Friday, 5 October 2012

Week 2 Blog Post

This map is a simple depiction of the North/South divide within the USA. It's author has called the northern area and California "The United States of Canada" implying that it is liberal and secular, while the South or "Jesusland" is the home religious zealots. The website has a nice quote:

"This map started popping up after the 2004 Presidential election in the US, when George W. Bush got re-elected (with a legitimate majority this time). Democratic challenger John F. Kerry only won a handful of states, mainly on both coasts – where the electorate is more ‘liberal’ than in the more rural ‘flyover’ states in the middle. This map was to demonstrate the political divide between the Bushites on one side and rational people in the US and elsewhere." (Source
Although it has an element of truth in it, Canada is famously liberal and certain states of America like California and New York pride themselves of not being as overtly religious as say, Texas, it is really simplistic and, in my opinion, gives too much credit to the north. These states are also staunchly religious as everyone in America is assumed to believe in God. There was a cartoon a few years back in which one of the characters is ousted as an Atheist and turned into a pariah. They mention during the show that although he never went to church on Sundays, they expected him to still believe in God. This is an interesting attitude - maybe even the exact opposite to the UK where you are more likely to be assumed an Atheist before a Christian?

Although there is a legal separation between states and church, all court rooms still have the words "in god we trust" and the ten commandments often appear on monuments outside court houses (weirdly, this began as a publicity stunt by the movie The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston!)

However, I don't know if focusing entirely on religion is the right way to analyse this image. Although it does mention "Jesusland" it may be better to assume that means "Conservative" - in which case you expand on to politics, drug laws, death penalties, gay rights and abortion laws - taking NY and CA as out examples and comparing them to Texas shows that the map if fairly accurate in its Progressive Liberal/Conservative divide.

Why is the South more right wing then the North?

This goes right back to who originally settled where in frontier America. Also, there are influences from the "fear" of mexicans crossing the border, the terrain keeping communities sheltered, oil and cotton interests, the civil war and slavery and the greater diversity of the "liberal zone" (The United States of Canada).

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