Two days ago, Nashvillian Margaret Renkl wrote a New York Times column titled “Dear Liberals: Come On Down!” She writes, "Changing what happens in red states is the surest way to change what happens in Congress, but railing on social media from your blue state won’t change a thing down here."
Margaret, we tried this in 2008. And it culminated in a Proper Bagel and some hipster coffee shops. All in all, a net win, but today's market is flush.
Later, she theorizes that "the South's shooting themselves in the foot as they merrily slash rights, ignore the unignorable realities of a heating planet, and attempt to create a Christian theocracy." The smart kids, she posits, who grow up under this regime will leave much like Black people left the South during Jim Crow.
She continues: "During the Jim Crow era, Black people left the American South in such numbers that we now refer to their exodus as the Great Migration. Six million Americans fled to escape virulent racist violence and economic suppression." She adds that the South has "perfected the art of voter suppression" and supports that dastardly thing known as "school choice." Curiously absent from her appeal is any mention of abortion except vaguely in reference to the "loss of rights."
I guess she hasn't looked at the most recent census numbers because the present Great Migration is away from liberal states like California, New York, and Illinois and into red states like Tennessee, Texas, and Florida.
Even though she doesn't mention it, the core issue for Renkl still appears to be abortion. That, after all, is the only thing one could compare to a Jim Crow-era loss of rights in a manner still consistent with the liberal worldview. Kamala Harris, for example, recently compared the overturn of Roe to slavery.
In the interest of keeping her metaphors consistent, shouldn't Renkl suggest her readers leave Tennessee and not move into the maw of the beast? Those suffering under the aegis of Tennessee's repressive laws are supposed to be the Black people in this story, right? Or, wait, is she talking about Black people? Or, is this a 4-D chess move to seed the state with liberals and 'turn the tide' before it's too late? It's genuinely hard to tell.
What's generally true is that the majority of the performative opposition to abortion-at-will comes from wealthy, white, liberal women who probably won't get or don't need abortions because they are too old, married, or morally against it themselves despite their protestations.
What's funny is that people are doing as Renkl suggested despite—or because of—all the supposedly negative qualities of the South she lists. If Tennessee's laws are laying the groundwork for the new Jim Crow, why is everyone moving here?
Contradictions aside, the trade-off for her readers is admittedly a good one. Move to a red state where taxes are lower, the government is generally less corrupt, and things are more affordable while you rekindle the nostalgia of your "fight the patriarchy" past.
Then, maybe your children can martyr themselves for the cause, suffering righteously and piously in a state that won't allow abortions and requires you to show your ID when you vote. Your children can then pick up the torch the Black people dropped in the 60s on their way out of the South and follow in their footsteps by moving North to join them in a seance against the South which will turn a deeper shade of red in their absence and the process will repeat itself.
A new Margaret Renkl will emerge calling for sophisticated, urban liberals to “save the South from itself, again” and these readers will martyr themselves by adopting posh living conditions in enemy territory while they champion the rights of a woman to marry her dog or a 5-year-old to remove his genitals without asking his parents. Their children will leave after suffering under the aegis of a state where women can’t marry their dog, and they’ll pick up the torch of the previous generation and move North.
On and on and on.
The Revolution must continue.