Thursday, November 02, 2006

SC, For These Folks, Is Fertile Soil

I love my home state, despite it's many flaws.

We are, as a state, undereducated, poor, myopic and often illogical. We have more that our fair share of racist (but there are racist everywhere, it is not only a southern blessing), and dislike intellectualism.

That is why we have become a magnet for groups that no one else in the US wants.

It started when the Christian Exodus announced plans to relocate from Texas to South Carolina.

A Texas group wants conservative Christians to move to South Carolina -- 12,000 at a time -- to form a biblically inspired government and secede from the United States. Decrying a national tolerance of abortion and gay marriage, and the teaching of evolution, hopes to achieve a majority of like-minded Christians in the state by 2016, the planned year of secession.

But the Christian exodus group is not the only group in the US who see the potential of finding a new home in South Carolina. The unique nature of our population is also proving a lure to even more disreputable groups.

In the past few months South Carolina has hosted a couple of self proclaimed major meetings of white supremacist groups. Lexington got to host the Aryans Nations World Congress this summer, and Luarens hosted a fall meeting.

The Aryan Nation, just as the Christian Exodus, see in South Carolina, fertile ground for their growth

For years, Aryan Nations aspired to have an uprising in the Northwest, and turn five states into, literally, The Aryan Nation. With the group staggering from the double whammy of litigation and factionalism, the new goal is more modest: South Carolina.

Aryan Nations' Washington leader, who gave only his first name, Paul, is 60-ish and has a British accent from 25 years in England. Paul outlined possible strategies for the group: establishing a state in Alaska ("few minorities," he said), or a wholesale "South will rise again." Both of those he discounted as impractical, although certainly worthy.

In the end, Paul observed, the best option is to "look at the secession of South Carolina. Start with this state."

What is the attraction of South Carolina?

It's not just that a few ignorant rednecks believe, in their illiterate confusion, that they're somehow "superior." Rather, it's that we still make laws based on such assumptions. The Republican Party since 1964 has consciously made a "racism is OK" pitch to unreconstructed Southerners.

Even scarier, millions of Americans go to churches where racism is part of the catechism, whether blatantly stated or masked by theological mumbo-jumbo.

And, as he observes at the end, this hate is being fomented at the elite media level by so-called "conservatives":

The New York Times commented last month on similar national voter ID legislation: "The actual reason for this bill is the political calculus that certain kinds of people -- the poor, minorities, disabled people and the elderly -- are less likely to have valid ID."

Bushite bomb-thrower Ann Coulter arrogantly conceded the point, writing this month: "Way too many people vote. We should have fewer people voting. There ought to be a poll tax to take the literacy test before voting."

If you think this is to harsh on the south, or southerners (or South Carolinians), consider a couple of points. In races where a black Candidate is running against a white candidate in an area with a majority white population, when looking at his poll numbers is it considered wise to take a few points off his total. People will lie about their support, to hide their racism. And now consider the Tennessee Senate Race. This race has been very tight, and Coker has not been able to get much traction in his effort. Neither man really dominating, and Corkers corruption questions kept Ford in play.

Then the RNC runs their race-bating commercial, and Ford is suddenly down in the polls.

What makes South Carolina such an attractive target for these groups?

We are a small state, we have a small population that could be easy to overwhelmed. The people of South Carolina are overwhelming Christian, and evangelical Christian at that. In addition these poll results show a real receptiveness to some of their ideas and indicate a willingness to accept others.

79 percent of those responding said religion is very important in their lives.

73.5 percent of those responding said the favor changing the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman only.

64.5 percent of those responding said they believe sexual relations between two adults of the same sex is always wrong.

73.8 percent said they feel 'the Bible is the literal word of God and without error.'

52 percent said a religiously based alternative to evolution, such as 'Intelligent Design,' should be taught in South Carolina├é’s public schools.

53 percent said they would favor "a moment of silence for contemplation or silent prayer" in public schools, while 42.4 percent would prefer a 'spoken prayer.'


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John, I was with a friend not too long ago, a friend who's a church bureaucrat from a place where the tundra barely thaws in August. Though she's lived here a long time, she doesn't get the South. I told her I couldn't understand why anyone who's a Christian wouldn't love our "Jesus haunted landscape." She looked at me as if I were mad. Perhaps I am.

But these people are not my people, their god not my God. I'd be willing to bet that Howard Rich is bankrolling their sorry carpet-bagging asses.