Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Musings from a Texas girl

For the last year or so, I’ve been seeing this Delta flight attendant who lives across the street from me. We never advanced our relationship to a full one, in part because her time in New York was limited. She moved to Atlanta today to be based out of there.

Rachel is from Lumberton, Texas, a small town north of Beaumont where Romney won over 80% of the vote in the last election. Even Rick Perry took 75% here in 2010.

On her last day in New York, we watched Fox News for a bit and laughed at the ridiculousness. She commented.

“It’s funny, but this is exactly how everyone at home thinks.”

Mentioned Maureen Dowd’s columns about how Obama needs to just fight, and by fight she means ask Tom Coburn to nicely vote for gun control, Rachel shook her head.

There is nothing, she told me, nothing Obama can do to win over her neighbors. And it’s not simply because they disagree.

“It doesn’t matter if 90% support background checks. If Obama and liberals are happy, that number may as well be 5%,” she explained. “It’s not that my neighbors disagree with liberals, they agree on pretty much everything. They just hate the people proposing it.”

Her friends back home agree on background checks for guns, she told me, but every time it’s brought up, they comment on how awful Obama is for “using Newtown families as props.” Or they try to explain that background checks are only the beginning “and they will dismantle the entire 2nd Amendment if we give in on this”

Rachel explains that most of her friends and neighbors don’t care about what gay people do, “they’re just so arrogant about getting their way.”

Everyone back home thinks banks have run amok and there should be more regulation. But Obama ‘just wants to control people.”

Universal healthcare, yes, high taxes on the rich, definitely, but these “northern liberals,” she explains “They just don’t trust them, they just don’t like them. You’re using these issues to control us!”

Rachel also explained that people matter. Her town voted for Ann Richards in 1990 and also elected a Democrat to the state house a few years ago.

“They were Texans. They looked like us, sounded like us, knew where to eat, where to shop, whose mother had beat cancer, whose brother had kicked their drug habit,” she said to me. “that matters. So when they said ‘we need to pay teachers more’ or ‘we need to make sure everyone gets healthcare,’ my neighbors nodded and agreed. You can put Obama or Pelosi in my town and they can say the sky is blue, most people there will say it’s green.”

Her suggestion- “Find John Wayne who thinks like Elizabeth Warren.”

But she doesn’t think liberals will ever do that- “Because northern liberals who inherently distrust that person as much as southerners distrust Obama. He’s just not one of them.”

Food for thought.


  1. princesspat

    How I hope I’ll live long enough to see some attitudes change, and to see more people willing to vote for the common good instead of regional self interest and stereotypes.

  2. raina

    I live near San Antonio and we pass through Beaumont every time we visit my relatives in Florida. When we’re there, I know we’re close to Louisiana.  

  3. wordsinthewind

    make common cause with someone who is sneering or condescending to them, it’s human nature. I hear that suspicion of libruls around here, since I’m mostly centrist people don’t want to assign that label to me but they make it clear that my party deserves it. I’m just glad they don’t read left wing blogs for more fodder for their hatred.

  4. Jk2003

    I grew up as a military child and attended college and vet school in the great state of Oklahoma.  Those cowboys I went to school with loved me and my (few) liberal friends very much.  But they Would NEVER agree with us politically.  They would never give an inch.  I have a hard time communicating with them now due to the fact that I am more than willing to listen to reason and they are thoroughly lacking.   I miss them.

  5. Shaun Appleby

    Because we alternately pity them and hold them in contempt; don’t see this changing any time soon.

    Furthermore, they have made such a banquet out of disrespecting the office of the President, never mind government in general, that it is hard to imagine a Republican administration which wouldn’t be disregarded as neo-confederate trailer trash; I’m already there, emotionally.

    Which seems a shame when you consider that the policy that really matters like social services and banking and environmental regulation are being trifled with by both parties. We’ve been sold a pig in a poke and our fashionable political tribalism may not always serve us well.

    I sense that we are at a tipping point, culturally and socially, in the way we conduct politics in this country. With Citizens United, permanent war and CNN we seem determined to make Orwell truly prophetic. That there would be two mock flavours of political party while all the real decisions are made in a boardroom somewhere would seem a pretty convenient arrangement.

  6. blue jersey mom

    It has been 150 years, but I don’t think that our country has ever recovered from the Civil War (or the “War of Northern Aggression”). You can see this in the on-going NRA convention. It is no longer about gun rights (which I do support, but with background checks, limits on magazines, etc.), it is now about a whole host of right-wing causes that I could never support. There are days that I think that we need a velvet divorce, along the lines of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is not just the distrust between the North and the South, it is the size of the country. Our country has become so big that it is no longer governable with a governmental system that has been frozen in place since the 1920s when we used to add additional House seats as the population grew. NJ is growing, but we are not growing as fast as Texas, so we keep losing House seats. House races become more expensive as you have to reach out to a larger population, and it is far easier for the Big Money folks and special interests to buy a congresscritter in these circumstances.  

  7. jlms qkw

    or john hickenlooper?

    a western pro-gun dem?  is that the ticket? or not pure enough for the california and NE dem elites?  

    clinton, as a southern dem, made some inroads . . .  

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