Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Democrats must acknowledge that red states have liberals pushing for change, writes author-journalist Silas House

Silas House
When Kentucky writer and journalist Silas House travels the country to promote his books, people often take out their anger at Sen. Mitch McConnell on him.  

"Time and again, I’ve been called out for his presence in the Senate—during Q&As in front of a thousand people and in whispers at the signing table after events. For all of these people, I was the living embodiment of every voter in the state who had betrayed them. I can’t blame them for hating McConnell. Hardly anyone has done more to impede our democracy, and empower Donald Trump, than him," House writes for The Atlantic. "I am ashamed of McConnell, but I am never ashamed to be a Kentuckian. My state is a complicated, beautiful place with a rich heritage and people who have contributed a huge amount to the American experiment. I will defend the state to all outsiders, even as I complain about its flaws."

House isn't the only red-state resident to face such criticism, he writes: "Sometimes it feels as though all citizens of red states are lumped together, as if everyone here, especially those in rural areas, is the same. In early December when McConnell shot down the $908 billion stimulus plan, Twitter lit up with hatred for Kentuckians." House was troubled not just by the vitriol, but by the way angry tweets painted Kentuckians as hicks, hillbillies, and other derogatory terms. 

"These volatile responses trouble me, not only because I don’t like being reduced to a stereotype, but also because that response feeds the GOP rhetoric I hear at home: The liberals just think you’re deplorable, so why not flex your muscle any way you can to spit in their faces?" House writes. 

He tells Atlantic readers something they may not know but need to: "Tens of thousands of us here in Kentucky are fighting for progressive causes, even as we are forced to defend ourselves against other liberals in the country who should be supporting us. I’m not organizing a pity party. Instead, I’m issuing a warning: Everyday Democrats need to see beyond the electoral map to acknowledge the folks pushing for liberal ideas even in the reddest of areas. If they don’t, the cultural divide will grow only wider."

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