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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The hypocrisy of southern politics

Durr sees a hypocrisy in southern politics that she calls "schizophrenic": while politicians claim they support low taxes, little federal intervention, and states' rights, they demand as much federal funding as the government can provide. To her, this is the cause of the current problems in the southern political system.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

You see this is what makes the South, as I have said, so schizophrenic and so crazy. And this is why I think people go crazy. Here we have just here in Alabama today, George Wallace, who takes every dime that he can get out of the federal government and the people who follow him take every dime they can get out of the federal government. Because you see we get into Alabama at least twice as much money as we send out to the federal government. In other words, the federal taxes that we pay in Alabama are far less than the federal money that we get in. And of course New York and Chicago or those places complain bitterly. The tax money you see comes South. But the point is that . . .So everybody that can get a federal grant in the South gets one, whether its Medicaid or Medicare or Unemployment or Commodities. And of course all these highways you see, they're built 10% with the State money and 90% with federal money. All these great interstate highways and all the highways you see are built with federal money. They fought bled and died for all the federal military installations they could get. Right here in Montgomery you know we've got two or three. Now this is the thing that makes the South so schizophrenic is that they fight for federal benefits all the time, and everybody that's elected they're going to get them something, new school or something for them; at the same time the States are wooing the big corporations to come down and get cheap, contented labor, you know. And then they run-now this is the thing: George Wallace runs on the basis of the interference of the federal government. And the federal government's becoming your master. And the federal government is your enemy. And the federal government has made you bus and do all this. And this is why I say the Southern people keep cutting their throats, you know, generation after generation because they seem to think in terms that make no sense at all. And this is what I have never been able to understand. So when I get up and run for office-which I have done twice now for these little minor-and try to tell them that if you follow George Wallace you want commodities cut off, you want Food Stamps cut off, you want federal aid cut off, you want Medicare cut off, Medicaid, all these benefits but off, Social Security, veterans' benefits, that's your privilege, if that's what you want. But you can't have it both ways. But they do want it both ways and they won't listen to you. So they'll go ahead and vote for George Wallace and for Ford and for Nixon, who are claiming that the federal government is just . . .Now is you can explain that to me. I was trying to tell those boys from Harvard the other night that if they can explain this that then they'll get at what is wrong with Southern politics.