South too racist, independent, decentralized to handle snow

South too racist, independent, decentralized to handle snow

[Ed. – Or maybe just too much of a drama-queen?  Consider what happened here.]

“Proud, brave, honorable by its lights, courteous, personally generous, loyal … such was the South at its best,” wrote W. J. Cash in his classic 1941 work, The Mind of the South. So far, so good—but Cash goes on to describe some less appealing but still quintessentially Southern traits, among them being “suspicion toward new ideas, an incapacity for analysis, an inclination to act from feeling rather than from thought, an exaggerated individualism and a too-narrow sense of social responsibility.” And, of course, “too great an attachment to racial values”—or, so as not to mince words, racism.

What does this have to do with snow? Let us review.

“Exaggerated individualism” is a pretty good description of the Southern approach to politics—especially in Georgia, which has more counties than any state in the country except Texas. “Atlanta” is actually a 10-county metropolitan region which is home to more than 4 million people and 68 separate municipalities. In some places, such an amalgamation might make people think about consolidating services. Not in Atlanta: In Fulton County alone, home to most of the city proper, three suburban municipalities have formed their own governments just since 2005 in an effort to distance themselves from the urban problems of their big-city neighbor, and there’s a growing push among residents of the affluent northern end of the county to form a whole new county, as if Georgia doesn’t already have enough of those. Secession movements have percolated in various metropolitan areas across the country for years, and lately western Maryland and the entire state of Texas, among other places, have made a lot of noise about seceding from greater Maryland and the United States, respectively. But in the Deep South, people don’t just talk about secession; they do it. Southerners love them some local “gummit,” the local-er the better. But when regional disaster hits—whether it’s the years-long drought of a few years back, or this week’s snowstorm—that means umpteen local and state politicians have to work together on a deadline, putting aside their various ambitions and competing constituencies under adverse conditions in order to deal with a common threat.

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