When we look at the big political battles in the U. S. today, and see them as right vs left, we may be overlooking their actual origin.
There is a dominant political narrative that runs through how we self describe our history. It is one of our country moving forward and succeeding. We defeated other countries in wars, achieved economic dominance and are the world’s best ethnic melting pot.
This narrative, however, is not one shared by conservative white Protestants in the South. Their’s is one of defeat after defeat. First, it was the civil war. Then, the civil rights movement. Now, the election and reelection of Obama.
They do not see themselves as of “immigrant stock” with a hyphen as in “Norwegian-American” or “Italian-American”. Though descendantd of immigrants from England, they see themselves as the original Americans. Patriotism means preserving their own values nationwide.
Migration has moved some Northern values to the South, but some Southern ones North. Today the Southern version of real “Americanism” is resisting compromise with values not considered indigenous “American values”.
As social and demographic change has taken place, both the Protestant white South and Southern indigenous “American values” found also in the North are slipping in influence. In the South the response has to been gerrymander safe House Districts.
In the North, (and the South) it is bitterness to accepting religious ideas such as acceptance of gays as equals and abortion. The melting pot metaphor does not fit old Southern values, even when they drift north.
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