Thursday, April 03, 2008

Children Of The West

I was fascinated by this post by Digby about how America has been dominated for much of its history by two political tribes that have switched allegiance to the parties over time but which, within themselves, have remained remarkably consistent in their ideological leanings. I won't try to summarize it (go read it yourself) but the two tribes she identifies are The North and The South.

What I couldn't help noticing, however, was that there was no mention of another section of the nation that seems to be often left out of these discussions: The West.

I agree with Digby's thesis that much of American history has been dictated by the conflict between North and South. But the last 50 years has seen the rise of The West as a third political tribe in this nation. This tribe is not as influenced by colonial history as are The North and The South because it simply didn't exist at that time. We in The West are not the sons & daughters of revolutionaries but of cowboys, settlers, gold-rushers and merchant seaman (not to mention Mexico and the Far East). How does this third tribe fit into Digby's scheme?

All of this started as a discussion of McCain's apparent attempt to appeal to the military tradition of The South. But McCain is himself a son of The West (as were Reagan and Nixon before him). It appears to me that the presidential candidates who have come out of The West have felt the need to re-brand themselves as being of one of the two older tribes (typically The South). But what if we were to get a western candidate who ran as a son/daughter of The West?.

Now that would be a fun race to watch!


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