It feels like lately, what I write about gets touched on by the media a week later.
A week ago I touched on an incredible opinion piece in The New York Times about abortion laws in the South and the idea that the South has been “Brooklynized by way of a progressive social culture.”
This morning my wife informed me that another media source took on the New York Times article.
I was excited to read it, I was sorely disappointed when I did.
It was published in Scalawag Magazine, which I had never heard of. It’s a Southern progressive social justice magazine.
This was a tough read for me.
On the one hand, I agree with a lot the author has to say. I’ll get to that in a minute.
On the other, she says things that make me bristle.
The article appeared in response to a string of abortion laws passed in the South and midwest, including the most restrictive law in my home state of Alabama. Twenty-five white men in the legislature passed a bill banning all abortions without exclusions for rape or incest. A white woman, Gov. Kay Ivey, who happens to be the second woman elected to the office, signed the bill, which happened to be written by a white woman, into law.
This is the arena of identity politics. A reflexive focus on the race and gender of the legislators who wrote and passed the bill is a best a distraction and more likely exacerbates racial tensions.
The identification of Gov. Kay Ivey as a white woman is clearly part of the larger argument I’ve seen in Progressive circles about white women upholding the white supremacism as opposed to feminism, and that women by their nature should be champions of Progressivism.
This is where I start to lose it because while I agree that the Alabama law was bad, I also am not a racial identitarian Progressive. I am a civil libertarian and argue for civil rights regardless of race.
I get very uncomfortable with having strange political bedfellows.
So where do I agree with the author of this piece?
Recently, the New York Times published an op-ed by Ginia Bellafante titled “Abortion and the Future of the New South.” In it, she somehow manages a remarkable trifecta of ignorance. She slanders Southerners and glorifies gentrification while neglecting the very real horror of restrictive abortion laws on those of us who will remain here regardless, who have roots here, who have family members who need tending to or communities we’re invested in, or simply have a love of this place and its nothing-to-do-with-Brooklyn culture.
I wholeheartedly agree that Bellafante is ignorant.
I disagree with the part about gentrification. That is the wrong word to describe the attitude that The New York Times exudes on this and many similar topics.
And the thing is, New Orleans is the “Deep South.” So is Dallas, Birmingham, Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte, and yes, Miami—the cities that, according to Bellafante, were uninhabitable until they traded their own complex histories for strip mall versions of Brooklyn. If you’re going to other the South, you don’t get to cherry-pick what constitutes the South and Southerners. You don’t get to rewrite our history either, like this paragraph chock-full of bullshit.
I agree with this too, which brings me to my point.
I am familiar with the New York City attitude that believes all good things come from New York City and all that the rest of America needs to not be such flyover country-bumkin culturally barren wastelands is to have a little more New York City in them.
It is the New York Progressive’s mission, much like the conquistadors, to bring Progressive New York civilization to the ignorant natives. It is their ‘white man’s burden.’
The Bellafante piece reads as indignation that those hick Southerners who were in the process of being civilized by proselytizing Progressive would do such a thing and reassert their ignorant backward Bible-thumping ways.
While I agree with the Scalawag author on the nicer parts of the South something other than a bunch of hicks trying to copy New York City, when she gets to the end of her piece, I get wrankled.
If you have an inkling of solidarity with those of us here working against oppressive laws, then by all means, put your precious Northern money to good use by supporting the organizations doing the work on the ground in the South.
I am loathed to invite Progressive carpetbaggers to the South.
I’m a firearms enthusiast and pocket knife aficionado. I see how the Brooklyn DA treats working New Yorkers who carry pocket knives and I don’t want that here. I see how restrictive New York gun laws are (about as restrictive as the recent wave of Southern abortion laws) and I don’t want those here either.
I fervently reject the idea that only New York is civilized and the way to be civilized is by being more New York, or Progressive in general.
One of the great things about Huntsville is, while the city is growing, our housing prices have not skyrocketed like New York City, or San Francisco or Seattle either.
The first rule for a city that wants affordable housing is not to create an affordable housing department tasked with mandating affordable housing. All that does is increase the costs and eliminate the ability to build affordable housing. Without the heavy hand of Progressive government intervention, the market will make affordable housing.
Progressive city mismanagement is another one of those things we can keep at bay.
I moved to Alabama from Chicago, which is currently at junk bond status because of the unfunded liability the city and state hold which is about to bankrupt them. Illinois is raising taxes accordingly.
To make this point as best I can, my mortgage in Chicago and Huntsville are the same to within $5, but my house in Huntsville cost $90,000 more. In Chicago, I was paying more into escrow for taxes than I was on the principal for my house.
My cost of living in Alabama is much more affordable than it was in deep Blue Progressive America.
Do I want to do away with the disastrous Alabama abortion law? Sure.
Am I going to do that at the risk Coloradoing Alabama into a state that eliminates all my other rights? Hell no.
And therein lies the rub. Northern money to fight our abortion laws seems like a Faustian deal.