A Disenfranchised Liberal
March 17, 2010 Leave a comment
I’m but one person. However, I’m part of a group, several groups, in fact: Liberals, feminists, democrats. When people of similar beliefs unite to accomplish something, it’s a beautiful thing. But it’s hard to feel like I’m truly a member of a group when the leaders, and a large part of the membership of these organizations ignore your existence.
Last night I attended a meeting of my university’s chapter of FAN—the Feminist Action Network, for the first time. My feminism has largely been focused in the virtual world, and in on the ground, person-to-person relations. It was a small group, and locally focused. It’s one with few resources, the most valuable and numerous one being its members. Why? Feminist organizations aren’t interested in Kentucky.
Kentucky is a conservative state, located in the South. I’ve always known that those two facts were why these organizations I claim to be a part of, aren’t interested in me. It is the same for other states that fit one of those criteria, or both of them, as the case may be. My state, along with the others, is mentioned only when the organizations lists just how Bad Things Are. Or when something Bad is about to happen, legislatively or otherwise, then these organizations swoop in, with the majority members, to attempt to save the day. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don’t. Regardless, after the media frenzy is over, the organizations, along with their out-of-state members retreat, and my state is ignored until the next big crisis.
It’s easy to sympathize with conservatives when they ramble about the “liberal elitists” as I ponder this issue. In a way, they have a point. I’m not going to name names, or point fingers, but when liberal (I’m using this as a general term here) organizations focus their efforts largely in majority liberal states, it bothers me. It’s troubling.
It’s easier to get things done in those states. Red-state liberals can easily see that. It is in part because of the majority of the population has registered Democrat. However, it is also because there is a large and established organized effort to push liberal ideals. There is also a large and established support system for the effort. There is no such thing here in Kentucky. Oh, we organize. We push. We donate to causes and politicians. But the large, national organizations that work to pull everyone under a single banner, and the out-of-state support system that exists in blue states does not exist here. So we, I, are left to do our work individually, or in small groups. We do the same work as our blue-state brethren. But we are not as successful.
Cause and effect is not easy to determine here. Do we not succeed because the state is conservative, so the national effort does not waste their resources? Or, do we not succeed because the national effort ignores us, leaving the state to become more conservative?
Every liberal, in every state, is working toward the same cause. Ignoring some in favor of the other hurts more than it helps. The states are becoming more and more polarized—ignoring the conservative states, save in the direst crisis, will only make it harder to push for the change the country needs, when the national effort finally gets around to the red states.