Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Election, Race and the Rural Voter

Arkansas alumnus, Professor Lisa Pruitt at U.C. Davis School of Law has studied and written a good deal about rural culture and livelihoods. This week on her blog, Legal Ruralism she posted on the New York Times article, For South, A Waning Hold on National Politics.

Professor Pruitt's post, Rural Voters in the Mid-South and Appalachia Further Marginalize Themselves in 08 Vote is well worth the read, as is the Times article.

The article and Professor Pruitt's commentary discuss the declining political significance of the south -
According to Wayne Parent, a political scientist at Louisiana State University, “The South has moved from being the center of the political universe to being an outside player in presidential politics.”
And, they discuss the sad reality of racism that was behind much of the vote.
As Glenn Feldman, a historian at the University of Alabama, Birmingham observed, “Race continues to play a major role in the state. . . Alabama, unfortunately, continues to remain shackled to the bonds of yesterday.”
Professor Pruitt elaborates on the potential impact of the rural south falling out of the political and cultural mainstream and worries that political marginalization will result in the "further marginalization of the legitimate needs" of rural residents.

In President-elect Obama's acceptance speech, he called for a spirit of “determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.”
"And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too."
Let's hope that the rural south is wise enough to accept this offer. Perhaps they could learn something from the rural voters in Iowa.

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