“The South” Rises Again

Then-Florida governor Charlie Crist embraces President Obama at a 2009 event. (Joe Raedle, Getty Images)

White Americans closed ranks in the midterm elections and put Hope and Change on hold for at least two more years. All the talk about changing demographics turning states like Georgia and Mississippi “blue” turned out to be just talk after all.

The much-ballyhooed Hispanic wave failed to wash away the legacy of generations. And it wasn’t because Hispanics did not vote. It wasn’t because black Americans did not vote.

The turnout among ethnic minorities was unexpectedly strong. But the American electorate is still more than 60 percent white. And that’s the whole story.

As the results came in last night, it was clear that hope for comprehensive immigration reform was slipping away, that voter suppression and other civil rights abuses would continue unchecked, that the cavalier disregard for women’s rights would be unabated, that students’ loans would be ever more unaffordable, that tradition and mythology would obscure science and enlightenment, that bigotry and religious quackery would triumph over compassion and justice …

Many of the seats being decided in the midterm elections were in the South, West and Midwest, and voters in those states showed their true colors. Not all voters of course. Many of the contests were decided by a razor-thin margin. But enough. Down went Allison Lundergan Grimes. Down went Michelle Nunn. Down went Wendy Davis…

And in Florida, where Sandra and I live, down went Charlie Crist (above, left, with President Obama).

It was North Florida that did Crist in. The Panhandle, which is spiritually part of Alabama, and the Jacksonville area, whose heart belongs to Georgia.  In those mostly rural regions, the vote was almost 100 percent for Rick Scott (above, right).

Yes Rick Scott, who paid a historically huge fine for Medicare fraud! That Rick Scott. The stand-your-ground Rick Scott. The Florida governor who slashed education and social services spending with utter disregard for the suffering and lasting damage his policies would cause.

But Scott is indisputably white – especially his shiny scalp. So white that – as Sandra says – he looks like someone from Mars.

Crist is white, too, but he is linked to Barack Obama, and, as Obama noted in one of his books, some white people believe that the color of his skin could rub off on them. It certainly rubbed off on Charlie Crist.

Yes, America – the part of America that went to the polls this time – is not ready for Hope and Change. But hope springs eternal, and the closeness of last night’s results is reason to keep hoping.

Change will come, whether America’s voters want it or not. We can only hope America changes for the better.

Click for more on the election.

Click for Scott’s victory.

Click for more on Crist and Obama.

Click for demographic breakdown of the US electorate.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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16 Responses

  1. Shelley says:

    I’ll be sad to see you go, but I know life goes on! It’s been great getting to know you as you travel through and explore my beloved homeland. Jamaica is such a special place to many Jamaicans, myself included. I hope in spite of everything else, she was good to you.

  2. April D. Thompson says:

    Jamaica has been great to me and I will definitely be coming back. I was initially planning on July being the return but not sure I can wait that long… Love the avi by the way!

    • Shelley says:

      Thanks! Your recent trip to Lover’s Leap inspired me to dig up all the pics I had from our family trip! They brought back great memories. I’m not exactly sure yet when I’ll be touching down in Jamaica. It depends on a couple a things, work mainly, but it’s looking like July for me. Maybe August. When are you leaving Jamaica? And where will be your next destination before you return? You’re welcome to couch surf at my place if you’d like to visit Oslo (although I have feeling Oslo is hardly your type of place. 🙂

  3. Cutia says:

    Thanks a million times for hosting me in Kingston! I LOVED YS Falls and Pelican Bar, but definitely could have skipped the Black River Tour. Hope you and Cindy had fun!

    • April D. Thompson says:

      You are welcome! Keeping fingers crossed for you. YS was loads of fun. I enjoyed the Black River as well as Lover’s Leap. Amazing view. So much to explore, so little time…

  4. Jamaica My Way says:

    LOL loved the pic of you driving the boat! Glad to hear an update from you…I feel your pain, I hadn’t written a post in 2 WEEKS!!

    Love that you got to the south coast though, I want to feed baby goats! I need to explore that side of the island next reach too!

    • April D. Thompson says:

      Since I didn’t jump in the river with the others, I figured driving the boat was the LEAST I could do.

      Yes, please do go check it out. Tons of fun with the homies out there.

  5. Cley says:

    Jamaica is really beautiful! And I’m a Bob Marley fan.. Jah love! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this…

    • April D. Thompson says:

      I don’t know how anyone CAN’T be a fan of Bob Marley! Thanks for checking it out!

  6. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for sharing your recent trips..I really enjoy reading your experience while you are staying their..Hope you enjoy your trip..Thanks for sharing to us..

  7. Elise Walsh says:

    Jamaica looks like it is treating you well. Extended stay certainly looks like the way to partake in the Jamaican experience. I love the bunnies!

    • April Thompson says:

      Oh Elise it is! Can’t complain at all. Extended starts are the best way to partake in any country, but especially Jamaica.

  8. Ruben says:

    Good post! I’ll definitely be pinning this on pinterest!