I’d like to add though that what you’re seeing play out at a national level with 45’s attempts to steal an election is a nice reflection of what would happen if we allow ourselves to believe that the good folks of Alabama have the government they elected, rather than understanding that they’re suffering under a system where the bad guys have been shutting out representation for a very long time. They’re experiencing all of our futures if we don’t take the suppression seriously. So from my viewpoint, they’re not in a shithole. They’re in the midst of a fight for all of us.
I’ve lived in WI my entire life and unfortunately have some extended family and had to work with many people like this. They always seem to start with something mildly bigoted and if there’s no pushback they go full racist. I learned from experience the importance of not tolerating bigots. It sucks being in situations where calling them out has consequences
And this is why we need good historical education, and why the far right is so opposed to just that. Knowing the past, and how it shaped the present, is a formidable weapon against these kinds of attitudes that blames the oppressed for their own oppression. If you understand that there are systems of power that are out of many of our hands, and that to make things better, we have to work together, then you’re far less likely to make light of shit like this.
It’s also a good reminder that as @Surprise_Puma said above, these are testing grounds for national policies. Desantis is the only one saying it out loud (make American Florida), but this is the goal - total control.
Bingo. They are in occupied territory held by Nazis.
We’re lucky here in GA, as yeah, we have some of these extremists, but the Kemp wing of the GOP (which has it’s own real problems, to be sure), seem to be holding the line against those further to their right… And then we have been the focus of the reverse migration, as ATL has really attracted many Black Americans back to the south. We have a real chance to keep pushing further into blue territory here…
What most people don’t realize is that several other states are at similar places - and it’s always the heavy gerrymandering that is the problem. Not only has it depressed the vote (in rural places in GA and in other parts of the south), but it has emboldened the far right to become more involved in local politics. And then there was the wave of post-Trump radicalization that happened since 2016.
People mocking the south isn’t particularly helpful, when these people are working to make their ideology a national reality. I’m really sick of having to remind people over and over again that real people are being hurt here. The people suffering are not the MTGs and Ron Desantis’ of the world - it’s the working class Black community and the queer community that is the target. THAT is who their laughing at when they talk about “shithole” parts of the country…
It’s a different flavor of white supremacy. Both Dr. King and Malclom X wrote about the problem of the white liberal. We see that now expressed as just the kind of disdainful regionalism that is scattered in this thread. Alabama and Mississippi are majority-minority states. The only things that keeps a white supremacist minority in power are voter suppression, gerrymandering, and a racist criminal justice system. And so white liberals from the north make “shithole country” jokes while their neighbors do the same shit.
ETA: oh, and lots of money. ChikFilA, Hardees, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, et al like things the way they are; where they can exploit minorities who don’t have better prospects. Their whole business model changes if they have to pay living wages to a less-exploitable workforce. Oh, and racism, too.
Which is code for make America fascist. They care nothing for freedom or anyone but themselves. Nothing.
Yes, I’m aware, that’s part of my point…
The proposed solution [by the Alabama Legislature, in noncompliance with the federal court order], gerrymandering districts to increase the percentage of black residents in them, is also broken, because the entire system is broken. [But apparently not the federal court order, which would restore voting rights stolen by the AL leg.]
If you create a district that is 55% black so they can elect the candidate they want, but that same candidate would have won if the district was 35% black because they packed black folks in with some like-minded white folks, then they’ve diluted their voting power elsewhere.
The problem ultimately is single-member districts which make it difficult for physically spread out minority groups (in the wider sense) to elect someone different from the majority [but only once one restores the voting rights of those Black communities affected by the AL gerrymandering, since it’s unlikely that a complete overhaul of the AL constitution is remotely possible without their support]
Note: this post has been edited to reflect subsequent clarifying posts in such a way that would have avoided a whole lotta strife and unnecessary drama.
So, many people here know I’m in a small Alabama town. 8000 people. It’s made national news a few times for crazy shit. My town council is mandated by law to be gerrymandered to ensure fair racial representation.
I see the “small town” BS all the time. I organize. I talk to neighbors. I try to persuade. I look at the history and try to tell it. I’ve had my life threatened by people with real power. There has been recent political violence.
But this isn’t a “South” thing. It’s an American thing. The racists here would be at home in Michigan, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Also California, New Jersey, and Colorado. I’ve seen them there.
This particular news story is about Alabama, but that’s a quirk of the story. This story is about America. And if we say “ah, right, well sure, Alabama” we tacitly give a soft pass to it happening everywhere else. “Oh, those rednecks. The other.”
Just observations and meanderings. This isn’t directed at any one person.
That is NOT what is happening here. Stop both siding this issue. This was the courts demanding that the state correct their racist map which had been gerrymandered to dilute the Black vote. correcting that is NOT gerrymandering.
And yes, we’re all keenly aware that our voting system is broken. Especially the Black voters in Alabama.
Again, though, is that gerrymandered? Really? Isn’t that correcting a racist system to better reflect the demographics in Alabama? And should we equate the breaking of the Black vote to the preservation of the Black vote? I’m not so sure… Even if the “technical” definition might fit…
That, yes. It was a legal compulsion to redistrict to ensure Black representation. It had been gerrymandered otherwise prior.
You know - if they gerrymandered the district to be 45% black voters and 55% Asian residents who aren’t registered to vote….no that’s just nonsense.
Sorry for wasting everyone’s time.
Per the report, the legislators will only need to pick from the three versions that the court’s experts will draw for them.
Not really, no. That’s just called “districting.”
Except they haven’t found out yet have they? The judges are baffled according to the headline but I don’t understand why they would be when the penalties for not complying seem to be another scolding.
that may be a problem, but i guarantee it isn’t the problem.
disenfranchisement happens by targeting black communities with violent policing and then by barring felons from voting. it happens by ensuring polling places are mostly in white neighborhoods. it happens by ensuring long lines and making it illegal to hand out water. it happens by preventing mail in ballots and drop boxes, by not having voting day be a holiday, and by ensuring that black voters work longer hours for less pay than white voters - keeping them at work on voting day. it happens by forcing people to renew their registration every few years and mysteriously not sending out forms to black neighborhoods.
and when black representatives are elected, it happens by denying them important committees, by censuring their voices, by having an entire media apparatus attack them, and by ignoring the issues they advocate for
the problem is racism. fixing gerrymandered districts is simply the easiest to fix of the many methods of disenfranchisement that have been deployed. ( far too many to list )
Isn’t that – corrupt and undemocratic government, and disenfranchised citizens – a major part of why those “third world shitholes” are shitholes?
You’re starting from the proposition that “shithole” is an accurate and sufficient label for these places, and asking me to speculate on why they are “shitholes.” I’m starting from the proposition that labeling an entire region/state/country/whatever so broadly is disrespectful toward and dismissive of the people who live there and may care deeply about the place despite its flaws. I can think of a lot of places I wouldn’t want to live. I don’t think I’d be comfortable hand-waving any of them away with my outsider’s perspective that they are “shitholes.”
Labeling the place inevitably labels the people. I prefer to focus on the reasons a place may be suffering since it gives hope that things can change and acknowledges that the good people there have allies outside who see their fight and help as they can.