Posted by: Jim | June 18, 2008

How the Rest of the Country Thinks

California is the second state to legalize gay marriage. (Massachusetts was first.)

Naturally, there is a hew and cry from our more rural regions. Kern County, home to such cultural hotspots as Bakersfield and Oildale, has bitterly opposed this ruling. In fact, a judge halted the release of ALL marriage licenses. I can imagine her saying “If I have to let gay people get married, I’m not letting ANYONE get married!” I assume there was some awareness of the equal protection clause, which means that gay people aren’t being singled out. The reason given for the judge’s move (“We’re tightening our budget.”)  was a chicken-shit answer that only makes me chuckle.

The fact is, the Republicans brought up the issue of Gay Marriage to divert us from the real issues in 2004. In so doing, they will have eventually guaranteed the rights of gay people nationwide. The legal tide is clear: the homophobes are losing.

But maybe this is only “my viewpoint” because of where I live, no? I’ve been encouraged more than once to see how the rest of America thinks. The assumption is that the way we think in California or “big cities” in general is not how the rest of the country thinks, and that the way we see it is “just one viewpoint.”

But America has always taken baby steps toward freedom and open-mindedness. And guess who has always been the flag-bearers? Major metropolitan areas, specifically in the Northeast and the far west. Guess who has typically been opposed to major milestones in freedom? The south, and rural areas.

Abolition of slavery: In the US, it originated in Philadelphia. Early adapters were Rhode Island, Massachussetts, and New York. Late joiners: the south. Georgia was last. Now universally accepted.

Women’s Suffrage: The first women allowed to Vote were in New England town meetings (prior to our nationhood). The Suffrage movement began in New York. UPDATE: The early adapters to Women’s Suffrage were several midwestern and western states. Now universally accepted.

Children’s Rights: Began in Boston, grew in New York City. Now universally accepted.

Racial Integration: Accepted in Northern and Western cities first. Now universally accepted.

Rights for Homosexuals: accepted in Major Northern and Western cities first. Not yet universally accepted, but it will be.

Legalization of marijuana: accepted in Western cities first. Not yet universally accepted, but it will be.

Legalization of assisted suicide: Legal only in Oregon. Not yet universally accepted, but it will be.

Evolution taught in Schools: Early joiners: Northeast and Western states. Still hotly contested in Southern States. Not yet universally accepted, but it will be.

Other issues? I’m sure there are more.

So the people who think that those of us in California should get out and see how the rest of the country thinks should apply this advice to themselves. Because how WE think … is how YOU will eventually think.

I’m open to debate … as I may have been cherry-picking issues in my above list. To off-set my argument, answer this question: What major milestone of human advancement began in the South, the midwest, or a rural area? If you can come up with something, maybe I will give more credence to “how the rest of the country thinks.”

I am not trying to be an elitist. I’m sure there are a lot of bright, forward-thinking people in the mid-west and the South. I am just pointing to historical records, which indicate that the contrary is more the rule.



  1. Well, I believe the TurDucken was invented in the South. And Todd’s own Rural Colorado is rumored to have given us cold-filtered beer. Is that a good thing? I’m not sure. But I have a sneaking suspicion that it was just because they couldn’t get a fire started.

    * * *

  2. Oklahoma gave the US the shopping cart. They were introduced by the Piggly Wiggly chain in the 30s.

    Until shopping carts were more widely adopted, Californians carried their groceries in the more primitive shopping basket. Like Neanderthals.

  3. Colorado Springs is not rural. Lamar is rural. Beer is also not controversial unless you involve it with operating an automobile after consuming an excessive amount of it or other negative activities that beer is not responsible for.

    All of the things Jim listed were/are controversial. Keeping it on track, when I ask you lefties on the left coast to experience life in the heartland, or even the east coast, I’m sure you will be in for a different experience. Not historically, and not involving outdated issues such as women’s sufferage, but right now. Real time.

    I was raised in California’s ‘progressive’ atmosphere, and quite frankly, believe I left school at the tail end of what I consider a quality educational system (1983). California has gone downhill since, and man am I glad I got out (1993). Nice place to visit, but by no means do I consider California ideals and politics to be cutting edge or ‘progressive,’ and I assert that from experience.

    I’m also open to your opinions if you were raised outside of California and were somehow changed by your Californication. I have never asserted that I am always right, but from the perspective of this blog, yes, it does come off as elitist. A well-rounded argument is not represented from one viewpoint, but from many. I do know I have experience from more than one viewpoint, but you guys seem very one-sided and one-minded. I seem to be the only one in this forum who differs from the rest.

    We are the Borg. Resistance is futile. You have been assimilated. 😉

  4. I have a couple of corrections to make.

    The first state to extend the right of voting to women was not NEW ENGLAND it was WYOMING (1869). Although Susan B. Anthony was head of movement on the east coast the first states to actually enact suffrage were as follows. Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Colorado. All of these states predate the national woman’s suffrage movement supported by President Woodrow Wilson of the 1920’s. I would also point out that at the time these states were as rural as rural can get.

    Also the first congresswoman was Jeanette Rankin representing Montana. She was elected to congress in 1916 and was a REPUBLICAN.

    Just a couple facts to throw into your argument, and I just scratched the surface.

  5. Lynette, hi! It’s nice to see comments from non-regulars.

    This is from Wikipedia: “Lydia Chapin Taft was an early forerunner in Colonial America who was allowed to vote in three New England town meetings, beginning in 1756. American women were the first to fight for women’s suffrage.”

    So in the US, a woman first voted in New England. You are absolutely right about Wyoming and Utah being the first states to allow women to vote in a national election. But my point is that progressive *ideas* begin in certain regions of the country. These progressive ideas usually get a late buy-in from the midwest and South, but Women’s suffrage was a glaring exception: because there were very few women in those states! They desperately needed women, and believed that by allowing suffrage, they would bring women into their state. Also, I seem to remember that their motive was also to increase their representation in the House by doing this. Anyone know?

    Utah was (as always) an exception. There is some complex history there, where the belief was that if women were granted the right to vote, they would vote to make polygamy illegal. They did not. Heh.

  6. The woman you cited did not vote in the United States of America and thus is not affected by my above argument.

    What major milestone of human advancement began in the South, the midwest, or a rural area?

    You posed the question, not me. I gave you honest factual answers. If you chose to try to excuse them because they do not fit with your preconcieved notions of where “progressive” ideas come from then that is your choice.

    BTW, I noticed you left Jeanette Rankin right out of the argument.

    Here’s another one for you. Nellie Tayloe Ross, first woman governor. Her state? WYOMING

    The general feelings at the time is that the pioneer women were doing all the same work as the men and were respected for it. While there are several theories about why Wyoming was first not a single one is involved with representation in the House.

  7. If you would…it’s “aid in dying” or “death with dignity” – not “assisted suicide.”

    You don’t call developmentally disabled people retarded, and you shouldn’t call cancer patients suicidal.

    It’s on the ballot in Washington in November.

  8. OK then, it looks like my little theory is NOT working when it comes to Women’s Suffrage. Clearly the midwest has been among the leaders on that issue. I will edit the post to reflect this.

    Glossolaliac, I understand your sensitivity, but I think you assume a negative connotation to the word “Suicide.” I do not mean to imply one. If I use the term “aid in dying” I would not be sure that people know what I’m talking about.

  9. Todd, you’re just an idiot, plain and simple, and after this comment I’m done with you.

    You know absolutely NOTHING about the history or education or experience or perspective of most of us who post here agreeing with Jim, yet you persist in defining us and our views in terms of your own geographical biases. To quote John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club, “You see us as you want to see us… in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.” And just like “Dick” did, you have it wrong — but that’s pretty much part and parcel for your team anyway.

    You say, “I do know I have experience from more than one viewpoint, but you guys seem very one-sided and one-minded. I seem to be the only one in this forum who differs from the rest.”

    You “differ” from the rest because you’re a conservative commenting on a liberal blog. Over at LGF or Malkin or Instapundit you’d fit right in and we’d be the odd men out. The fact that I even think I need to point that out illustrates just what a twit you are.

    What you see as one-sided and one-minded is called “having an opinion,” and you’ll find quite a lot of it on those blogs I mentioned above, as well as in your own comments. Pot, this is kettle, you’re black.

    I can’t speak for anyone else here, but I’m quite confident that any of my fellow brainless, Californicated idiots would join me in saying that I have experience from a wide variety of viewpoints and that my views are the product of my own well-rounded life experiences, values developed over a lifetime, and just plain common sense — something you seem to be sorely lacking in.

    For a Kool-Aid drinker such as yourself to dismiss ANY views as merely the product of an environment is laughable. Yours can’t hold up to the slightest of challenges, but you gleefully question ours. That’s rich.

    But then, what else can we expect from you? You ended your latest babble with the geek quote: “We are the Borg. Resistance is futile. You have been assimilated” even as gay marriage is becoming a reality, Bush is being almost universally tagged as the worst president in history, Republicans are losing elections left and right, public opinion has turned against nearly everything the Right stands for, and it nearly universally accepted that the next Presidency is the Democrat’s to lose. Your team is being dealt defeat after defeat after defeat after defeat after defeat, yet you chortle “You have been assimilated.”

    Denial, table for one?

  10. Thanks Jim.

    I am woman hear me roar! *raaawwwr* and I had to stick up for my state 😀

  11. Lynette … I’m learning still more about the Wyoming story of suffrage. It would be off-topic but I’m finding it to be a very rich story indeed. It sounds like it would make a great movie, in fact. LOL

  12. Well, I would submit that Women’s Suffrage, regardless of where it originated, still illustrates the point — which is that it was a ‘Liberal’ concept that was initially rejected by the mainstream, and would not have succeeded without legions of women (by and large the ‘Liberal’ ones, since amazingly there were plenty of more conservative-type women opposed to it), who managed to appeal to the ‘Liberal’ element among the men who ruled at the time. After all, there was no actual war over it; no army of women gathered to overthrow the male-dominated government — they just made enough noise to eventually gain allies who were sympathetic to their plight, and those allies were men who realized the undeniable truth to their words. Liberal-minded men; men open to new thinking and men who believed in justice even if it meant having to share power. The same sort who couldn’t abide slavery no matter what economic advantages it might offer.

