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Welcome to Red State/Blue State, a feature presented by The Anniston Star of Anniston, Ala., and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

In the December 2001 edition of the Atlantic, David Brooks wrote an essay titled "One Nation, Slightly Divisible," in which he suggested that America is divided largely into two political cultures, one "red" and one "blue." His idea is based on those electoral maps in 2000 that colored majority-Republican states in red and majority-Democratic states in blue. Brooks' witty essay pictures the red-state voter as trending rural, a salt-of-the-earth type, concerned with individual liberty and family values, whereas the "blue" voter trends urban, more of a book-reader, a Beltway-savvy intellectual, the environmentally conscious soccer mom or dad.

Cliches? Maybe. But Brooks does have his finger on two very strong currents in the American votership. It's not that Pennsylvania is a "blue state" or Alabama is a "red state." It's that our two political cultures don't talk to each other much, or even know much about each other. To bridge that gap, we've brought together two "red" voters - John Franklin and Cynthia Sneed - and two "blue" voters, Terri Falbo and Timothy Horner. Each week, they'll ponder and debate the issues arising in the election campaign. The hope is that they'll model an intelligent discussion, a great big conference room where red and blue sit down together.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Joe Franklin, Red Stater 

Last Question: What are your feelings, hopes and fears after this election?

I feel that politics has never been taken as seriously in the South as in the Blue States.

I've learned that many in the Blue States take their politics as seriously as cancer. In the South, we have not had it so bad in the last four years - but we have never had it as good as those in the Blue States. Maybe that is why they think it is so bad now.

I feel that this country is not divided. People are just different. We are United.

My hopes for this county are:

* That the media will report the news, not manufacture it.

* That Hollywood celebrities will return to being entertainers and not partisan rabble-rousers.

* That Michael Moore will undergo gastric bypass surgery and a makeover. I hope he will be unrecognizable and unheard in 2008.

* That political parties and pollsters will be required to honor the National Do Not Call Registry. I hung up the phone three times during this campaign, once during one of the debates.

* That both parties will abandon nonpolitical issues such as gay marriage and religion. Religion is not a political issue. It should be as personal as a toothbrush.

* That people become more tolerant of one anothers' opinions, regardless of how different they might be from your own opinion. Opinions are like birthdays and certain body parts: everybody has one!

* That all Americans take a good look at their personal economy. The issue of economy should first be addressed at the family level. Millions attend sports events regularly with tickets costing in excess of $50.00 each. They travel hundreds of miles to these events in gas-guzzling SUVs and RVs, lodge in five-star hotels, eat at choice restaurants, and drink expensive liquor. These folks don't earn $200,000.00 per year. Their credit cards are maxed out. Yet they whine and bellyache about health care, Social Security, wages, and employment.

* That our European neighbors will have a divine recollection of the United States saving their butts in World War II and remember the American blood that was shed for them.

* That people would ponder the meaning of the words liberal and conservative. Consult a dictionary. Both of these words have several good attributes. A meshing of the two is what we have had for decades. We will survive.

Fear breeds pessimism! Optimism breeds hope!

Now how do I say goodbye to my editors, cohorts and readers? I've been outclassed by the intellectuals. At times I have felt like a fly in a pan of milk! Thank you all for tolerating me.


   •  08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004
   •  08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004
   •  08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004
   •  08/22/2004 - 08/29/2004
   •  08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004
   •  09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004
   •  09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004
   •  09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004
   •  09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004
   •  10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004
   •  10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004
   •  10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004
   •  10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004
   •  11/07/2004 - 11/14/2004

Bloggers from
Blue State (Pa.)

Terri Falbo

Born and raised in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Terri Falbo is a union organizer who has lived in Philadelphia for almost 30 years. She graduated from Temple University and previously worked as a construction worker for 17 years.

Tim Horner

Tim Horner grew up in Iowa, but has lived out significant chunks of his adult life in Chicago, IL and Oxford, England. He is married and has four children (14, 12, 10 and 7). Having grown up as an Evangelical in the Midwest and still a practicing Christian, he is concerned with how religion and politics mix. Because of a combination of circumstance and apathy, he has never voted in a presidential election. He currently teaches Humanities at Villanova University.
Bloggers from
Red State (Ala.)

Joe Franklin

Alabama native Joe Franklin, 58, was born in Pike County and grew up on a farm in Crenshaw County. He graduated from Troy State University in 1967. After working for 28 years with the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles as a parole and probation officer, retired to Crenshaw County, which is just south of Montgomery, where he spends his days working on the farm.

Cynthia Sneed

Gadsden resident and local college professor Cynthia Smith Sneed has a doctorate in Accounting from the University of Alabama. Her fields of academic research are in state pension and employee benefit issues. She has been published in numerous academic accounting journals and has done research for the Alabama Policy Institute. She is a member of the American Accounting Association, Governmental Finance Officers Association as well as being active in the Republican Party.

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