Saturday, November 16, 2013

REMAPPING USA ~ Violence, Shame, Future

This article, by Colin Woodward in the current issue of Tufts Magazine is engaging and enlightening:
Up in Arms

The long article is well worth reading in full, here's just a taste:

Opening with observations about recent examples of gun violence in the USA, the author goes on to say:

What’s less well appreciated is how much the incidence of violence, like so many salient issues in American life, varies by region. Beyond a vague awareness that supporters of violent retaliation and easy access to guns are concentrated in the states of the former Confederacy and, to a lesser extent, the western interior, most people cannot tell you much about regional differences on such matters. Our conventional way of defining regions—dividing the country along state boundaries into a Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest—masks the cultural lines along which attitudes toward violence fall. These lines don’t respect state boundaries. To understand violence or practically any other divisive issue, you need to understand historical settlement patterns and the lasting cultural fissures they established.

The original North American colonies were settled by people from distinct regions of the British Isles—and from France, the Netherlands, and Spain—each with its own religious, political, and ethnographic traits. For generations, these Euro-American cultures developed in isolation from one another, consolidating their cherished religious and political principles and fundamental values, and expanding across the eastern half of the continent in nearly exclusive settlement bands. Throughout the colonial period and the Early Republic, they saw themselves as competitors—for land, capital, and other settlers—and even as enemies, taking opposing sides in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

There’s never been an America, but rather several Americas—each a distinct nation. There are eleven nations today. Each looks at violence, as well as everything else, in its own way.

The map's content is explained in 11 paragraphs with nutshell histories of each region's history and development. More detailed information and relevance to today's situation follow.

It shouldn't be unexpected, but still makes me feel a tad sheepish, that many of today's problems have roots in my own native land's contribution to the New World. Trouble was that the first English settlers were not of lowly peasant stock, but aristocrats - or had been men of property and means. These people had already made life difficult for centuries for "my lot", the peasants back in the Old Country. The next wave of settlers would still have been folks of some substance, so patterns were already in place when waves of more lowly folk arrived later on.

The piece ends:

With such sharp regional differences, the idea that the United States would ever reach consensus on any issue having to do with violence seems far-fetched. The cultural gulf between Appalachia and Yankeedom, Deep South and New Netherland is simply too large. But it’s conceivable that some new alliance could form to tip the balance.

Among the eleven regional cultures, there are two superpowers, nations with the identity, mission, and numbers to shape continental debate: Yankeedom and Deep South. For more than two hundred years, they’ve fought for control of the federal government and, in a sense, the nation’s soul. Over the decades, Deep South has become strongly allied with Greater Appalachia and Tidewater, and more tenuously with the Far West. Their combined agenda—to slash taxes, regulations, social services, and federal powers—is opposed by a Yankee-led bloc that includes New Netherland and the Left Coast. Other nations, especially the Midlands and El Norte, often hold the swing vote, whether in a presidential election or a congressional battle over health care reform. Those swing nations stand to play a decisive role on violence-related issues as well.

For now, the country will remain split on how best to make its citizens safer, with Deep South and its allies bent on deterrence through armament and the threat of capital punishment, and Yankeedom and its allies determined to bring peace through constraints such as gun control. The deadlock will persist until one of these camps modifies its message and policy platform to draw in the swing nations. Only then can that camp seize full control over the levers of federal power—the White House, the House, and a filibuster-proof Senate majority—to force its will on the opposing nations. Until then, expect continuing frustration and division.

Remaining with the idea of   divisions, I found this (speculative) map, along with several others, at the Geographer at Large blog. The blogger wrote of it:
Hard to believe, but I cut this map out of the New York Times and kept it hanging around my many and various offices for nearly 20 years! Never throw anything away, kids, you never know when it might come in handy! Check out the "Kudzu Line," the Miami Ciudad Libre, also the Citicorp Cuba, Utah Theocracy, Manhattan People's Soviet, Electric Zone (leased to Consolidated Edison unil 2110) and many other amusing conceits. My personal favorite is Wen-Ge-Hua, Free City of Vancouver. I'm sure that's where I'll be!

