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Memo to candidates and my liberal pals: Southerners aren't stupid

Head's up, y'all: The South is filled with intelligent people. Treat them accordingly.

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Moving to Baton Rouge from Washington terrified me. After all, it's the South, and not a charming part of the South, either. People drive pickup trucks outfitted with gun racks, strip malls are ubiquitous, and giant crosses dot the interstate.

An Eastern liberal's nightmare.

But, to anyone who has spent any real time south of the Mason-Dixon line, it's glaringly obvious that, in general, the liberal politicos and pundits who tend to set the terms of debate don't "get" the South. Actually most non-Southerners, no matter their profession or background, don't get the South.

As a regular visitor to what folks around here call "the Frozen Nawth," I hear the stereotypes often:

"You live where? Is it, you know, OK?"

Sometimes people are more to the point: "Isn't everyone there incredibly racist?"

Or: "Have you been able to find friends?"

The common thread, of course, is that the South is a vast breeding ground for imbeciles, and therefore, anyone of my superior educational and intellectual background must be bored silly.

Head's up, y'all: The South is a huge and vast swath of the United States, extremely varied in its landscape, attitudes, accents, and architectural styles and – here's a real shocker – it's filled with intelligent, well-read, thoughtful people.

It's also filled with less intelligent, less well-read people. Funny thing, but neither group enjoys being condescended to by, for example, presidential candidates.

Which is why Senator Obama's now-ancient-history remarks about the "bitter" white working class got as much traction as it did: Republicans seem to understand that great quantities of the American populace – such as the entire nonblack South – are fed up with being looked down upon, and generally snubbed, except, sometimes, in election years.


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