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Bush Poll Numbers Make Me Realize: I've Never Trusted Southern White Men in Suits

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According to published reports of the demographic breakdown in President Bush's latest poll numbers, it seems his strongest redoubt of support is among white, conservative, Evangelical Republican men from the South.

Reading those reports gives me an instant flashback of several decades of dealing with that type of person.

I first encountered the proto version of these people at my white, conservative Southern college campus. There were those of us who were opposed to the then-raging Vietnam War, let our views be known, and also rebelled against the establishment by our dress, by our personal appearance, and yes, by the smell of what wafted out from our dorm rooms on Saturday night.

We lived in fear of our R.A.- a rock-ribbed Republican member of a rock-ribbed Republican-dominated, restricted-member fraternity. He patrolled the halls, nose sniffing for those smells, and of music that wasn't preppy.

A semester or two later, it got back to me that the R.A.'s snitching on me cost me a position as editor of our school paper.

I heard later that the prick went to work for a local bank in a suit-and-tie required position.

I know I sound like I am overgeneralizing. Perhaps I am, but there were hundreds of thousands of people like him. You had to have been there.

Then, after graduation came time to look for a job. Our society was in a place where against-the-grain creativity in attitude and grooming achieved wide acceptance. But in job ad after job ad, I kept reading the requirement, "clean-cut." Go on interviews at these offices, and you would see conservative, Southern white men in suits. Obviously, few that were doing the hiring had read "The Greening of America."

About the Evangelical thing, I was more than once suspiciously eyed for my swarthiness, and for a Social Security number that pointed to the fact that I was not native to the climes for which I sought employment. Those who were doing the eyeballing were white males, nattily dressed. Maybe I was perceived as a Yankee liberal, and even a member of a tribe who once killed their Lord. This was before those of that tribe were seen by some Southern evangelicals as to-be-loved, prophesied facilitators of Armageddon.

A few years later, as the 1970s drew to a close, I found myself in a place where my artistic income did not always quite cover all my expenses. It was then that I was introduced to the flintiness and judgementalism of the same group of white, conservative, Republican men. My national writing credits did not matter to those who lacked the foresight to envision that being self-employed was not a weakness, not a manifestation of laziness. And as to the command in their Bible against interest? Conveniently overlooked.

Fast forward to the 1990s. My financial situation was fine, but then, as Bill Clinton came in, I began to notice numerous bumpers with anti-Clinton stickers joined at the hip with Confederate flags. I then started to mumble to myself why it could be that Bill Clinton was pillaried for choosing not to "serve his nation" in Vietnam, while the same people would honor a movement whose success would have cleaved the very nation they attacked Bill Clinton for being a "draft dodger" for. .

At the same time, the metro Atlanta where I lived accelerated the pace of sprawl. Real-estate developers, investors, brokers, Southern white men in suits, generally with Republican tendencies, plotting and conniving to knock down trees and convert farmland to exurban cul de sacs that would quickly fill in with more families headed by conservative Southern white men in suits.

Now, these counties vote overwhelmingly (cough) Republican. GWB is still loved in those places.

But now I monitor those places from a distance.

A decade ago, I got the fuck out, moving to a place where you are less likely to see the type of individual or trend I have been railing about here.

Conservative Evangelical, Southern Republican white men in suits? Not in my hood.

Abundance of Bushies? Where I live, a countable few.

Life is good.