During this US election cycle we are hearing a lot from the pundits and candidates about “heartland voters,” and “white working class voters.”
What they are talking about are rednecks. But in their political correctness, media types cannot bring themselves to utter the word “redneck.” So I’ll say it for them: redneck-redneck-redneck-redneck.
The fact is that we American rednecks embrace the term in a sort of proud defiance. To us, the term redneck indicates a culture we were born in and enjoy. So I find it very interesting that politically correct people have taken it upon themselves to protect us from what has come to be one of our own warm and light hearted terms for one another.
On the other hand, I can quite imagine their concern, given what’s at stake in the upcoming election. We represent at least a third of all voters and no US president has ever been elected without our support.
Consequently, rednecks have never had so many friends or so much attention as in 2008. Contrary to the stereotype, we are not all tobacco chewing, guffawing Southerners, but are scattered from coast to coast. Over 50% of us live in the “cultural south”, which is to say places with white Southern Scots-Irish values – redneck values.
They include western Pennsylvania, central Missouri and southern Illinois, upstate Michigan and Minnesota, eastern Connecticut, northern New Hampshire…So when you look at what pundits call the red state heartland, you are looking at the Republic of Redneckia.
As to having our delicate beer-sodden feelings protected from the term redneck; well, I appreciate the effort, though I highly suspect that the best way to hide snobbishness is to pose as protector of any class of folks you cannot bear. Thus we are being protected by the very people who look down on us – educated urban progressives.
And let’s face it, there’s plenty to look down on. By any tasteful standard, we ain’t a pretty people.
Uppity and slick? Not us…
We come in one size: extra large. We are sometimes insolent and often quick to fight. We love competitive spectacle such as NASCAR and paintball, and believe gun ownership is the eleventh commandment.
We fry things nobody ever considered friable – things like cupcakes, banana sandwiches and batter dipped artificial cheese…even pickles.
Her daughter had a baby out of wedlock? Big deal. What family has not?
And most of all we are defiant and suspicious of authority, and people who are “uppity” (sophisticated) and “slick” (people who use words with more than three syllables). Two should be enough for anybody.
And that is one of the reasons that, mystifying as it is to the outside world, John McCain’s choice of the moose-shooting Alaskan woman with the pregnant unmarried teen daughter appeals to many redneck and working class Americans.
We all understand that there is a political class which dominates in America, and that Sarah Palin for damned sure is not one of them. And the more she is attacked by liberal Democratic elements (translation: elite highly-educated big city people) the more America’s working mooks will come to her defence. Her daughter had a baby out of wedlock? Big deal. What family has not? She is a Christian fundamentalist who believes God spat on his beefy paws and made the world in seven days? So do at least 150 million other Americans. She snowmobiles and fishes and she is a looker to boot. She’s a redneck.