T Nation

The South Must Rise Again


Mixes politics and obesity...perfect

Southern states must rise again

It's time to secede from the GOP

Now this ought to make the South rise again.

Mississippi has the nation's highest poverty rate and its fattest people. Nearly a third of the residents of the state that calls itself the "Heart of Dixie" are obese, according to a recent study released by Trust for America's Health, an organization that tracks this nation's expanding waistline.

As that depressing news was making headlines, the Census Bureau issued its annual report on family income, and Mississippi got another dose of bad news. The state ranks last in median household income and first among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in poverty.

But Mississippi is not alone.

When it comes to poverty and obesity, the South leads the nation ? a distinction that highlights the nexus between low income and bad diets. Obesity and poverty go together like grits and gravy. Poor people have higher rates of obesity because they tend to consume a disproportionately large amount of fatty food.

Poverty breeds obesity and obesity increases a person's chances of getting diabetes and hypertension, which give rise to other life-threatening ailments.

Alabama has the nation's second-highest obesity rate and its eighth-highest poverty rate. West Virginia is the third-fattest state in the union and the fifth-poorest. Louisiana ranks fourth in obesity and second in poverty. Kentucky is fifth in the number of obese people and has the ninth-highest level of poverty.

Tennessee, Arkansas, Indiana, South Carolina and Texas fill out the list of the nation's 10 fattest states. The other top 10 poverty jurisdictions are Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and the District of Columbia.

Ironically, Southern red states twice voted to send George W. Bush to the White House. On Bush's watch, a record budget surplus has become a record deficit ? the largest in this nation's history.

The tax cuts that Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress enacted have done more for this nation's rich than for the poor and middle class in the South or anywhere else. So not surprisingly, the Census Bureau also reported that earnings fell in 2005 for people working full-time jobs. Median income dropped 1.8 percent for men and 1.3 percent for women.

That kind of news can ruin a Labor Day cookout.

And it ought to make the South rise again when voters there go to the polls in November's midterm election. Southern voters, once a core constituency of the Democratic Party, have been a reliable Republican voting block for nearly four decades.

But the GOP's economic policies ? policies that have helped fuel the South's problems with poverty and obesity ? should put that allegiance to the test this year.

And there's an opening in the new poverty and obesity reports that Democrats should try mightily to exploit.

A family mired in poverty, working hard at full-time jobs and earning less, ought to be open to ideas that will give them an economic boost. Republican voters in these places ought to be threatening to secede from the GOP in the upcoming election.


Excuse an ignorant foreigner, but why is the south so broke? I always imagined Texas in particular to be among the wealthiest states.


You of course are fuhgettin that respectable suthen men like mahself Do NOT considuh Mississippi as a real state, suh.


The midwest area of u.s. where i live has had people from the south coming up for years for the better paying jobs,unfortunately they have been the people who have undercut the wages too,most of them seem content as long as they have enough money for drinkin and dope thats fine.

I know thats going to piss alot of people off,but these people have ruined some very good companies by getting to many of their lazy friends and relatives in them,then start working for lower wages etc. .about the same thing the illegals are doing nowadays.


OMG...that is crazy.


Parts of it are.


The South got raped by the liberals in our country. They passed laws making it more desireable to loaf than to work, so, being logical, many chose to not work. Now, when conservatives try to repair the damage, they get blamed (which has to be one of the most ironic injustices in American history).

We began with a beast called the Great Society Program. 40 years and 2 trillion dollars later, the poverty rate went from something like 15.7% to 15.6%. Black families were especially devestated by the Great SP. Lyndon Johnson, our beloved president, knew he was screwing over black people and getting their votes (as dependents) at the same time. Here's a quote: "I'll have those ni##ers voting democratic for the next 200 years!!"

The government that governs least governs best!! (TJ)


Hahah, right. Like it's only Southerners that are lazy. Give me a break. Another bigotted post.


Yeah, Miss and La are America's armpits.


We could say the same thing in Houston. People go to Houston from all over seeking work. HA! So you can tell, me more people would move to the Midwest for work in comparison to on of the largest port cities in the world?

If the south is so poor and southerners are so lazy, how come so many people come here for an education? How come Texas has so many flourishing companies within the fortune 500? (more than any other state if I remember correctly) If the south is so poor, how come so many areas were labeled as "best places to live"?

I find your sweeping statement of this area false and offensive.


Have you ever been to Mississippi?


Have you ever visited any of these states that you have spoken so kindly of? I have. I live there. I have seen most of Texas (and by most, I mean everywhere but Brownsville and El Paso) and can assure that your assumptions of this state being "poor and obese" are dead wrong. Have you ever been to Houston, Austin, DFW or San Antonio?

I travel A LOT. I have seen many areas of the US and the world. New Jersey, eh? I have been there and can say it isn't any better off than any of the places in the south. By stating "the south will rise" you place a label on the entire region as being Dixieland or Confederate. If you have spent any time there you will notice it is not at all that way.

This very large region of our country is more diverse than most parts of the world.


Ron33 -

If what you say is true - why are there so many damned Yankees in Texas?

Our shool district just hired a new coach. Mind you were are in BFE, and have a total school enrollment of 206 (k-12).

The sumbitch is from Minnesota. Can't understand a word he says - yah.


So true. The melting pot aspect of the country is very evident in the South.


Does he say "Doncha know" a lot?


HH thinks Southerners are lazy and he blames the Democrats.


Southerns are not lazy. That stereotype is ridiculous!


Now you have a problem with people from the north.


You are a mess.



To steal from George Bernard Shaw, we are 'two peoples seperated by a common language'.


Except for the obvious fact that I am a Texan, and it is a documented fact that we are just a little bit better than everyone - I don't think I exceed that natural level of superiority over anyone.

And yes - coach is fond of the "don't chah know". We watched game film last night, and I was laughing everytime he would interject - much like they would probably do to me if I were ever to coach high school football in Minnesota.


Lazy may be the wrong word, but they have lived for years in abject poverty. It is not news that the south is poor. They have been for years.

The New Deal promised them a chance to get out of that poverty, and it worked for a while.

Now the South is growing out of the Yellow-dog mentality, and trying to gain wealth the old fashioned way - by doing it themselves.

NC, Ga, Fl, TX are all exploding with industry and earning power is going up for the average southerner. They are still poor, but moving in the right direction after deciding to take the gov't tit out of their mouth.