    Conservatives, by definition, would not of their own accord have decided to relinquish the status quo and allow women to vote, any more than they’ve ever been willing to allow ANYTHING that might offer change. There isn’t any revelation here; the very word ‘conservative’ implies a resistance to anything new.

    So whether it was Wyoming or New England is really a straw (wo)man; the bottom line is that whenever a progressive (as in, new, forward-thinking, humanitarian) concept has originated, it has been amongst those that the Conservative, regressive, status-quo-loving elite and their malleable sheep have resisted, bitterly, for as long as they could. Until the inevitable overwhelmed them and forced them to capitulate. And then there is progress, and then THAT becomes so integrated into the status quo that the joke is on Conservatives, who no longer even realize they used to be against it.

    It’s the same story, again and again. It’s that arc of history Jim was referring to, bending toward justice. And you Neandercons can fight it all you want; you can close your eyes and put your fingers in your ears and scream, and make absurd claims to victory, ad nauseum. But the world you are living in is already progressive — it bounces back and forth thanks to fear and ignorance and very imperfect human nature being what it is, but like the stock market, the long-term trend is always…up.

    * * *

  13. Thank you Bri.I was just thinking about this whole notion of “where liberal ideas originate” and realized the whole thing was sort-of … well … lame. It does not matter where ideas begin. It only matters that the idea exists. Who agrees with an idea is not defined by their location, but by what they believe.

    But this all makes the same point that I started with. It does not matter WHERE people think. All that matters is WHAT they think.

    So to say to a Californian “you should come over to Colorado and see how we all think here” is fallacial. Even if everyone in the state of Alabama in the year 1862 believed that Slavery was God’s will, they were still incorrect. If everyone in the State of Colorado today thinks that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, well, five million Coloradoans CAN be wrong, and in this case, they would be. Will they be less wrong if I’m standing in the shadow of Pikes Peak, breathing the clean air and admiring the scenery? No.

    I agree with Todd’s statement, “A well-rounded argument is not represented from one viewpoint, but from many.” My viewpoint on gay marriage is what it is because I’ve also considered how gay people must feel about it. To be fair, I even considered how people in Kern County think about it. They don’t like it because they don’t like gay people. Boo hoo. End of argument.

    My apologies to all progressive thinkers in Wyoming, Colorado, Kern County and other far-reaching places.

  14. One more thing: I’ve been to Colorado. I’ve been to Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs (I used to date a girl from Denver and we went back there several times for weddings and holidays and such). In all three places, there were all different kinds of people, with all different kinds of viewpoints. I met gay people, Mexicans there both legally and not-so-legally, African-Americans, Asians, Christians, Jews, Atheists, etc. I met some rednecks with three teeth who were nice enough to invite a stranger to a barbecue and beer at their trailer park. Best barbecue I ever had, or maybe I was just drunk. In Colorado Springs, I met a huge number of Christians, most of whom were nice to me even though I openly admitted to not having shared their faith since childhood. On the other hand, one of my pals in Colorado Springs recently announced she was abandoning Christianity, and has been pretty much shunned by her family and friends.

    I sometimes discussed politics with these folks; other times thought it wiser to keep my mouth shut. Some of them agreed with me, at least on some of my views; others didn’t at all. Some hated the President (Clinton at the time); some thought he was great. I was rather mixed when it came to him; later on when his overhyped but nevertheless irresponsible antics pretty much handed the Whitehouse to Bush, I decided I hated his guts.

    What is my point? Well, that despite the vast sea of robotic mindless Toddites that His Dumbness would like us to believe comprise the bulk of the country (‘cept them dang citified folk), it just ain’t the case. Yeah, I met some of those people, but I met just as many who were the opposite. And not only in Boulder.

    So, Mister Toad, you keep right on insisting that we ‘Californicators’ do some travelin’ an’ git some perspective; that seems to be your favorite corrugated metal shack to hide behind. But some of us are already ten steps ahead of ya, and we’ve done our homework, and we have a firm grasp of the obvious: that people, like the proverbial snowflakes, are all different — and if YOU happen to only attract or surround yourself with the type of folks who still doggedly support the Fuhrer and his henchmen while they hide in the bunker awaiting further orders from The Baby Jeezuz, well, that’s YOUR problem. But it doesn’t give you much of a leg to stand on in these discussions.

    Even if Colorado DID represent ‘the rest of the country’, then I’d still be satisfied that YOU, Todd, DON’T.

    * * *

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