Friday, January 26, 2007

Straining the ties that bind

It might surprise some to learn that I greatly admire the work and ideas of Nashville blogger and journalist Sharon Cobb. I have not had the honor and pleasure yet to meet Sharon in person just yet, but I am certain that will come in due time. Those who are somewhat unfamiliar with Tennessee's blogosphere will note that Sharon and I do not agree on many issues-Sharon is very liberal, and I am very not. Sharon raised some excellent points in a comment yesterday, and her thoughts were so penetrating that I may have to serialize my thoughts here.

Sharon points out rather adeptly:

Both parties have mapped out a way to win without the South(minus Florida, where most of its occupants are not originally from the South).

Here our democrats are conservative, and our conservatives are the right wing of the conservative party.Outside of Tennessee and Georgia and other Southern states, Rudy is a good candidate for your side and Obama is a good candidate for my side.

Sam Brownback (whom I personally like for his work with AIDS in Africa and his trips to Darfur) has no chance of playing well in the big electorial states like California, or NY or Florida or Ohio.So why would your party want him for a candidate?

Conversely, Obama probably won't play well in the South. Still, he'll do well in the states I mentioned, so he's an attractive candidate for us.

Either way, both parties are looking at writing off the South completely.What do you think?

Sharon didn't say, but I gather from her context that as a Southerner, she doesn't exactly think this is a good idea. I obviously do not, but I can see how it could be done-at least in a general election. One thing the proponents of this approach seem to forget is that candidates still need to win Primaries to get nominated, and without Southern delegates, it would seem to me to be impossible for a candidate to get nominated at a national convention. If the elites within both parties can find a way for that to happen, both the arch-liberal wing of the Democratic Party and the Rockefeller Republicans would rejoice. I do not care for the idea of being disenfranchised de facto, and that is precisely what would happen.

If such a thing were to happen (and as I said, with the Primary system being what it is, we aren't to that point yet and I hope we don't get there) then something Clark Stooksbury wrote about in November's Chronicles is worth considering:

Decentralization of our monstrously overgrown federal government, however, remains an excellent idea, while dissolution of the Union should be a legitimate topic of discussion, not a hate crime.

If the situation were reversed, and not one but both parties sought a way to ignore the populous and liberal States of the Northeast and West Coast, there would be a justifiable outcry of unfairness from those quarters. Though I passionately do not agree with the politics that waft their way out of those corners of the Union, those citizens and voters have as much right as I do to be represented within our federal system. If both parties (not just one) take it upon themselves to strategize the South away in both Primaries and General Elections, it then becomes time to examine if my great-great Grandfather was correct when he put on a gray uniform and engaged in military conflict aimed at dissolving the Union between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States.

Southern States grouped together would comprise the 4th largest economy in the world. The South already gives the federal Army over half of its soldiers, the Marine Corps well over half of its men and women, and the Navy and Air Force about a third of their quota. Our men and women have died for the Union both before the Late Unpleasantness, after it, and as many in East Tennessee will be glad to remind you, during it as well. The South gave America most all of its musical tradition, much of its culinary tradition, and a massive part of its political and social collective heritage. Whether you are red, yellow, black, or white-no matter where you came from, the idea of the South being written off like some non-relevant backwater should make you cringe if you live here and love this place.

I think Clark Stooksbury is right in saying that the quality of leaders we presently have in the South make it practically impossible for any thinking person to believe that a Southern government would be less corrupt than the Union it would replace. At least, however, Southerners' votes and voices would count for something.

It is because I love America, and because I believe our forebears invested entirely too much blood and toil into establishing our rights within it, that I say what I am about to. If both parties really intend to write off the South from the affairs of national government after the manpower and blood the South has given to the United States, it would then be time for the people on Capitol Hill in Nashville and elsewhere in the South to lower the Stars and Stripes and raise the Stars and Bars.



At Friday, January 26, 2007 1:24:00 PM, Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

Hi David,
Thank you for the mention and response.
A new book called "Whistlin Past Dixie" has me concerned that that is exactly what both sides plan to do, and certainly the democrats plan to do.
The author was talking about how they would focus on a few states in the midwest instead of the South, then the obvious States.
As a lifelong southerner, I sort of got a sick feeling in my gut when he was talking. But this seems to be the plan for the Democrats, and it's my understanding that with McCain and Rudy, they're looking at a similar program if they are the Republican nominees.
Either way, Southerners are the ones being relegated to the back of the bus.


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