tnscenery

There are many days that I gaze at the beautiful scenery that surrounds me and think, “This is the only legitimate reason to live in Tennessee.”

Of course, that’s not true. But after having lived 10 years of my life in the beautiful, freezing, Liberal bubble of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, it’s often overwhelming and discouraging that the loudest voices here in Tennessee are almost always conservative, religious zealots.

However, there are also many moments that I am struck by quite a bit of hope for the mostly close-minded south… such as yesterday, when I watched The Young Turks and saw their story on Hannah Robison – AKA Miss Tennessee 2015.

A majority of the people that I have spoken with about the recent push to defund Planned Parenthood are all for it, no matter the facts and statistics set in front of them. When I say something along the lines of, “What about women’s health and basic rights?” too many people respond with “but what about the unborn children being murdered?” I have even been called an accomplice to murder for stating that I am pro-choice.

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A majority of southerners in the USA are conservative in their political and religious beliefs (yes, I know people from other states are, too) and while they are of course free to believe what they want, they are not even willing to listen to other points of view. They go in circles when trying to prove their opinion is correct, stating the same things about their interpretation of the Bible, or “facts” that they heard on Fox News.

Everyone talks about “southern hospitality” – but of course, it seems most every region has their claim to being welcoming. I used to gripe about people using the phrase “Minnesota Nice” because in my experience, northerners aren’t as openly friendly. But I have realized that while southerners are kind when you look at them on a surface level, it isn’t always genuine. When someone up north is nice, it’s because they genuinely care and want to help. In the south, they are being friendly and kind because they feel pressured to by their church, or just the fact that they live in a place known for hospitality.

“Minnesota Nice” is most often used by Minnesotans facetiously, anyway. 😉

I may be surrounded by hypocrisy, and hatred that is supposedly supported by God’s love… but then I hear about Miss Tennessee giving her surprisingly awesome pageant answer, or Democrat Megan Barry being elected as Nashville’s first female mayor, or a hotel canceling reservations by white supremacists planning a rally, or even just hearing a young child tell their grandparent that using the “n-word is never okay because it hurts feelings”… and I feel quite a bit of hope, not only for the future of the south, but for the future of our country.

Things are moving in the right direction, because young people, especially Millenials, are open-minded and seeing the need for changes in our country, and they are influencing some of the older generations who aren’t as stuck in their beliefs. It may still be a long, winding road until I stop feeling surprised when meeting a native southerner who is open-minded and inclusive… but we’re getting there.

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Brief moments of hope brought about by the small, yet growing numbers of open-minded people make the Tennessee scenery seem much more beautiful.

Today’s post is brought to you by my Alliteration Agenda for What’s Up Wednesday.