Given its multi-national nature, it is unsurprising that a fierce culture war rages in the United States today. When different cultural, ethnic and religious groups are forced together under a single government it is only to be expected that a competition will ensue over cultural and legal dominance. Once again the very distinctive culture and politics of the South is pitted against the Progressive, deracinated culture of most of the rest of the US. Kim Severson writes for the New York Times:
Food has always been a complex issue in the South, where the country’s most distinct culinary region often eats its supper against a backdrop of race and religion.
So for a Southerner like Justin Breen, whether or not to go to Chick-fil-A is not as simple as choosing sides in a national cultural war that has pitted people who support the chain’s biblical position on homosexuality against those who do not.
For Mr. Breen, a young motion graphic designer with many tattoos, a baseball cap and a best friend in the gay pornography business, the chain’s chicken sandwiches and waffle fries transcend all the protests and political symbolism that have played out this week.
“Chick-fil-A is tradition,” he said after his regular stop for a chicken biscuit breakfast on Tuesday.
Tradition, whether in food or social issues, is laced throughout daily life in the South.
Restaurants in small towns often close early on Wednesday nights so Christians can go to choir practice and Bible study. Skirmishes over displaying the Confederate flag are framed as hate versus heritage, and churches are still largely racially segregated simply because that is how communities divide themselves.
And Southerners also tend to be emotional about their food, which is a great defining aspect of the region.
“One of the most controversial stories I wrote was about tomato sandwiches,” Kathleen Purvis, the longtime food editor at The Charlotte Observer, said of the Southern summer staple.
People here are both proud and fiercely protective of homegrown brands whose reach, like that of the 1,600-store Chick-fil-A chain, has stretched past Southern borders. So when outsiders begin to criticize a Southern food institution, the wagons circle.
“We are the only defeated Americans, at least until Vietnam,” Ms. Purvis said. “Southerners have always had a sense that everybody puts us down, so we need to defend what is ours.”
This article and all-too familiar struggle between the very different cultures of the traditional South and most of the rest of the United States bring to mind the following insightful declaration made long ago by South Carolina statesman Robert Barnwell Rhett:
The Constitution of the United States was an experiment. That experiment consisted in uniting under one government different peoples, living in different climates, and having different pursuits of industry and institutions…. The experiment has failed.’
Thanks to Occidental Dissent for the article!