The latest interpretation of the election results is to point out the hypocrisy of the red staters, who may or may not have voted based on moral issues. These charges are unfair.
Frank Rich condemns the pandering of Fox TV, the media representative of conservative values. He points to two shows on the Fox network that seem to celebrate excess. “Married by America” is gone now, but Fox remains the go-to network for Paris Hilton (“The Simple Life”) and wife-swapping (“Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy”).
Well, Frank that’s not quite fair. “The Simple Life” is really about laughing at dumb, trampy, rich folks, like Paris. And “Trading Spouses” has about as much as sexual tension as an L.L. Bean catalog. This show is also about hating rich folks. One wife comes from a rich home, the other from a cow farm. Rich lady goes to the cow farm and refused to help out with the chores and expects breakfast in bed. Poor lady teaches the rich family about good values and respect. “Trading Spouses” should really be called “Why Rich Folks are Bad,” which is cool with me.
Another article in yesterday’s Week in Review highlights the higher divorce rate within the red states than the blue. Buried at the end of the article, it mentions the factor of socio-economic status. Poorer, less educated couples are more likely to divorce. Poverty, rather than religious hypocrisy, is the real culprit.
If there is truly a difference in thought and in political culture between the center and coasts of the country, these differences aren’t based on morality or IQ scores. It’s based on money.
The housing prices in the NYC area are more than double what my in laws experience in the suburbs outside of Cleveland. My husband makes quite a bit more than his dad. The difference in standard of living make migration across the country impossible and insulates one part of America from the other. Money shapes one’s perspectives and opportunities. The lack of it not only leads to higher divorce rates, but resentment against those who have it.
Without a major change in regional economic disparities, elections will continue to fall along the red/blue divide.
UPDATE: From a 2003 report from the census bureau: