There are indeed democrats in the south. Actually, there are plenty of Democrats in the south. They have learned to be very quiet. They are quiet for a number of reasons, and the result is politically chilling.
For more than a decade, the power of Democrats has been eroded. It has been weakened by losing more and more political offices. It has been weakened by the fact that Republicans took a long term approach to gaining power. They set their sights on the local offices first, but their goal was state and federal offices. The state assemblies is responsible for redistricting and that is the only reason the Republicans have a majority in Congress now. They have also done a good job of controlling the political conversation at a national level which trickled down to local politics.
This has all created an environment where it is not only uncomfortable to be a Democrat, it is downright dangerous. It is dangerous for one’s job if one’s employer finds out about it. It is dangerous if your church finds out about it. Democrats have, in effect, been closeted. People come out of the political closet at their own peril. People have lost their jobs. People have been made so uncomfortable at church they feel the need to leave. People have been shunned by friends. People have gone to battle with family. All because they expressed their political opinions. Those on the right feel perfectly comfortable speaking loudly and proudly about their views. Recently Dr. Ben Carson spoke at a university in south Georgia to a sold out crowd. A small group of protesters was there to voice opposition to a college campus and tax payer dollars being used for this.
It is time we bring political conversation back into the public. Let people hear ideas and let them stand or fall on their merit. One sided politics has brought us nothing but lies and bad policies. Take the guns everywhere law. This is a policy that allows people to take loaded guns into bars and on college campuses. The polls all show that people think it is bad. Politicians of both parties are all convinced that the NRA will take them out of office. So the discussion is all directed by the NRA and the majority is silenced. Another example is all the legislation restricting abortion. There are laws that would effectively make any doctor a criminal if any of their patients have a miscarriage. There would be a criminal investigation triggered of the woman and her doctor. Let these idea into the broad open daylight. The press sure isn’t asking the tough questions and Republican press releases and talking points certainly are not telling the whole truth. People are not publicly pointing out the flawed logic because they are scared to get stuck with the royal blue “D” which is as bad as a scarlet letter “A” in the south.
It should not bring shame to give voice to progressive views. It should not be embarrassing to wear a political t-shirt. It should not be risky to put an “Obama” bumper sticker on a vehicle. Political yard signs should be safe in a yard. The local police should not be coming on private property to remove them. Neighbors should not be stealing them and throwing them in the trash. These are daily occurrences during political campaign seasons.
Going public has risks. Opinion editorial writers know this. They get nasty responses and hate mail and threats. Wearing political t-shirts will attract ugly looks. Being outspoken can also attract those with similar political views.