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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Colour By Numbers

When I wrote back in the spring about a Washington Post series about voters living in "Blue" and "Red" states, I took them to task for flogging easy stereotypes. At the same time, I suggested the opposite task, finding the lonely bleeding heart in rock-solid Bush country and the lonely right-winger in a city where Bush is wildly unpopular.

So, when they did just that, I figured I had to, even if it was an obvious move, give the Post due props.

They found a liberal Democrat living in Clinton, Mississippi
and a conservative Republican in Manhattan. In their own words, they each describe what it's like to be outnumbered, and the sense of isolation they feel in an alien political cutlure.

If I had to guess, it'd generally be worse being a liberal in a conservative area than vice versa. I'd probably have more luck trying to put up Bush/Cheney signs in, say, my neighborhood in heavily Democratic Arlington than put up Kerry/Edwards signs in suburban Richmond. The small towns and cookie-cutter suburbs that are the backbone of Republican strength aren't especially welcoming to people who don't march to their beat; those who do who happen to be from there generally leave the first chance they get. Aside from a small and relatively powerless fringe, American liberal enclaves (at least the ones I know well) aren't quite so hostile; we're more likely to just ridicule right-wingers behind their back rather than attempt to drive them out of town.

But, yeah, just three years after a we were supposedly united again, we're as divided as ever.


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