After Semantic Overload told us that College Station was a typical conservative town, Ash was worried and managed to dig up some dirt on the town that now I call home. Of course, it isn’t the liberal heaven that Atlanta was in spite of being located in a crimson red state. Being located in Texas and on the edge of the famed Bible belt, it will definitely have tinges of conservatism. I am also smart enough not to air my liberal opinions out in the open. But reading through the site that ranks cities on the scale of their liberal friendliness that Ash linked, you come across several gems that make you laugh and wee bit nervous. It is mostly comments left by readers who have lived in College Station. I am listing some below:
“In the ’92 election, 80% of students who voted voted Republican. Most of the rest voted for Perot. This must be the only college where you can walk around all day and never see a ponytail or a tie-dyed shirt (unless you’re with me or my few friends). The big shots on this campus are the Corps of Cadets, who walk around like uniformed Nazis (complete with jackboots) and physically assault anyone whom they don’t like.” “You are considered a Liberal in these parts, if you dont believe we should burn homosexuals alive, deport all immigrants, and stop the Catholic “papists” from taking over America. Texas A&M is the only campus in the nation where hate crimes against Gay and Lesbians are not only overlooked, but they are not even adressed. Democrat is a swear word on this campus, and socialist is a death warrant.”
“It is a true statement that it is a rarity to see a guy with a pony-tail around here and that is because people around here are clean cut, God-fearing, and common sense oriented. As far as gay people go, less than 1% of this campus will even admit to making a joke about being gay. “Why is that?” you ask. Well, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 CLEARLY states, <insert any gay-bashing quote taken out of context from the Bible here>. God frowns upon those who think they can love who or whatever they feel like. We, Aggies feel the same way about issues such as homosexuality. If God says it is wrong, then it is wrong. That is why A&M has such a low tolerance of people who think that they are smarter than God.”
“Are you people trying to give a one-sided view of our nasty town? Yes, we like our traditions at A&M. For instance, people are asked not to walk on the grass around the Memorial Student Center. The building is dedicated to Aggies who have died in war, and not walking on the grass around it keeps the place looking nice. We consider this respectful. Does this particular tradition threaten you in some way? I have never tried to kill a gay person. I do not belong to the KKK. I don’t hate people because they are different from me. I like my short hair cut. I love my country. I am a Republican. I pray to God. I try to live life without lying, cheating, or stealing. I don’t do drugs. I am an AGGIE. I am quite sorry you open minded liberals don’t seem care for my lifestyle, but I don’t plan to loose too much sleep over it.”
“All of the above is very typical of life at A&M. Very heated debates about what the bible says and why Aggies are the best in the world. My fun anecdote is that when I would walk through campus with my Pro-Choice Aggies T-shirt on people would actually stop and stare dumbfounded. My advice to any liberal Aggie is find like minded groups like the Aggie Democrats, Pro-Choice Aggies and the nationally famous TAMU Skydiving Club (not all liberals but a fun crowd). Avoid the Chicken like the plague (a bar, for those who haven’t had the pleasure) and go next door to Dudley’s Draw.”
Now if you feel scared for me, fret not. I think this is typical of liberal-conservative battles. Both sides like to present extreme viewpoints. I almost laughed at the third comment when the writer chastised us for trying to be smarter than God. Don’t worry, dude, God will strike me dead if he/she thinks so; you needn’t fume in anger.
Largely the town doesn’t seem too hostile. I have been visiting shopping outlets and coffee shops and although the southern charm isn’t quite evident, you don’t see the obvious repulsion that we normally associate with hick country. There is a sizable international community here (the local supermarket, HEB Foods stocks Indian spices too). Don’t worry, I am not too confrontational; I do not argue with people who see beyond reason. The fourth commenter, a hardened conservative, at least seems like a reasonable person that you can sensibly argue with or at least agree to disagree with. I will be just fine here; if not then I might just drive down to Houston or Austin to refill my liberal beliefs.
Incidentally, Kevin Drum over at Washington Monthly also is surprised by the ranking of his city, Irvine. Other rankings of cities available here. These rankings, however go against popular notion. For e.g. Dallas, TX is ranked as a highly liberal city whereas it is almost accepted widely in Texas that Austin is heaven for liberals in a starkly conservative state.