....and these via Google Image

“You can't map a sense of humor. Anyway, what is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs. ”
― Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic


mike said...

Demographics is the statistical representation of a population's variation quantified by selected variables. As with any statistical representation, selection of variables is paramount to the objective.

Woodward has some valid points, I'm sure, but he references various studies that have drawn correlations within demographic groups. There are probably many other variables that could be selected to make the same conclusion or a different conclusion.

His statements regarding "Stand Your Ground" laws in subgroups is weakened by not considering almost all states having laws already on their books regarding use of force for self-protection...many states thought a "Stand Your Ground" was redundant. Legally, self-protection is effectively standing your ground. But I understand Woodward's choice and use.

His comments regarding a higher rate of violence in the South could be a reflection simply of the higher heat for extended durations of many months, coupled with high humidity. I'm not sure what the data support now, but it was previous shown that Chicago's and New York's murder rates increased dramatically in the summer months. Higher heat-humidity also infers more windows are open for air circulation and that more people will be outside...more chances for criminal interaction in the warmer months. It could also correlate to poverty rates and economic standards.

The incidence of drug cartels, gangs, and dealers has greatly influenced violent crime rates compared to several decades ago in various hot-spots across the nation. This was last seen in the 1920s and 1930s with the rise of the mob and liquor control during prohibition...violent crime and murder rates increased dramatically in the Chicago and NY areas. I thought that violent crime and robbery rates were currently very high in the Midwest and Ohio Valley regions, due to the increase in methamphetamine production, distribution, and usage.

I would also expect to see higher violent crime and murder rates in areas that had lax liquor control laws and access to liquor stores. Some states are dry states, others are wet...each has differences in how liquor is sold, when (time of day open-close), and age.

Some states declare that the use of a gun to carry-out a crime (even if it's not loaded or used) constitutes a violent crime...other states the statistical interpretation would be different when comparing states for uniform laws.

The influence of population migration is a huge influence in today's demographics. Whites are no longer a majority and Latinos are increasingly the majority, along with other ethnic populations that have very different values. A gun may have been preferred for hunting purposes by one race or culture, but now being utilized for self-defense or criminal purposes, depending on the crime rate of the individual's area.

Here's a similar link that comes close to duplicating some of the maps provided in Woodard's article, but assigning and assessing different variables:

It could be argued that the variables, while different, represent the same qualities. Such is variable selection.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for those erudite points.

I almost added a paragraph to the post along the lines that other countries have been settled by diverse cultures in the past, but haven't necessarily retained their attitude to violence.

I was thinking mainly of England, naturally. Crikey - we had lots of 'em: Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Picts, Scots, Romans, Vikings, to name a few. Each left marks of their culture, each probably left a few settlers in specific, fairly well-defined areas of the country, but I don't think their attitudes to violence have survived. The country is tiny compared to the USA though, and the invasions and settlements were much farther back into the mists of time. So if Woodward is right, and if the USA survives as is, attitudes should level out somewhat in time.

I agree that the article offers just one view of something that is capable of many interpretations.

The author did say, too, of the "11 nations" :
I should underscore that my observations refer to the dominant culture, not the individual inhabitants, of each region. In every town, city, and state you’ll likely find a full range of political opinions and social preferences.

It isn’t that residents of one or another nation all think the same, but rather that they are all embedded within a cultural framework of deep-seated preferences and attitudes—each of which a person may like or hate, but has to deal with nonetheless.

mike (again) said...

Rural and urban demographics within one region can be the same or vary considerably. That's often observed in politics.

Here's something indicative of a changing demographic that will warm your heart, Twilight! We can only hope for more.

