Sunday, March 19, 2017

Blue In A Red State

Blue In A Red State

Adult nonfiction
"There may be more liberals, but Lisa is still reminded on a
regular basis that she's in the minority in Waukesha. In 2012, as you
drove into Waukesha, you were greeted by a giant Romney/Ryan sign. On
the highway, churches posted conservative messages on their
billboards. For an atheist like Lisa, it was a frequent reminder that
she wasn't in Madison anymore...Fox News was almost always on the
televisions in local businesses."
News commentators have this nation divided into blue and red
states jigsaw puzzle neatly. The reality, of course, is a lot
messier. In Maine, for example, big city Portland is a lot more
liberal than some of the left behind formerly industrial towns
struggling to survive in a global economy.
It can be really comfortable living among people who share your
political orientation and related values. Maybe you have to deal with
conservative relatives and in-laws at a few yearly get togethers. But
the rest of the time you can feel free to speak your mind, put bumper
stickers on your car, and post what you really think on social media.
For some people that's not an option. Others find other factors
such as lower cost of living or a more rural life style to outweigh
political identities. Others embrace the challenge of being minorities
and getting to know and maybe influence colleagues and neighbors on
the other end of the spectrum. These are the people Justin Krebs has
portrayed in Blue In A Red State: The Survival Guide To Life In The
Real America.
"These liberals keep up the pressure for progress in the most
intimidating of settings. They voice unpopular but necessary views.
They live side by side with many Americans who don't strongly identify
with any political label and are the most potentially persuadable.
And they also put a friendly face on "liberalism"--making it harder
for conservatives to demonize them, just as liberals need not to
demonize those with politics at the other end of the spectrum."
Lisa (mentioned above) has two Facebook accounts: one for her
political views and the other for cat pictures. She doesn't put up
signs that might alienate neighbors or attach bumper stickers to her
car. She and husband Paul feel that they are "strangers in a strange
Diane is a Democratic chair in Sarah Palin country who advises
candidates, "Things can get passionate on the campaign trail. But
after the election, you're still going to run into these people at the
grocery, postal box, the watering hole, your church. It's not worth
blowing up your life and your relationships." She is aware that in
sparsely populated areas with extreme weather it's not wise to burn
bridges with the neighbor whose help you might need in an emergency.
Retirees Rita and Dean love residing on a South Carolina
island. They have friends across the spectrum; they're just careful
who they talk politics with. They have little patience for anyone--
conservative or liberal--who inflicts their views on everyone else,
alienating neighbors.
They are just four of the people profiled in Blue In A Red
State. It's a very thought provoking book. Almost all of us have at
least a few colleagues, neighbors, or family members way across the
aisle. Some of us are even married to them. Anyone who can find even
a few useful ideas will find the book to be a wise investment.
On a personal note, I'm a total misfit in Veazie. I'm a lot more
outspoken and liberal than most people. Also Veazie is very class
snobby and I speak up for the have nots. I am the voice many people
do not want to hear. I'm lucky to be just a few miles away from Orono
with its more liberal and ethnically diverse populace and UMaine. Now
that I am no longer on school committee I get my mail, reside, vote,
and pay taxes in Veazie. My heart is in Orono.
A great big shout out goes out to all who find themselves strangers in
a strange land.

Sent from my iPod

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