There's good and bad in everything in life. Philosophies, bodies of literature, religion, etc. We take, use and appreciate what we can and ignore, hate or lampoon the rest. The same is no less true for the United States.
For the last seven and a half years, I've been meaning to write a post in which I list the 25 most embarrassing states in the union and why I find them so loathsome and cause for chagrin. No doubt, some of you reside in these states so before you hoot and holler that I've unfairly included your home state, let it be known that this does not personally reflect on you and your beliefs or ideology. I am well aware that every state on this list has exceptions and if you're reading this, chances are you're among them.
Some will also question why I left out other states. Their exclusion should in no way imply, nor should you infer, that I hold the absent 25 states faultless. Every state has conservative and/or evangelical influences acting against human progress, thereby automatically disqualifying them for infallibility.
Consider this an abstract and necessarily subjective overview concentrating on the political and social notoriety that's come, however fairly or unfairly, to characterize your state. For example, New York, which made the list, is my home state, and I have family in Florida and Idaho, which also made the grade. All continental regions have been represented, from the northeast to the midwest to the deep south to the wastelands of the west. Several states, such as Illinois and North Carolina, are included because of shame the Democratic Party had visited on them.
Having said that, probity forces me to admit that relatively recent developments in many of these states are leading me closer and closer to the conclusion that the Civil War should've been ceded to the South, allowing them to be separated from the Union for the common good like the deformed conjoined twin it is. This would've resulted in a vastly diminished United States, obviously, but considering our neverending adventurism in places such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Iran, El Salvador, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Grenada, Afghanistan and elsewhere, would a diminished military capacity be such a bad thing?
Therefore, I offer in ascending order the 25 worst and most mortally embarrassing states in America (plus a dishonorable mention), a necessarily subjective list that nonetheless has benefited from serious, sober and informed judgment over the past seven plus years.
25) California So predictable, it couldn't ad lib an aftershock after a 9.0 earthquake. As if electing Reagan their Governor in the 60's didn't teach them a lesson, they again elected a flabby right wing former actor who made Jesse Ventura look like Adlai Stevenson. Despite an undeserved reputation for liberality (especially in a Hollywood that gave us Reagan, Arnie, Charlton Heston, Stallone, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, etc), its voters were blinded by Mormon money and outlawed same sex marriage five months after it was ratified. Fields the most notably corrupt and batshit insane Republicans in the history of the Republic (Jerry Lewis, Dana Rohrabacher and until recently, the aptly-named John Doolittle etc.) Elevated to international prominence Darryl Gates and the LAPD street gang. LAPD and Oakland PD openly competing for annual Most Fascist Police State award. Fabulously famous and funded LA DA's office couldn't convict Robert Blake or OJ. Epicenter of a decades-long water war favoring rich white people and starving brown people despite such struggles not afflicting more pervasively arid states such as Arizona, Nevada and Utah. An ongoing future object lesson in the power of persistent denial and a source of much entertaining speculation of when it'll at last have the consideration to break off and drop in the Pacific like the dessicated, bauble-studded turd it is. 24) Maine There's a reason Stephen King bases most of his most horrifying stories in Maine. The only New England state to make the bad grade, it could be accurately summed up as the other Mississippi. Sharing a tuber-based kinship with fellow potato-producer Idaho, its residents' faces and intellects tend to resemble their main export. Notoriously right-leaning, it recently elected as Governor a Christie clone, the noxious Paul LePage. A Tea Bagger Republican, LePage is so hostile to unions that he ordered removed a mural extolling the history of the Maine labor movement in the state Department of Labor building. LePage is so stupid, he thinks the Dept. of Labor ought to act in the interests of Big Business like the Chamber of Commerce. Like California, repealed gay marriage but before it became a reality. Women so homely they once envied those of Soviet Russia and Albania. Its residents are so ignorant the state bird is the dodo. They have a few cute tourist trap shops run by semi-toothless proprietors who attempt to ridicule "flatlanders" in spite of all but one square mile of New England being hilly. State motto: "Ayah."
