"We're No Longer A Southern State"

I went to the drugstore today. Better living through chemistry, and all.
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For the second time since I voted, I saw the man who helped me with my touch machine at election time. A big bear of a man, a white senior citizen, oozing friendliness and goodwill.

This time, in the drugstore, I decided to say hello. "Did you work at the polls?" I asked. "Yes," he said, "for early voting." "I thought you looked familiar," I said.

"Did you see me in the newspaper?"
"No, I saw you at the polls."
"You don't read the newspaper?"
"No. My husband does."
"I said some things I shouldn't have."
"Like what? That you were happy with how things went?" I smiled.
"I said 'We're no longer a Southern state.'"

I stared at him silently, uncomprehending. "What do you mean, 'we're no longer a Southern state?'"

"We're no longer a Southern state," he said regretfully. "Not like Kentucky. Or Tennessee. And Virginia--Virginia's no longer a Southern state." He elaborated, allowing as how he didn't like what had gone on with the election. No racist language was used, yet I was troubled by the sentiments implied.

I could sense my face becoming guarded, as if in a poker game. I looked at him blankly; disappointed, regretting I'd initiated conversation.

He complained of people going to the polls in droves simply to vote Obama and a straight Democratic ticket.

I stared; a little surprised that he still didn't get it. "That's what I did," I said. "Well, I voted for some Judges."

It became clear that while I had assumed he was a Democrat; he assumed I was Republican.

Then I remembered. My candidate won. I can afford to be gracious.

We got into a discussion about acne medicine.

And I realized I still liked him.

"Welcome back to North Carolina," he said as he headed toward the cash register.

"Thank you."

As I walked away, he called out: "Forget everything I said."

I smiled. I can afford to be gracious.

Comments

Welllll, he's kinda, sorta right

after all, NC is known as the Old North State! But now it's a pretty shade of Blue, yahoo!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

NC is still a Southern state

We southerners ain't dead yet, no matter how many folks from up North and out West have moved in over the past few years.

I don't know what the guy you met meant by "Southern," but I strongly reject the notion that our voting "blue" this election means we've lost our Southern identity.

I'm delighted to identify myself as a Southerner, and though I'm originally from deeper South, I'm delighted to have adopted NC as my home.

Big Old Oaf

I got the feeling he meant since we turned blue we're no longer 'southern,' which he regrets and I celebrate.(Except we are in fact every bit as Southern and he is mistaken. He and I dont share the same ideas as to what 'southern' means). Ye-haw! :) I can't comment on carpetbaggers b/c I'm afraid of making enemies and getting banned from this site. lol!

Leigh
A Smut-Filled Tome

If'n he was a meanin' thet we-uns is no longer

keepin' to that southern tradition of hatin' black and brown folk, then I'm glad that we're not that kind of southern. A southern lady use to be known as being gracious and kind. A southern gentleman use to be (in my mind anyway) Rhett Butler...sigh. That's what I love about the south. I'm glad that we are changing and that as each generation takes their turn at running things, we slowly but surely trend toward a live and let live mindset.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Now wait just a minute!

Hating black people might not be tolerated, but hating brown people is mainstream! Just ask Pat McCrory.

This space for rent....no seriously, you can have my sig line to advertise your positions/goods for the right price.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

And hold on a second

I don't think Beverly Perdue has distinguished herself from McCrory in this regard.

As a confirmed Yankee, I have to say

I love calling North Carolina home. This is a beautiful state - and it provided a wonderful place for a single mom to raise a son.

I'm glad you were gracious to him. I had this encounter at a convenience store last week.

Clerk:(he had an accent that I couldn't identify) Did you hear that guy? He makes me sorry I voted for Obama!

Me: What? Why? I didn't hear him.

Clerk: He started calling me names, and threatening me.

Me: That's terrible! But don't judge Obama by that, it was good to vote for him. He will do good things for the country.

Clerk: I think if bad people vote for Obama, Obama must be bad. I think I made a mistake.

Me: No - that has nothing to do with Obama.

Clerk: bad people, bad people.

Me: I'm a good person; I voted for Obama. Don't paint us all with the same brush.

Clerk: I don't know...but you're ok. Maybe Obama is OK.

I had almost the exact same

I had almost the exact same conversation with a convenience store clerk in Oxford while canvassing there a few weeks back. Weird.

As we say in the south,

that fellow's just wrong, bless his heart.

Mixed traditions

As they say, you can choose your friends, but not your family. But you still better stick up for your family.

As a native southerner and Tar Heel, North Carolina (good and bad) is part of my family, and I'll keep working to make her an even better place. Like by supporting Obama.

Anyone who says we're not "Southern" anymore because we voted for Obama doesn't fully appreciate the contradictions that go into "Southern". We are by definition an eccentric bunch.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

We are still Southern

I am getting about sick and tired of these regional sterotypes. I just spent the weekend with a bunch of people that aren't from around these parts and when they found out I was from NC and had lived most of my life down here they were truly amazed at how much of a lefty I am.

Several of the more "enlightened" people made sure they commented about the election and how the South will never break away from it's racists roots. I then had the pleasure of pointing out that without it's large cities that Ca., NY and IL. would have all gone for McCain.

