By virtue of employment, I was trapped in the south (Alabama) for 25 years. I never got over the culture shock. Yes, there’s that “southern politeness”, but it’s a veneer. Beneath it you’ll often find anger, prejudice, hypocrisy. And the civil war still lives in the [defeated] south, where it’s almost universally called “the war of northern aggression” — they deny it was about slavery.
They don’t hate Obama because of his politics. They hate him because he’s black.
The rednecks in pickup trucks held together with bumper stickers (“I have to work to support someone on welfare”) will refuse to equate their revered battle flag with racial prejudice.
In fact, I expect that Republican politicians will wrap themselves in the confederate battle flag to get votes from the southern sect.
A few politicians and elected officials have said the confederate flag must be recognized for what it is — a symbol of racism. But they are the few. The vast majority of southerners will, in my opinion, exhibit the same attitude toward the confederate flag that they have about guns: “When they pry it from my cold dead hands”.
Watch for the confederate flag to become a significant political issue in the south.
And don’t expect bible-belt southerners to benignly accept gay marriage, either. I fully expect they will attempt to adopt the same strategy they’ve used to shut down abortion clinics: continuously nibble around the edges and impose restrictions.
Mother Jones provides some history regarding the confederate flag, those who tore it down or opposed it, and those who revere it (mostly arrogant southerners, white supremacists and klansmen).