Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Map of Where We Stand

Here's another map of the U.S. which reveals, by color coding, how divided we are as a people.

This map is about how the electoral college stats look now.

There have been similar maps depicting how the country is divided in other ways. One was about education, as in completing high school or not, and earning a college degree or not.

What has struck me though, regardless of what the maps were depicting, was the consistency of red state, blue state grouping.   Red states predominate down the middle of the country, and in much of the southeast. Blue states seem to group along both coasts, Atlantic and Pacific.

It's tempting to try to draw conclusions, or at least make broad generalities based on these visuals.  Both the West Coast and the East Coast are where many of our largest cities are located, in which its citizens are acutely aware of the distinctions between the haves and the have nots, perhaps more so than in the more rural states, especially in the middle of the country, and where the values might be more oriented around individual hard word, as in farming for example, and being successful as defined by individual effort,  and where the minority population might be smaller than in the large cities.  In the southeast the states are likely to be more concerned with the influx of immigrants from  south of the border, as in Florida, Texas and New Mexico.

As I write this I am acutely aware  of how easy  it is to debunk this generality.  The Koch brothers are Californians for example.

I'm also aware that I am, by nature, one who likes to focus on the big picture, the forest, and can easily overlook or at least not pay much attention  to the individual trees which make up the forest.

Nevertheless, when one looks at these maps it's hard not to see that  red states and  blue states seem to be grouped in a rather obvious way.  Blue states on both coasts and red states in the middle of the country.

Why does this matter?  Perhaps it matters when one reads the Republican Party platform, which is all about
individual hard work, not depending on a government financed safety net.  What is so obvious about this is that such a value system is at the heart of how this country has been so successful.

What is less obvious about this however is that this system of values is wonderful as an abstract ideal, but when the individuals who have espoused such ideals find themselves in deep shit, often in spite of doing all that they could,  they are at the mercy of those who, immune financially to the possibility of ever being in such dire straits, used their deep pockets, like the mafia, to threaten their senators and representative that they will withdraw financial support unless they tow the line dictated by their corrupt patrons.

The Republican Party, as it is constituted today, is anathema to any and all who have a care for the disadvanged, those who honestly, as best they could, tried to make it on their own, but were thwarted by
things like devasting health care costs, disabilities which prevent one from holding a job, and earning a living, or perhaps just having grown old, and experiencing all that goes with growing old.

One needs only to drive around the hometown and make note of  where the GOPher signs are displayed.   My experience has it that I  find signs for Republicans in front of properties which clearly are worth millions in the marketplace,  and also in front of properties whose known owners have consistently thwarted any and all attempts to pass regulations designed to protect endangered species, and/or ridicule scientists who are crying in the wilderness about the long term effects of climate change on our home planet.

Leanderthal, One Voice Crying in the Wilderness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good oberservations. Did you see the short article in the New Yorker about one of the lesser known Koch brothers in Colorado?
They just cannot help themselves when regular (Americans) get in the way of their desires.

Old Dude