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Friday, April 02, 2004

Red and blue

With all this talk about red vs. blue states, I have felt the urge to weigh in. I live smack dab in the middle of the Big Red State. But I also live in a pretty standard blue city. But I have serious problems with the red and blue divide. It is a useful tool, and it's been an extremely useful tool for Republicans, useful to create resentment and garner working class votes. Blue voters, aka "elitist liberals", are stereotyped as overly educated and without "common sense", stuck on material goods that red voters supposedly do not have access to while piously mocking the down-home taste of red voters. The gay marriage thing is a standard-issue wedge between red and blue voters. It's not just about homosexuality, it's feeding into decades resentment over this educated elite who allows themselves sexual freedom. I find it interesting how many people aren't angry about being condescended to by the Republican party, who apparently thinks their base is ignorant, repressed, and tasteless and ripe for resenting the educated, free and tasteful.
Alot of people instinctively relate to this great divide. In fact, alot of us who came from blue collar, conservative backgrounds only to become educated and liberal tend to wish for a straightforward red/blue divide. But the red/blue divide is handy for conservatives and gives them a blueprint for breeding resentment. It needs to be examined more closely. Are the reds and blues really so far apart?
David Brooks claimed to prove that indeed the uneducated red salt-of-the-earth myth was true. This article demonstrates he basically made it all up. I wish the author had pounded him harder on the way he implied that blue women had better bodies; the anti-gay thing is really bringing the sexual resentment part of the sell to the forefront and it needs more examination.
I liked this article, so I decided to do a quick overview of my friends who I know for a fact vote Democratic and see how "blue" they really are.
Guns: Yep. I don't own them, but I've definitely fired them. Most of my friends think guns should be legal, at least for sport. Many own guns.
Taste in food/drink: Mostly we drink Lone Star when we hang out together. I like to cook and so do a couple friends of mine, but as a general rule, the big occasion is old-fashioned barbeque. Wine is nearly unknown. Margaritas are considered fancy drinking.
Book larnin': About half with college degrees, half without.
Coffee drinking: No one I know likes latte. I may be wrong, but I think everyone is standard coffee-drinking.
Music: Lots of punk rockers. Yes, liberal generally. But stereotypically blue? Not in the slightest.
Cars: Wide variety, everything from pickups to electric cars to muscle cars.
Clothes: Not designer by any stretch. Unless Goodwill is a designer.

Mostly, I am not well-off enough to be a blue liberal and neither are my friends. This blue vs. red thing is kind of yuppie baiting. Make no mistake about who the real yuppies are, though.


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