31 July 2018

The gun is God

The current issue of Time is "The South Issue," which despite intentions indicates that the rest of the country sees that part as, if not a problem, then at least still a puzzle after all these years. Politics is a big part of that puzzle, of course, so I was interested in seeing David French explain "What Democrats don't get about the south." He argues that lingering (though declining) racism matters much less down there than religion. "The single most important aspect of their identity," he writes, is "their faith in God." 21st century Democrats are handicapped when approaching the region, he writes, because only 32% of white Democrats claim to believe in "the God of the Bible." Yet religion doesn't really factor in anything else French writes. Instead, he notes that southern Republicans indulge in "culture signalling" to underscore their adherence to tradition, but almost all the signalling he cites focuses on guns. It would seem to follow that by flaunting firearms (and big trucks, apparently) successful politicians signal that they are good Christians. Was that not French's intent? Then why bring up religion if you're not going to describe anything that might have something to do with religion, like abortion or the gay rights debate? Maybe a paragraph was cut that shouldn't have been, but the impression left is that the sometimes cartoonish display of guns, done to appear "more Southern than the South," proves that guns are an inextricable,  perhaps intrinsic part of not only southern culture, but also their fundamental religion. And those same people fret about immigrants having un-American values....

No comments: