The resurgence of rednecks


Photo credit: David Molina

There was a photo on my Instagram feed the other day of one of my high school classmates holding a can of chew with a Confederate-themed manicure.

Roughly four photos after that, other former peers of mine posted their engagement photos, one of which was of them wrapped in a Confederate flag.

I didn’t go to high school in the deep south.

In fact, I grew up 2,563 miles away from where the Confederacy originated in Columbia, South Carolina in a state that didn’t even exist during the Civil War.

Obviously, Idahoans have a bit of a backwoods reputation for the sheer fact that there are very few people who actually live there, it’s a poorer state and it’s about as red as a fire truck.

However, it’s not just Idahoans that have grasped this idea that the Confederate flag somehow represents this supreme idea of freedom and patriotism.

If you look at any footage from a Donald Trump rally in the past year, there are Confederate flags everywhere. They are swimsuits, they are phone cases and they can even be seen as truck decals.

These people are angry. They will yell slurs, they get physical and they are wildly paranoid.

There is this demographic that has reclaimed the term redneck and combined it with patriotism and then created this convoluted picture in their heads about what America is and should be.

These people have decided that the government has too much control and they want to have more power in their own hands.

They just want their guns in their own hands.

The term redneck was coined to describe the poor, white field workers in the south who would get sunburns from their long hour’s laboring outdoors.

Today we consider anyone who lives a rural lifestyle a “redneck.” This demographic is also perceived to be conservative, religious and deeply racist.

This is where the irony comes in. The group of people who were originally given this cruel nickname was doing the same jobs as the slaves. They were just simply tricked by the upper-class farm owners that because they shared the same skin color, they were superior to their black equals.

The same thing is happening now. Huge companies are now catering to this. Budweiser renamed their beer “America” until the election and Wal-Mart constantly has a stock of America-themed clothing. The wealthy in corporate America are using the lower class to be the representatives of their agenda when they have nothing in common.

When this merchandise is everywhere, it feeds into convincing the demographic that they are right.

What I find most interesting, though is the lack of actual effort on the part of these people who seem to care so much about “making America great again.”

Besides misogynist, racist and disrespectful Facebook memes about those who don’t believe as they do, none of these “patriots” seem are actually advocating ideas for change.

They aren’t encouraging people to vote and they aren’t giving factual counterarguments to anyone who stands up to them. It doesn’t even seem like this demographic even has an actual agenda just as long as a democrat isn’t in that Oval office plotting the theft of their rifles.

Unfortunately, to change the United States into a place where “rednecks” are proud to live, they are going to have to put down the AR15s and the Budweiser.

Whitney Urmann can be reached at [email protected] or @WhitneyUrmann on Twitter.