Some of the most strident racists I have ever met live in Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston so don't tell me we have the market cornered on hate.

Hey now, NC is the Southern part of Heaven!

or is that just Chapel Hill?

You know ... I honestly think NC has a tradition of being a somewhat rebellious part of "Teh South." We've always been a bit of a conundrum to me. We seem to have crazy mood swings. We surely have a history of racial oppression, just like other southern states.

But then, here in NC we established the first state supported University in the country. NC didn't actually want to secede from the Union, didn't see the benefit of fighting a war to save the economic institution of slavery. It wasn't as big a part of NC as it was a part of VA or SC. When it became obvious that we were going to be overrun from all sides, we caved. Later, in the 20th Century, we had some uncharacteristically progressive Southern Democratic Governors who raised the bar for all southern states. They strongly supported our University system, established the first School of Science and Mathematics and built a very strong community college system. These educational models have been widely copied by other states. The civil rights era lunch counter sit-in movement started in Greensboro and spread across the south. And Senator Sam!!! for goodness sake. So we have given the world some good stuff.

But, then again, we also gave the world the instigators of the Wilmington Race Riots, Jesse [frickin'] Helms and Steve Bizzell. ??? :-( Obviously we still have a LOT of work to do.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

This will probably get me tarred and feathered,

and maybe ridden part of the way out of town on a rail. But if I were the one making good and bad columns, I'm afraid Senator Sam might be listed in both.

Here's an excerpt from the Southern Manifesto that he signed in support of:

"In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 the Supreme Court expressly declared that under the 14th Amendment no person was denied any of his rights if the States provided separate but equal facilities. This decision has been followed in many other cases. It is notable that the Supreme Court, speaking through Chief Justice Taft, a former President of the United States, unanimously declared in 1927 in Lum v. Rice that the “separate but equal” principle is “within the discretion of the State in regulating its public schools and does not conflict with the 14th Amendment.

This interpretation, restated time and again, became a part of the life of the people of many of the States and confirmed their habits, traditions, and way of life. It is founded on elemental humanity and common-sense, for parents should not be deprived by Government of the right to direct the lives and education of their own children.
Though there has been no constitutional amendment or act of Congress changing this established legal principle almost a century old, the Supreme Court of the United States, with no legal basis for such action, undertook to exercise their naked judicial power and substituted their personal political and social ideas for the established law of the land.
This unwarranted exercise of power by the Court, contrary to the Constitution, is creating chaos and confusion in the States principally affected. It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races. It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding."

I think it's especially cute that they used two ancient Supreme Court decisions that affected Southern states to back up their argument that the Supreme Court had no business making decisions that affected Southern states. ;)

Pulllleeeease Steve

Don't be ridiculous. There's absolutely no question that Senator Sam gave good and bad, and no one with a smattering of education about our history would ride you or anyone else out of town on a rail for pointing out something so obvious.

Surely you've read the bio on Ervin by Karl Campbell. It's a wonderful biography and gives as full a treatment as one might contain within a reasonable length of this fascinating man and his seeming contradictions.

See also Anna R. Hayes' recent biography of Justice Susie Marshall Sharp.

...and when was he making that argument?

I'm sure we could pick and choose things that any of us has said and/or done that would make us look like raging luntatics/racists/bigots/slimebuckets, etc.

Senator Sam, for a man of his age and of his time had progressed far further down the civil rights path than many/most white southernersAmericans.

The Southern Manifesto was written in 1956, so you're not exactly quoting a current document yourself. You claim that Ervin, reached back to "ancient" Supreme Court rulings to write the Southern Manifesto when he went back 60 years, but you yourself went back to a document that is 52 years old to make your claim about Sam Ervin. Shame on you for using such an outdated, ancient document to mar the man's character. ahem.

Sam Ervin was a strict constructionist of the Constitution. As such, he believed that the document already provided for equal treatment under the law for all men and women of this country. He's right. It did. He wanted to preserve and protect the constitution. He was consistent on this for the entirety of his career. He opposed illegal search and seizures, wire-tapping and other forms of invasions of our privacy by the government. He also was a strong opponent of prayer in public schools.

While he opposed much civil rights (race) legislation it wasn't on the basis that he felt blacks and later women didn't deserve to be afforded equal rights under the law, it was because (as I said before) he felt they already were afforded equal rights under the law. He didn't believe that we achieved parity for one group of citizens by denying rights to another group. In his eyes much of the civil rights legislation limited the rights of whites in order to secure equal rights for blacks. Ervin was consistent in this. In Brown v. Board of Education he wound up supporting desegregation of public schools because in his opinion the legislation did not discriminate against whites. (As much as I admire Senator Sam and agree with his interpretation of the Constitution, I actually believe that drastic measures needed to be taken in order to achieve parity and that those measures can and should be released/removed once - but not until - parity is achieved. We still have a long way to go.)

Senator Sam Ervin isn't here to defend his character, so I'm going to take a stab at it. I can't swear that the man would have evolved into a civil rights hero, but for a man of his age living in his time Sam Ervin showed a greater understanding of civil rights than many. His actions to oppose legislation were not borne from hate, but from an undying love for our constitution and a desire to preserve it. His intent is well documented. He did not have a closed mind and I believe his evolution in the area of civil rights would have continued.



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