Having spent a great a deal of time in the South visiting my relatives, I am amazed that anyone is shocked at the comments by Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty.” Phil is typical of white Southerners who make up the base of the Republican Party and a significant number of them believe, like Phil, that gays are an immoral threat to civilization, civil rights legislation was an intrusion on states’ rights, and women’s rights are a communist plot (as are such science-based beliefs like climate change and evolution).
Reading the Bible, shooting guns, blowing up things and eating fat-laden foods are their birthright. While I’m not always thrilled at the Bible readings, these other things can provide temporary satisfactions.
While most of my relatives feel California is the land of devil beliefs, I think that a country based on their belief system would not be in the best interests of many Americans who don’t see the Antebellum South as the land of enchantment (i.e., non-whites, LGBT, women, progressives and non-Christians — that includes Catholics, by the way).
I love my relatives and they are incredibly hospitable on a personal level, but their political belief system is a prime reason the South rates so poorly in regard to per capita income, educational achievement and most health indicators. The creativity needed to flourish in the 21st century may be suppressed when your belief system is based on conservative ideas of the 19th century.
I am thankful every day that I moved to California as a young man.