The southeast is known for many things: the southern accent, friendliness, conservative values, etc.
The pacific coast is known for many things: the climate, the scenery, liberal values, etc.
Do you know what I’m finding to be the starkest contrast in my move back to the southeast? People’s attitudes about change.
In California everyone was all about change, being the change, making the change, changing the world for the better and getting rich doing it. You routinely overheard or had conversations about change—deep, fundamental, world-altering change. This area of the country has a deep and lasting legacy from living on the frontier and blazing a new trailhead as well as working as hard as you could while risking absolutely everything on the gold rush.
In Georgia you don’t rock the boat. Instead, you focus on maintaining the delicate balance of the status quo. It’s good enough the way it is. This is the heart of conservative values: conserve the way things are as if that’s the way things are meant to be. Don’t stand out of the crowd. Don’t work too hard. Don’t upset people. Accept things as they are as if the way things are is divinely ordained. It is, isn’t it?
Here’s a silly, though real, example: The UPS man arrived this week. He came up the numerous steps outside to the front door and told me he was going to place the package, still in his truck, in the garage (no steps) and that I needed to open the garage door. A good southern gentleman would have said, “Sure.” Well, hell no! The package is supposed to be delivered to the front door. When I protested, he complained that the package was heavy. I had to remind him that this was his job. He, unhappily, brought the package to the front door. And yes, it was indeed heavy.
I routinely had packages delivered by UPS in California. Once, the package was insanely heavy—I’m talking bust-a-gut heavy just trying to pick it up. The UPS man hoist that thing up, walked it to the front door and asked where I wanted him to put it inside the house. I told him he could just put it on the floor just inside the door. He protested saying that the package was really heavy, and he should put it where I wanted it to go. Not until he left did I realize it was so heavy I lacked the strength to even pick it up and had to open it to take the parts out! It took 2 of us to move it!
Working your hardest to be the change, or working as little as possible to just preserve things the way they are and not upset the status quo. Where would you want to live?
I know a lot of people in the southeast that want to keep things just the way they are, thank you very much. But I will opt for the rush of the risk of change every time, and that, my friends, is what drives the fire of my liberalism. I want, no, I need things to be better than they are right now. For everyone. I am therefore a liberal and proud of it.