Sep 18, 2009
commented on Fuck the South
A Generalization of the south? Obviously. (Leave it to the Stranger, my old neighbors in Seattle, to go over-the-top with Op-Eds!)
As a proud southerner and ex-Seattlite of 9 years, who swears his love of both places equally, the premises of "F**k the South" are so ridiculous that it negates some of Seattle's own nefarious past.
The fact that in both the Southern Cascades and the Northern Rockies, have moved the majority of White Supremacists in the country, should raise an eyebrow. To be fair, these numbnuts chose the PacNW due to its wide open spaces, where one can hide out, hunker down, and ferment their paranoia unchecked until they become some of the area's most favorite form of criminal, mass murderers. In the last 40 years, they've moved to the area to escape the mid-west and south, where more and more minorities, women and *EEK!* liberals have taken charge or are making inroads.
But, let's not stop at 40 years; lets go back to the depression. Just 4 counties south of Seattle on I-5 lies the sleepy twin cities of Chehalis and Centralia in Lewis County. The predecessors of companies like Weyerhaeuser were lacking in workers to clear cut the new frontier of the Southern Cascades, in order to rip out and destroy old grow trees so erosion and toxins could build up in the streams.
So, what did they do? "Say, let's go to North Carolina were many loggers are impoverished and out of work." Why not? The lumber companies of NY had completely decimated the Appalachians so that they looked like a desert, so of course folks needed a hand up! So the left coasters packed up their trucks and drove to Mount Airy: polluted swimmin' holes, pig sties, hillbillies!
But, even by western standards, findin' all those good ole boy's up n' dah hollers was a might tough. After tryin' Elks, Eagles and "Odd Feller's" Clubs, they tried the organization that boasted more than just "a -few- good men"....they tried the (drum roll maestro please) John Birch Society! The lumber companies promised them acres of rich land in exchange for meager subsistence pay a company store (which like all, gouged them) and a hovle to live in. (If the Okies had only known how welcome they'd have been in Washington State, they'd never had gone to California after the dust bowl!)
They land they got was flood plain bottom land. Summers were great for growing, but come autumn - yer flooded, so don't build there! But, with thousands of acres between them, they knew they coould eek out a living on crops - particularly -after- the depression and WW2. What happened after WW2? Eisenhower built I-5 using public domain to take land from them for I-5. No problemo: there was so much land to be had, the government simply traded them land further off on high ground, with their frontage -on either side of I-5!-
Up went every form o' business along with land values, making the John Birchers and their decedents instant millionaires - which they remain to this day. Gone are their southern accents. Now they are civic leaders, padding their millions hidden in UBS accounts. The John Birchers were and are basically a more legitimized version of the KKK. The main difference is that instead of a scowl and a hand gun pushed into yer yeller belly, they smile, extend a hand and tell you that as an American, you have a right to die if you don't buy into their Limbaugh/Beck belief systems, and leave it at that. They have booths at county fairs, bake sales with the ladies auxillary and gun shows just to balance the whole Holsum Bakery style charade.
Down in Lewis County, they still have the habit of ppolitical corruption, raping the land, public policy and keeping down those who oppose them. They also have the habit of displaying and using their own good ole boy network to grease palms.
The next time you drive down I-5, stop at exit 76. You'll see a billboard with Uncle Sam on it and some epitaph along the lines of "US out of the UN" or "Divest in the commies at Evergreen College" (one of their favorite targets.) or "procecute Mothers who abort their babies" and other such backward thinking mindlessness. All courtesy of the used car dealer underneath it - a John Bircher. In fact, there are more John Birch society members living in the PacNW than anywhere else in the US.
In conclusion, the south no longer boasts as many conservative crazies as it used to - oh, we have our share. But, we statistically produce more PhDs, more writers and artists than any other region of the country. My resident state, Virginia, put Barak Obama over the top.
Go into the Hills around these parts of VA and down into NC, and you find, like in the rest of the country, quite a few red necks and specifically confederate flags. In fact, the family down the street, who are directly descended from slaves who once worked the property they now own, keep a confederate flag up every day.
We southerners love grits n' red eye gravy, cows tongue, ocra, chittlins and the plentiful supply of venison from deer that are so over-populated that 10 times as many are road-kill than could ever be hunted, at current rates. We like country music, sure. But, we also love blues, jazz and rock n' roll: all of which are southern inventions. We love our hills, shores, lowlands and the outdoors much more than the city, even if we -live- in the city. But, we also love the fine and performing arts in our states that spend more on the arts than most others in the country. (At one time Mississippi, the poorest state, spent more on arts funding from both public and private sources, per capita, than any other state.)
So, if conservatist extremism is the criteria to determine that we should "F*ck the South", ya better "F*ck the Northwest" first. Ergo, the next time you hear banjos playin in the distance, don't think of the south; think of driving along beautiful Route 20 cutting through the mountains from I-5 all the way to Yakima. Remember folks, if you're abducted while hiking the Cascades to "squeal like a pig", if you value your life.
Philip, now living in the Shenandoah mountains, known as Northwestern "the Freestate" Virginia.