My friend Q-T sent this to me ~ sadly, these two maps need no explanation, yet they raise more questions than they answer (scroll down to see both maps):
In case it's hard to read, on the Pre-Civil War Map, the red areas were slave states and the brown areas were territories open to slavery, while the green areas were free states and territories. These distinctions eerily correspond to the red states vs. blue states on the 2004 Election Map ~~ i.e., the blue (Kerry) states correspond to the pre-civil-war free states and territories, while the red (Bush) states correspond to what were the slave states and territories. As one of my co-workers said to me, this might be the most "devastatingly accurate explanation I've seen for what happened on Tuesday." There's a little more discussion about all this, here.
As I post this, I am getting ready to attend the Alameda County Women Judges' Dinner in Oakland, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board decision, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee is scheduled to speak. After seeing this map today, I'm relieved to have this event to attend tonight. Oh how far we have come as a free country, right?
EPILOGUE: It looks like I may be one of the few bloggers who posted these maps ~ my hits have surpassed
1,000 5,000 12,000 per day for the last couple of days. This tells me that the maps are being forwarded all over the blogosphere and people are talking about what they may or may not represent. I wish I had had more time to contribute lengthy commentary when I posted the maps but (1) I was in a rush when I posted them and (2) as I mentioned before, I do believe the maps speak for themselves, although I acknowledge that they also implicate social-political-historical nuances and complex factors that should be addressed, debated, and discussed. I am glad to see, though, that the maps spurred so much discussion ~ check out the comments section, here. I think the comments people have posted offer additional insight, some clarification (like issues with Oregon), and Woody's comment is especially enlightening and educated on the issue of over/under-representation and necessary redistricting. More on this, soon. Keep posting your thoughtful comments!
EPILOGUE 2 (November 13): As the maps make their way around the blogosphere and onto message boards and forums, they are inciting quite a heated discussion. I think this can be helpful since it forces people to address divisive and provocative issues. However, some of the more recent comments (and emails to me) have been vulgar, offensive, or just downright incomprehensible (imagine lots of CAPS, bold, and biblical references). So, First Amendment aside, and because the comments are so voluminous now, and in the interest of presenting an informed exchange of ideas, I have started deleting the strictly offensive rants (you know who you are) and am keeping those comments (even the ranting ones) that add to the debate. You can see for yourself that I have kept comments on that address both sides of the issues.
As another friend just pointed out, the maps act as a sort-of Rorschach Test ~~ you see what you want to see ~ your interpretation of the image is a projection of your personality traits and internal conflicts, not to mention your emotional and intellectual functioning. No, just because I posted the maps does not mean that I really think that the residents of Alabama (State Motto: "We Dare Defend Our Rights") believe in slavery. (!) To me, the images (and subsequent comments) simply point out that we as a country cannot, nor refuse to, face difficult racial issues. I think the mentality which allowed certain parts of the country at a certain time in our history to accept the violent subjugation of an entire human race ... well, it still "colors" perspective (pun intended). I mean, it was a mere 50 years ago that this country rejected the "separate but equal doctrine" set down by our Supreme Court in 1892......yet there is not equality for people of color, not to mention LGBT, non-WASP, or poor people, in this country ~~ the elite continue to pass racist and unconstitutional legislation such as Prop. 187 and Prop. 209 in California, not to mention the recent abhorrent anti-gay amendments across the country or the tax cuts that favor the wealthy and delude the middle-class into thinking they'll reap the benefits.
So, think what you will about the maps ~~ but articulate an intelligent, well-informed opinion (as many of the commenters have done) ~~ don't just get your Confederate Flag in a wad and wave it at me.