"Socialist Kshama Sawant Elected To Seattle City Council"

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Yay!!! I saw that, and it reminded me of something I read a while ago, that Oklahoma, once upon a time, had socialist leanings. Here's a relevant link.

Hope springs!

mike (again) said...

Interesting link, least you live in a state that WAS progressive!

Your link piqued my interest and I went to Wiki:

"Socialism today

An April 2009 Rasmussen Reports poll, conducted during the Financial crisis of 2007–2010 (which many believe resulted due to lack of regulation in the financial markets) suggested that there had been a growth of support for socialism in the United States. The poll results stated that 53% of American adults thought capitalism was better than socialism, and that "Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided". In a 2011 Pew poll, young Americans between the ages of 18-29 favored socialism to capitalism by 49% to 43%; but Americans overall had a negative view of socialism, with 60% opposing. Bernie Sanders, current U.S. Senator from Vermont, has described himself as a democratic socialist. Sanders served as the at-large representative for the state of Vermont before being elected to the senate in 2006. In a 2013 interview with Politico, radio host Thom Hartmann, whose nationally syndicated radio show draws 2.75 million listeners a week, described himself as a Democratic socialist.

In November 2013, Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant was elected to Position 2 of the Seattle City Council. Sawant will be the first Marxist on the council in recent memory."

An interesting article on Eugene Debs, too...a fellow Scorpion:

I'll have to find the book, "Looking Backward":

"Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is a utopian science fiction novel by Edward Bellamy, a lawyer and writer from Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts; it was first published in 1887. According to Erich Fromm, Looking Backward is "one of the most remarkable books
ever published in America"."

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oh yes, Eugene Debs - I have a post about him, discovered him some time back.....wait a mo...

A lovely guy - just what we need today!

That book, "Looking Backward", sounds VERY interesting - I shall go looking for it online and report back. If it's not one of those rare and expensive tomes I'll get it, read it and pass it on.

By the way did you discover whether your library carries The Luminaries (recent novel based on astrology)you mentioned a few weeks ago?

mike (again) said...

No, I haven't made it to the library yet to determine if "The Luminaries" is available. I doubt that it is...its first American issue date was October 15th and many online book sellers have it back-ordered. It usually takes a couple of months for a public library to order-receive. I know this, because I purchased the book for my sister's birthday, a week ago. I'll see how she likes it, but I'll eventually read it for my own determination, whether she likes it or not. The more I read the reviews, the more interest I have.

I doubt that you saw episode 7 of "The Paradise" last Sunday, since you were having fun in was excellent, of course. Katherine is such a stinker (I think her character is a Capricorn Sun with a Leo rising, Scorpio Moon!). Tonight is episode 8, the end of season 1, and is supposed to be very exciting...the cliff-hanger to conclude season 1. I assume season 2 will start next Sunday, the 23rd, and there won't be any break between the two. I saw that "Downton Abbey" starts again in mid January, so Masterpiece Theater will have to continue on with "The Paradise" to squeeze everything in with the holidays, too (I hope!).

Twilight said...

mike ~ I was sorry to miss "The Paradise" last Sunday, I've read the brief synopsis at Wiki. Hope I can pick up the strings tonight.
I hope they don't make us wait a year for season 2, and that it will continue, if not next week, then fairly soon.

Interesting astro-diagnosis for Katherine :-)
How about Denise?
Of course I want her to be Aquarius Sun (she's an ideas gal), don't know about Moon and rising....maybe a bit of Scorpio somewhere.

I looked around to see how prices of "Luminaries" used versions are going - still a bit high - sometimes higher than new at Amazon (how silly!) I'll give it a while longer.

I've ordered a cheapo trade paperback (I think) edition of
"Looking Backward" from Alibris.
They usually take a while in shipping from there but they have a cheaper selection than Amazon as a rule. I'll let you know how it goes and if you'd like I'll pass it on later.

I'm a picky reader, I haven't had much luck with anything lately - so it'll be back to finish the 2nd half of "Les Miserables" if all else fails.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ I've just seen this:

Bernie Sanders May Run for President in 2016
Americans are ready for a populist message like his, senator says

Things could be looking up last!!

