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Don P


Member

Posted Sun Feb 28th, 2010 4:00pm Post subject: State loyalty

On CBC Radio 28 Feb. 2010 Stephen remembered how surprised he was to find so many Americans identified themselves first as Texans or State-of-Mainers, and suggested this might be something new (cf. his casual forecast of future wars between states for water rights.) The phenomenon of local loyalties is not new and has been central to American culture and politics since before 1776 (cf. for example the rival religious loyalties in Massachusetts (dissenting Congregationalists) and Maryland (Catholics) as early as the 17th century.) Canada is generally similar despite strong political urging in recent years that people define themselves as "unhyphenated Canadians" rather than Nova Scotians, Quebeckers etc. When I was negotiating immigration in 1959 I was very surprised to get a letter from my Uncle Ted welcoming me as a "future Ontarian." Only after arrival did I come to appreciate how much stronger local loyalties were than national ones; and when I learned American history as well I could see the general pattern. This is in no way a criticism of Stephen's book or TV series. We can differentiate between his opinion that state loyalty is newish and his surprise at discovering it, just the same as mine 50 years ago.


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judasishmael


Member

Posted Wed May 12th, 2010 2:51pm Post subject: State loyalty

I'd have to agree. As a not-born-but-bred Delawarean, I don't particularly like the state, but was still dismayed that Mr. Fry could only fill one and a half perfunctory pages with DE info. While my soul is in NOLA and I appreciate that he practically wrote a novella about it, DE, small and boring though it may appear, has its own quirks. For instance, the Governor's mansion is said to be haunted by several spirits, one of whom likes to drink unwatched liquor.
Also, and this is not a fact I include with any pride, riots and civil unrest in the city of Wilmington, DE followed the 1968 assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and in response, on 9 April 1968, Governor Charles L. Terry, Jr. deployed the National Guard to the city at the request of Mayor John Babiarz. One week later, Mayor Babiarz requested the National Guard troops be withdrawn, but Governor Terry refused, and kept them in the city until his term ended in January, 1969. This is reportedly the longest occupation of an American city by state forces in the nation's history. This is something they covered on the History Channel.
DE has the only nominally circular state boundary in the United States.
Also, although attempts to abolish slavery failed by narrow margins in the legislature, in practical terms, the state had mostly ended the practice. By the 1860 census on the verge of the Civil War, 91.7 percent of the black population, or nearly 20,000 people, were free. At the onset of the Civil War, Delaware was only nominally a slave state, and it remained in the Union. Delaware voted against secession on January 3, 1861. As the governor said, Delaware had been the first state to embrace the Union by ratifying the Constitution and would be the last to leave it.
DE is also home to Dover Air Force Base. In addition to its other responsibilities in the USAF Air Mobility Command, this air base serves as the entry point and mortuary for American military personnel, and some U.S. government civilians, who die overseas. On the morning of 9/11, I drove past the entrance to the base and got goosebumps when I saw the ensuing traffic jam of off-duty personnel trying to get on base to see what they could do to help.
Delaware was the origin of Belton v. Gebhart, one of the four cases which were combined into Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court of the United States decision that led to the end of segregated public schools. Significantly, Belton was the only case in which the state court found for the plaintiffs, thereby ruling that segregation was unconstitutional.
While DE was very boring to grow up in and is still rather boring to drive through, it has a rich history and has proven itself, time and again, to be nationally integral.

The "flaws" that move us to hurt move us also to share our pain with others, thereby making others feel less alone and, thereby, becoming a vital link in a chain reaction of, subtle though it may seem, healing.

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gjhsu


Moderator

Posted Mon May 24th, 2010 10:40pm Post subject: State loyalty

Certainly, all United States'ers could find fault in Stephen's writing of the book (I mean really... Houston?! :p ), but let's be honest - this was his account of his short stay in the country. You cannot really expect a perfectly even spread of attention throughout all of the states. Wished and hoped for, sure, but expected... I don't honestly think so.

Try as it might, SFiA is still a subjective account of what he saw and experienced, and as such, it is mostly what piqued his interest. I know that I couldn't possibly give the same detail and attention to... I don't know, the Isle of Wight as I could to London, or even Gloucestershire, if I were to travel throughout the UK. That's not an affront to the Isle of Wight, it's just that the other two would pique my interest more.

"It's not that I hate rap music... I just don't like it quite as much" as the podcast said.

So what I'm trying to say is, your observations are valid, but I wouldn't be offended by the book or what Stephen had to say.


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judasishmael


Member

Posted Sun Jun 13th, 2010 11:16am Post subject: State loyalty

I completely agree and I was never offended as an objective reader...or really offended at all subjectively. (Well, ok, a little offended...Lewis, really?...He chose Lewis to talk to people?) I think I was just sad that I had spent years as a walmart cashier daydreaming that he would come through DE and, just maybe, my line. Instead of asking him how he was, like I would any other customer, I would ask him what do they say of the acropolis where the Parthenon is...and then I would swoon. Lewis is nowhere near what DE is as a whole and I know he doesn't know that, but summing up DE in Lewis is like summing up Louisiana in Bucktown.
Again, I just wish, well, the person I want to hang out with the most knows that the state in which I hated growing up is still better than the “slower lower” town of Lewis.

The "flaws" that move us to hurt move us also to share our pain with others, thereby making others feel less alone and, thereby, becoming a vital link in a chain reaction of, subtle though it may seem, healing.

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judasishmael


Member

Posted Sun Jun 13th, 2010 11:22am Post subject: State loyalty

Also, if he writes a Sequel, Smyrna is not where he wants to stop. I suggest Dover, Camden, or Felton. All three have palpable history without being completely void of personality.

The "flaws" that move us to hurt move us also to share our pain with others, thereby making others feel less alone and, thereby, becoming a vital link in a chain reaction of, subtle though it may seem, healing.

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