Where to start but the wholly intolerant south-east. Home of the Bible Belt, Westboro Baptist Church and most of the country’s Mormon population, this collection of states represents plenty of humanity’s most virulent. Alabama, for instance, is sweet home to those who are white and straight, but not anyone else for fear of hate crime and discrimination. Next door, Texas brags the highest execution count in America, while Mississippi, home of Coca Cola, trails right behind. Not surprising when them and their neighbours, Tennessee and Louisiana, were some of Trump’s staunchest supporters in 2016.
Shifting north-east, we encounter welcomed contrast. From Massachusetts, where even white working-class folk vote for Elizabeth Warren, to Vermont, home of Bernie Sanders, life is different. Though there are many toss-up states, the east coast has always been something of a heaven for liberals at Christmas, since Pennsylvania is the Christmas tree state, and the most easterly point in the US, Maine, sprawls picturesque snowy forests and log cabins. Naturally then, the elderly play it safe by flocking to Florida‘s country clubs instead.
In the north-west we see a similar picture, albeit one that is more competitive. On one side are the Rocky Mountains and great plains of Montana, further west, the eternally-raining, forest-clad lands of Washington and Oregon. Areas great for backpacking and grizzlies but not so good for a suntan, though they are a commutable distance from sunny Colorado, home to South Park and Springfield, Nevada‘s own Las Vegas and its surrounding deserts.
Towards the centre of the US are Kentucky, Republican stronghold and home of KFC, and Wyoming, the least populous state and home of Kanye West. A population contrast to Arizona in the south-west, home to plenty of prisons, Phoenix and cactus graffiti laws, and affluent California, loved by queer folk, vegans and tourists alike as LA’s juice shot bars bring all the (hipster) boys to the yard. Not to mention that the drag city alternative to New York, San Francisco, provides a safe haven to many. Providing a little safety to marginalised folk otherwise discriminated against across the country.
So, though only twenty of the fifty states are directly mentioned in this four-hundred-and-something-word ramble, you get the picture. Some states are friendlier than others. Many have beautiful landscapes but not so beautiful people, not that we in the UK are any better in that sense. Albeit, not many of us own guns or SUV’s.