I mostly like what Ms. Gibbons had to say in her post, although I don't believe people in this region are still as bigoted as she seems to think we still are. But that's okay, Ms. Gibbons would probably consider me a little bigoted. I did use nullify in a sentence once. As for being blue in the south, I can understand the frustration with seeing the "wrong" kind of candidates elected and reelected on a regular basis.
But other than that, I can't see how southern life is much different for a liberal person. I mean, if you like cornbread and sweet tea, and sitting on a front porch swing, it doesn't matter what your politics are. As far as being gay is concerned, southern cities, Atlanta, New Orleans, Memphis, and yes Nashville, have plenty of gay people. Black folks who once migrated northward to escape segregation, are actually migrating back to the south these days. It seems that middle class and upper class black people dislike taxes just as much as white people. As for religion, believe it or not, many liberals attend church too, and the mainline, more liberal congregations often partner with the more conservative churches in the community to do good deeds, like feeding and clothing the poor and making sure every child receives gifts on Christmas morning.
The stereotypes are unfortunate. But in fairness, the same stereotype applies to people in West Virginia, and various parts of the Midwest. My issue with Maher, and the others, is their snideness. They don't see people as individuals, but pre-judge people based on where they are from. This is no different than racial prejudice, in my opinion. I believe, and I would expect Ms. Gibbons to disagree with me, but I believe that bigotry is the essence of modern liberalism. In modern liberalism, people are not individuals, but everyone is part of a group, and for "progress" to be made, these groups have to be pitted against each other. That's why the modern liberal media is so obsessed with gender, sexual identity, race, and class. Conservatism, or libertarianism, or classical liberalism, by contrast, focuses on the individual. Where a person is from, what their skin color is, or what economic circumstances they were born into, are irrelevant and unimportant in the mind of the conservative.
The underlying problem with individuals like Bill Maher and Jon Stewart though, is not their prejudice, but the fact that they just don't like people. I don't care where you go in this country, or the world, every culture has something to appreciate, and if that individual you meet from that other part of America isn't as advanced as you, cut them some slack. They're just human. This goes back to one of the core differences between modern liberalism and classical liberalism. Classical liberals believe that generally speaking, people are good. Modern liberals, on the other hand, are much more cynical of mankind.
In closing, I want to address something Ms. Gibbons, the daughter of a Baptist preacher said in one of her comments.
Data just shows that people who attend church regularly also tend to have a more Conservative (in the political & modern sense of the word) worldview and vote Republican. My own experience growing up in the Church is that although there is surface “acceptance” of difference, I was taught that pretty much everyone who wasn’t a devout Protestant was going to burn in hell.
I have been in Southern Baptist churches my entire life, and I can unequivocally say that not one of the congregations I attended taught that only Baptists went to heaven. There are some primitive Baptist churches that believe this, I'm sure, and likely some Pentecostals, but they are very much in the minority, and have always been. Now I am not saying that what we do believe is going to satisfy you. Yes we do believe in hell, but whether or not you go there when you die is not dependent on what church you attend, be it Catholic or Protestant, but whether you believe that Christ is God incarnate, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, was crucified, and rose on the third day. Also, we believe that once you accept this truth, this gift of salvation that comes from repentance, it can never be taken from you, not even by you. We call this "once saved, always saved". I have known many people that as adults, hate religion, because they were taught something different, and were exposed to rules and religiosity, not Jesus, and that is sad and unfortunate. But as a lifelong Southern Baptist, I have to point out that many common beliefs associated with us, well, just are not true, and are most likely the result of religious bigotry. Apologies for my digression.
Anyway, enjoy a little southern culture on your way out, via Widespread Panic. Thanks!