R J Adams said...

I'm happy to note our state is only bad at unemployment (or, perhaps that should be 'good at unemployment'). Either way, we do not hold ourselves responsible for the lack of work. Neither do we associate with those awful 'downstaters' on the Michigan mainland.

mike (again) said...

I'm not sure about the schedule for "The Paradise"...PBS may make us wait for season 2.

I'm changing Katherine slightly...Leo Sun, Capricorn rising, Scorpio Moon. Puts the Sun in 8th house, which gives her a double dose of the negative side of Scorpio. She's a nasty girl

Going with your line of Aquarius thinking for Denise...she's Aquarius Sun, Virgo rising, Taurus Moon.

John Moray is Taurus Sun, Leo rising, Pisces Moon

Re: Bernie Sanders
2016 is so close, yet so far away! Lots can happen from here to there. With the astrology of the next couple of years, I wouldn't expect a smooth ride...lots of bumps and slick spots ahead, and maybe a few head-on collisions. I'm sure the politicking will exasperate me one way or another. I'm a pessimist at heart.

mike (again) said...

BTW I looked at transits for November 8, 2016, election day USA. It's a bowl pattern, Neptune on the S Node (opposing N Node)...transiting planets opposing, square, to USA's natal planets (depends on natal chart date).

It looks one-sided to me...dull...wrong person elected for president (Neptune on S Node).

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ LOL - I can imagine your nose going up in disdain (like Kenneth Williams' nose) as you said that! ;-)

Twilight said...

mike ~ Katherine certainly was very nasty last night. She's a spoilt child in the worst way. Leo Sun does seem a better fit than Capricorn, yes. Your diagnosis of Denise is a good fit, I think, and of Moray - I thought Pisces should be in the mix somewhere for him, and maybe Capricorn too for his business sense?

Yes, it's a bit daft considering 2016 at this point, but still tempting to speculate.

I was happy to see that Bernie Sanders would be willing to speak out regarding 2016, and to get conversations going. Sadly, on common Dreams some bright sparks are already complaining about his stands on one thing or another (military and Palestine last time I looked). Dang! The left will have to stick togeather and stop this negativity about anyone who tries to help. We have to take any support available and be thankful!

Russell Brand, Alan Grayson, Bernie Sanders - go guys - keep the conversations lively!!!

That's not a good sign for Nov. 2016. Wrong person? Oh dear!
:-( Wrong for whom though?

mike (again) said...

Re: Moray...Taurus Sun would be in his 10th (Capricorn's natural house) with a Leo rising.

The episode you missed had Katherine in full glory creepiness...controlling everything possible.

Re: 11-8-2016 Depends on the USA natal chart used, but most all would have some planetary aspects of the possibly negative or tense type. The day starts with Moon in Aquarius in the last degrees, then transitions mid-day into Pisces with the S Node and Neptune conjunction present (Moon won't conjunct til after polls close). All transiting planets are on one side, Libra through Aries.

The transits seem there would be a predetermined winner...not much of a contest. With Neptune on the S Node, there would be something about the past, probably surrounded by delusional, foggy thinking...perhaps a big smear campaign just prior to the election that would make the majority of the votes toward one candidate. The transits are against the natal USA chart(s), so the victor would probably not be in our nation's best interests and induce problems in the long run. The Sibly OR Armistead charts interact (negatively?) very strongly with 11-8-2016 transits.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Hmmm - I see. A particularly nasty smear campaign late in the day sounds to be a good guess as to why things could appear so one-sided. It'd have to be something really bad to sway almost half the voting population though.

Well....I suppose Republicans with some astro knowledge might look at this as being a win for them, and Democrats would predict it'd point to a win for them.

Either way, it might indicate a tipping point, eventually leading to more and more rebellion, peaceful or otherwise.