Originally Posted by tredici
Wow... that was kinda insulting. Though, I'll put up with it because of your disclaimer
I'd disagree with many of the points you raise, though I would be crazy if I said that what you describe does not occur, because it does.
There are MANY politicians that are so stuck in the past that they aren't willing to look to the future. The fact is that it goes both ways. Republicans are usually blinded by the conflict between science and religion, and Democrats are usually just so devoted to a cause that they can't see past it.
Anyways, I think that saying that Alabamians don't know the difference between different races, aren't open minded, and are just so blissfully ignorant that they just can't help themselves is completely incorrect.
When I was going through Elementary, Middle, and High school, it was frowned upon if you made poor grades. The cool kids weren't cool because of what they wore or what they did, they were cool because they were intelligent and were going to make something of themselves. NAFTA wasn't at the forefront of our minds, we were more interested in conflicts in Iran, Korea, and if there was going to be a civil war in Iraq. What if China becomes too powerful? What happens when they stop loaning us money? How do we protect ourselves from another 9/11?
My Senior year, our daily Government/Economics and Current World Affairs classes were constantly full of updates on issues from around the world, we knew what was going on, and how it was going to affect us.
I don't know the people that grew up with you, and teased you because you knew what NAFTA was, but they certainly weren't the people I grew up with. I was looked up to because I took joy in knowing about the world around me, and other people took notice and began to do the same thing.
So, Philopdx, while some of your claims are valid, I find most of the others most interesting, because I never experienced, and still don't experience, them. I am 20 years old, so obviously times have changed, maybe you should re-examine Alabama. I am proud to be one of the 4,600,000 Alabamians on this planet. If those 4.6 Million people are as ignorant as you say they are, I don't want to be educated anymore.
Recalling my experiences in Alabama now with a little more distance and clarity, I can't say that it stands out out in a particularly negative way more so than any other states in the former confederacy.
The same dynamics are at work all over the region; the racial contempt, the distrust of a paternalistic, secular federal government, the embrace of a folksy, anti-intellectual evangelical worldview and the skepticism shown toward new cultural mores.
Despite all the absurdities I grew up with, and the absurdities I continue to see and hear about from family and friends still living in the former confederacy, all the ranting and raving won't do any good. All my piss and vinegar is just blowing in the wind.
Keeping up with the news on this forum it does appear Alabama is marginally changing for the better, but I still maintain that it's due to the outside world pulling and yanking and wrestling the state and its people into the 21st century, inch by inch.
Taking my hometown of Montgomery for example; I think the recent downtown re-development is a shocking reversal of white flight that I never expected to see. The urban renewal trend has finally hit Alabama - twenty-five years behind the rest of the country, like clockwork. However, for every Dreamland, up pops another EastChase, siphoning people and money away from the core of the city.
Politically and economically, for every step forward like landing the Hyundai plant, there is a bizarre and puzzling step backward like using super troopers to close down a dog track or a parlor of slot machines. We can't have them Macon county folks freely sinning, now, can we? Sinning is only for the 43 other states that allow lotteries.
As my experiences of Alabama drift further into memory, I find my teeth-gnashing contempt being supplanted by a fuzzy bemusement.
The nasal drawls, the mop top haircuts with navy blazers and pleated khakis, the obese, boisterous black people in ill-fitting clothes shopping at the local Wal Mart, the Golden Corral Buffet, the unending strip of pawn and gold shops on the southern bypass, the swamps just south of town with moss swaying from tree branches, the skinny, blond country-club wives in sun dresses prancing out of Talbots, the gallons of glistening sweet tea, an endless sea of baseball caps and pastel polos, John Boy and Billy (shivers), the McMansions, Perrah Hoopah Joonya, brilliant sun barely breaking through the canopy of trees in old Cloverdale, Ninety mile-an-hour SUV's careening down 459, Henry at Sioux la terre singing Mustang Sally, churches, churches and MORE churches, the big, happy black guy that used to sell boiled peanuts on McGhee road for years and years, the cacophony of crickets at dusk, the smell of the wind when thunderstorms roll in and the light gets dim...
I think I remember those people and those places, but I'm not so sure any more. Were they ever really there?