The South Has Risen Again

by dave on April 9, 2012

This year is the 147th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, yet it is starting to feel like the results of that long ago contest are suddenly in doubt.

Yes, a replay that takes even longer than an NBA ref’s review.

ESPN, the major TV networks and New Yorkers may still think the world orbits around the Big Apple, but they are wrong.

It’s now the south’s world and we are all just sittin’ on their porch sipping mint juleps.

The revolution has been slow in coming over the last several years, but when a man with the most southern of names is crowned champion of the most southern of events, it is official. The south isn’t some backwoods where everyone is living in the past. The south is now the trendsetters we all follow.

Obviously this has been the case for several years in college football, where the SEC not only out-plays the rest of the country on an annual basis (6 straight titles) but also out-crazies and out-scandals the rest of the country combined. After years where interlopers like Nebraska, California or Ohio made claim to greatness, there is no longer a question as to where the best football is played. Now the debate is to where the 2nd best might be.

In the NFL, you can argue that the south with teams like Carolina and Tennessee is an afterthought, but think about where the majority of NFL players come from. Also ask yourself, where the current Super Bowl MVP (New Orleans/Ole Miss), biggest off-season free agent (New Orleans/Tennessee) and the NFL’s latest made-up scandal to stay in the headlines (New Orleans) are from?

And never forget, the south’s original gun-slinger Brett Favre. He may be temporarily out of the spotlight, but he shall rise again. HE SHALL RISE AGAIN WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.

In basketball, Kentucky has finally returned to its place of glory and with it, a state largely forgotten for the entire year outside of the first Saturday in May has re-claimed its misplaced feelings of superiority. Just because they hired an Italian from Pennsylvania and players from across the country that will spend less time in Kentucky than someone on a layover at the Cincinnati airport, makes no difference.

In baseball, the college game is ruled by the south (and frankly, it’s the only place that cares) and in the majors, where Boston and New York once ruled, Texas, Missouri and Florida now seem to possess the best teams – all locations generously lumped in to the south (especially since they all now include at least 1 SEC school).

And now, a sport invented by the Scots, whose biggest championship was usurped by Georgia years ago, has a champion named Bubba. Who also owns the General Lee.

But the south’s influence isn’t solely limited to sports.

Issues that would seem to be settled years ago by much of the country, are suddenly back up for debate.

The killing of a boy of a different race solely because he looked ‘suspicious’ is apparently no longer a crime, harkening back to a time when entire towns could band together and kill outsiders expecting little more than a slap on the wrist and that was only if any law was brought in beyond the ‘judgment of their peers’.

A woman’s decision to use birth control, a long held personal liberty is suddenly something for debate and discussion. A vague religious ideal holds the same weight as a person’s desires for their own bodies.

It may be slightly unfair to paint the South as the purveyors of these less-than progressive attitudes – there are forward-thinking and backward looking people everywhere. But as voting trends continuously show, the south is still dominated by people that view 1951 as the epitome of civilization.

Californians still dominate television and movies but they even recognize the pull of the south (see: The Help).

New Yorkers and New Englanders still dominate the media and tend to see nothing of importance ever occurring south of the Potomac river.

Increasingly though, especially in sports but not solely in sports, it is the south that is dictating what happens in the rest of the country.

Is it good, is it bad? That is up to your personal point of view. I am never in favor of taking a step backward toward the intolerance of others or the dictating to others what they do with their own bodies.

However, if it means more southern barbeque and sweet tea for the rest of us, then I say, welcome y’all.

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