAFTA.
10. The Live and Let Live Redneck. These folks are likely to vote blue in the future because they don't want to be told how to live, how to die, how to breed, or how to rat their neighbors out as unpatriotic. These are true conservatives who don't want the government interfering in their personal lives -- and they see that happening all around them.
As a Caucasian person, I am not equipped to discuss Black and Blue Rednecks, but it's my sense that, unless they're really REALLY religious, these folks consistently vote Democratic. And gosh, why not? What do they admire more, Head Start or Condoleeza Rice?
Hey, Rush! You can fool some of the rednecks some of the time, but don't set off in a canoe for a little float down a Category 5 rapid through the heart of Appalachia. Then again, why don'tcha? Bring Bill O'Reilly. When you see my farmhouse, come right on in! You won't miss the house. It's the one surrounded by "NO TRESPASSING" signs and fields all clear and ready for the day when cannabis is legalized.
ANNE RESPECTS HER PEOPLE