The South Hasnít Changed. Or Has It?

There was a straw poll conducted in Alabama during the weekend of August 28, 1999 for the Republican presidential nomination. The results was what you would have expected in the South, because the most conservative candidate won the straw poll. Or was it what you would have expected?

The South as a whole has always been rather conservative, going back to colonial days. It is only natural that the more conservative the candidate, the more likely they are to win anywhere in Dixie. This time, however, the conservative candidates were not the ones you would expect. Alan Keyes, a conservative talk show host, came in first place, Senator Orin Hatch from Utah came in second, and Texas Governor George W. Bush came in third.

While George W. Bush has dominated the national polls and has been the focus of the press when discussing Republican presidential candidates, most Southerners have been concerned with serious conservative issues that are at the foundation of our Constitutional Republic. Some of you who arenít as focused on American politics may be asking who Alan Keyes and Orin Hatch are. Youíve not heard much about them, or have never heard of them at all.

Well consider the facts. Alan Keyes is a devout, outspoken conservative Christian who also happens to be black. Orin Hatch is a right-of-center U.S. Senator who is very conservative on family values mostly because he is a Mormon. Imagine that! A black man and a Mormon leading the pack in a contest to see who the people of Alabama would like to see as the next president of the United States!

Who would have thought that a black man and a Mormon, neither of who are from the South, would beat out the Governor of a Southern state in a straw poll taken in the South. We all know that the liberal media is not going to comment much, if any at all, on these facts. Most comments will be to down play the event. If Keyes had finished in the back of the pack, like he has in Iowa and other Northern states, they would have said it was because the South is racist.

The truth is, Dixie doesnít fit the negative stereotypes that the media tries so hard to maintain. Yes, the South has grown and changed. But in all the ways that are important, it hasnít changed one bit.

Jeff Adams
August 30, 1999