Sunday, October 28, 2012

Geopolitics on a Small Scale

Running errands on Friday I had occasion to drive through several parts of my Virginia county - Albemarle.

When I landed on the shores of Virginia in 1986, Albemarle was described to me as a county of primarily middle to upper class residents, with an interesting share of the fabulously wealthy and famous.

I wasn't surprised to discover that many of these were active in Republican politics. 

Since the county's largest town, Charlottesville, is home to the University of Virginia, and supposedly crammed with intellectuals, it is assumed to be more liberal....and it is.

And there are a number of artistic types - both successful and aspiring - who make the county their home and who generally are  considered to be liberal. Some, such as John Grisham and Dave Matthews, have given voice to their support of Democratic candidates. 

Despite this, much of the county has eluded the fulsome labels of wealthy, educated and artistic as testified to by the a number of Republican yard signs.

This does not necessarily signify that if you are a Conservative you are poor, ignorant or both, but it does seem to work out that way.

The odd thing is that while many of the large estates will display their preference for the GOP candidates - in line with their economic interests - the vast number of those proclaiming allegiance to Romney/Ryan/Allen/Hurt live in modest homes....some of them even little better than shacks.

Parked in front of these are trucks with pro-gun decals and the yard is littered with plastic toys and dead cars.

Or, sometimes, it's a modest but buttoned-up residence that will fly an American flag and possibly display a Christian symbol of Christ's love on the family car, right next to an anti-gay statement of some kind. 

There is some satisfying variety in this still essentially bucolic environment. But, even though I am aware of this, I am still bemused by the  devotion of the massive numbers of the least successful among us to a concept that is utterly antithetical to their own best interests.




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