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A View Outside the Beltway

August 26th, 2008 (05:26 pm)

current mood: crushed

I just spent a few days in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I enjoyed seeing my sister and her family and their tastefully decorated house. And my nephew won his first varsity football game by a spectacular 47-10! Spartanburg is trying hard to capture some of the artsy image that nearby Asheville, N.C., enjoys; it now has a small but excellent art museum, a great Thai restaurant, and a really nice Marriott (disclaimer: my brother-in-law directs sales there).

Unfortunately, some things aren't so easy to change. The culture is still overwhelmingly Republican and dominated by the Religious Right. Racism and sexism are rampant. Nobody seems to have heard of the separation of church and state, or they think it doesn't apply as long as the religion in question is Christian. My nephew's public high school has Bible quotes on the walls, and the football team holds prayer breakfasts before games. Everyone seems to be a strong McCain supporter because, they say, he's a patriot and an all-around nice guy. They even want to continue this debacle of a war in Iraq and will call you unpatriotic if you suggest otherwise. They're convinced that we had good reason to invade, because after all, Saddam Hussein attacked us first, on 9/11. Ohmigosh. No reason to let a little thing like the facts get in the way of one's worldview.

The scary thing is that Spartanburg, S.C., is much more representative of the country than my own anti-war, bleeding-hearted, gun-hating, organic-eating, diversity-embracing, liberal-minded, intellectually snobbish Alexandria, Virginia. Here inside the Beltway we sometimes forget what's going on in the rest of the country. Yes, we're in a red state, too. But our city council came out with a resolution condemning the war. We have a local living-wage statute and a city ordinance barring descrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Kerry won by a landslide in my city, and by a freakishly high margin in my own precinct.

Even before I went to South Carolina, I was afraid Obama would lose this election. Now, I'm certain of it. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm feeling pessimistic and utterly depressed about his chances of beating McCain. If you're one of the many people who is still filled with unbridled optimism about Obama's chances, please try to change my mind! I could use some hope.


Posted by: Allison Stein (astein142)
Posted at: August 27th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)

You see why I chose not to go back to SC, right? Missouri as a whole may have a Republican stick lodged in an uncomfortable part of its anatomy, but it's way more moderate than SC.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: August 28th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Keep the Faith

Do you need an Obama Mama shirt? Sounds like you do!! I love mine and get comments (positive) every where I go. Don't lose faith!! As I recall your nephew told me this summer, "A black man could never be president." To which I replied, son you need to get out of South Carolina! I too am shocked to hear things like that out of teenagers but it's a good wake up call that the job isn't done yet but keep hope alive - GO OBAMA!!!!!

Posted by: petrini1 (petrini1)
Posted at: August 28th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Keep the Faith

Yes, I should get one! When I was in South Carolina, I was shocked to hear the following out of that same teenager:

"A Vote For Obama Is a Vote For Osama."

It seems to be a favorite saying in that part of the country.

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