I’ve always considered the Deep South, which includes Alabama and Mississippi, to be a part of the country way out of step with the real world, including the rest of the country. Without the South, the United States would basically be a liberal, religiously tolerant, progressive country, similar in a lot of respects to Canada. Both Alabama and Mississippi are relatively poor with educational systems that rank at or near the bottom of the US. Other than college football champion, it’s hard to see that their educational system has done much positive.
According to a recent poll from Public Policy Polling, these states are so far outside of rational thinking that about 88% of Mississippi and 86% of Alabama voters think that President Barack Obama is either a Muslim or they’re not sure if he is. It’s beyond belief that less less than 15% of these states understand that there is no evidence whatsoever that Obama is a practicing Muslim. (Since I don’t care about anyone’s religion, I actually don’t care what he is–there’s probably more evidence that he’s an atheist than a Muslim.)
That poll also found that only 26% of Alabama voters accept evolution, while only 22% of Mississippi voters do. Given these results apparently 12% of Alabamans and 10% of Mississippians seem to think that evolution is a fact, but Obama’s religious beliefs are unclear. Of course, I know atheists who think that sasquatch exists and that aliens abduct people.
The polling of these states have some other appalling results. Only 54% of Mississippians think that interracial marriage should be legal. Seriously? In the 21st century?
However, there is hope. Southern states like North Carolina and Virginia have slow become more progressive, partially as a result of a top level educational system and partly as a result of immigration into those states from other parts of the country. Georgia and Florida are examples of southern states that are slowly becoming more moderate (Florida, North Carolina and Virginia all voted for Obama in 2008).
Let’s work for the day that Alabama and Mississippi enter the 20th century (I’m patient, we can wait for them to make into the 21st later).