Fun fact: The Ozark drama Winter's Bone was filmed in the middle of Maine's capital of Augusta.23) New Mexico
The Baghdad of the west's most profitable industry is serial killer Billy the Kid (who was born in New York City) and Roswell paraphernalia. Aside from being in the way during the world's most famous UFO crash and providing bleak scenery for spree killer/road rage movies, New Mexico's only other utility is in being the Bikini Atoll of America for the nation's manufacturers of nuclear weapons and missiles. So nondescript and otherwise useless, the Mexican government filed an injunction to get New Mexico to change its name. Never again reached its peak relevance since cartoons of its state bird were in production. State motto: "Come and bomb the fuck out of us, stay for the alien pancakes."22) Illinois The worthy successor to legendarily corrupt Tammany Hall, Democratic machine politics was perfected by the Daley crime family of Chicago, a bunch of vicious sociopaths who would have scared John Wayne Gacy straight and Al Capone into paying his taxes. Once known for its slaughterhouses, the state's economy is completely based on selling elected officials' seats, building contracts and mob hits. Has produced so many corrupt chief executives, Joliet has announced an ex Governor block to be formally opened by convicted felons George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Once hosted, then immediately tore down, the 1893 World's Fair and the killing spree of HH Holmes. Nurtures inferiority complex with New York City, which arrogantly boasts of higher murder rates and police brutality cases. Had the sense to foist off Ronald Reagan on to California. State bird: The spotted jail bird. State motto: "You have the right to remain silent..."21) Oklahoma The litterbox of the Appalachias, Oklahoma is such an inferior state it can't muster better than 21st place on this list since its biggest claim to fame is its aspiration to be a second-rate Texas. Further justification for inclusion in the 25 worst states: Senators James "Let's bring in a sci-fi novelist to explain the hoax of global warming" Inhofe and gynecologist Tom "Breast implants are good for you" Coburn. State bird: An oil-slicked Canada goose. State insect: Tom Coburn.20) Delaware The other Rhode Island, tiny Delaware is renowned as "the first state", hence a defective miniature prototype. Its sole industries are as a sky dumping ground for neighboring Jersey, papers of incorporation for tax-dodging corporations and interstate toll booths every 50 feet. Gave us Joe Biden and Christine O'Donnell. Hopefully, will one day share the same fate as Pluto and be demoted from statehood and made a suburb of Trenton, New Jersey. State motto: "Please come back, we didn't mean it."19) Georgia Before "Georgia on my Mind" was made the official state song in 1979, it was "Praise the Lord and Pass the Chicken Before They Lynch That There Nigger." Inexplicably identified with a virtually nonexistent hairy fruit, Georgia, outside of Atlanta, sustains itself on a hate-based economy. Long a bastion of pro-white sentiments (as opposed to racism and prejudice against blacks), Georgia boasts more white hoods and wooden crosses manufactured than any other state in the south. It took forever antebellum Savannah through John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil to remind America that Georgia had actually been rebuilt after being smashed flatter than an Irish pizza by Sherman. Ray Charles loved Georgia only because he couldn't see it. Still thinks the Civil War is just in a lull. During Jimmy Carter's failed presidency, it indeed rose again like a Paula Deen souffle then in late 1980 it fell when Reagan slammed the oven door. State bird: The rednecked peckerwood woodpecker. State motto: "What we have here is a failure to excommunicate."18) Idaho Indistinguishable from Maine only with more mountains and guns. Proud host of Ruby Ridge massacre. Produces mentally ill writers such as Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway. Once sold off a town to Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, who would later pick up stakes and leave town in worse shape than the Nakatomi Tower at the end of Die Hard. Sen. Larry Craig's tap dancing routine reminded people Idaho potatoes are actually named after a state. Long a haven for cross-burning, "pro-white", anti-government fanatics, Idaho is a perfectly good waste of mountain scenery and sparkling clean air.17) Kentucky Like Tennessee, known almost exclusively for sourmash whiskey as well as horse racing and discolored grass. Its residents have no concept of the word "upgrade" as they replaced nasty honey badger fuck Jim Bunning with Ayn Rand Paul, son of racist Ron Paul. Its other Senator is Mitch McConnell, a man renowned for finding an endless variety of ways to say No and transplanting his testicles into his neck wattles. Would've been almost completely forgotten to posterity were it not for Louisville Slugger bats. After that and whiskey, its chief export is coal miner corpses. Hosts the Creationism Museum. By all rights, should be demoted from statehood and annexed by Ohio to be used as a city landfill for Cleveland. State bird is the pterodactyl with a human rider.16) Tennessee The proud cradle of post-Civil War racism, this KKK crib is otherwise known as the place where science goes to die and for growing carcinogens and making Jack Daniels whiskey. In true deep southern tradition, is notoriously homophobic and antiscience. In fact, Tennessee recently achieved a dubious relevance again with the Scopes Monkey Trial Redux. A nearly complete national and international embarrassment, Tennessee's Republican legislators also consider geology, chemistry and avionics mere alternative theories. Global warming spokesman and former President-elect Al Gore is reviled because he spoiled the state's otherwise pristine record of denying science for over two centuries. Proudly hosted MLK assassination, offers opera for rednecks, gave Elvis a haven to gain 150 pounds.15) Utah The world's biggest outdoor salt mine and adopted home to a cult that believes their God lives on the planet Kolob and Jesus will return in Rush Limbaugh's home state. Oh, yeah, and they believe on blind faith this all comes from a Golden Bible that was seen by no one but a womanizing horse thief. With due respect to the Udalls and Rocky Anderson, Utah's sole value is in providing a haven for a cult that's intolerable to the other 49 states and a huge runway for Mormon gamblers on their way to sin city. Produced and inflicted Orrin Hatch and Karl Rove on the rest of America, providing us with grounds to pour water on it and dissolve it out of existence. As it is, they were made utterly irrelevant when land speed racer Craig Breedlove retired.14) Alabama As with Georgia and Mississippi, its very name is colloquially synonymous with cross-burning, bedsheet-wearing racism. No shit, during the 2000 election, Alabama became the last state to finally lift a ban on interracial marriages, making it the Boston Red Sox of the deep south. Often compared to pre-Cambrian Upper Volta, Alabama gave us Dixiecrat George Wallace, whose likeness is still proudly displayed on Alabama's #2 export (#1 being mirrored sunglasses for redneck sheriffs), which is commemorative plates of him standing in front of a school door. Gunracks commonly seen on baby cribs, more confederate and Gadsden flags displayed than American ones. Is so conservative, gravity is considered a theory and globes are legally banned. Proud host of race riots and black church bombings when blacks had the nerve to opt out of impossible-to-pass litmus tests before being allowed to vote. State motto: "Where's the fire, city boy?"13) Mississippi Coolness factor peaked in 1935 when Elvis Presley was born. Excelled in murdering civil rights workers with impunity. One would think with all the hurricanes this coastal state has seen, at least part of Mississippi would be washed clean but BP had other plans. With its John Grisham-based economy, Mississippi's only other export is its most intelligent citizens fleeing Ole Miss for a better life. Is so racist, only white and flesh-toned crayons are allowed in schools and colored chalk must be used on separate but equal blackboards. Since all the birds indigenous to the Mississippi Gulf coast succumbed to oil exposure, the state bird is the gnat. Next to last Governor, Haley Barbour, was first lard sculpture ever elected in state history.12) New Jersey The septic tank and smoking room of America, New Jersey can be smelled as far as away as Chernobyl. HBO series The Sopranos actually made Jersey society seem cooler and more attractive than it actually is. Its Governor is a noxious blimp named Chris Christie who's so out of shape he has to take a limousine ride in the 100 yards between his helicopter and the field where his son plays ball. Rode to his inauguration in a stolen car with attached plates. Fled Jersey during a blizzard to go to Disney World then had the nerve to defend his dereliction of duty. Has been compared to Fiorello LaGuardia with a brain tumor. Famously antagonistic toward teachers and unions and others who know more basic shit than him. Supports the troops by calling a decorated Navy SEAL an idiot. Is so polluted, Jersey residents aren't allowed across the river into New York without a clean bill of health from the CDC. Snooki and the talentless cast of Jersey Shore reviled outside of Jersey for reminding the other 49 states that New Jersey exists. State bird is the mud hen.11) Michigan
One would think a state surrounded by so much water couldn't be as dirty as it is but there you go. Gave us Mitt Romney and Eminem, which is almost forgivable by its also giving us Michael Moore. Its biggest city, Detroit, was once the auto-making capital of the nation before car companies realized they could save a lot of money by outsourcing US jobs overseas (ask Mitt Romney about the time his old man put 450 people out of work- it's a knee-slapper). Detroit residents not allowed into Canada before submitting to a criminal background check. Major cities such as the aforementioned Detroit and Flint now double as post-apocalyptic wastelands for the occasional Hollywood movie. Its principle industries are home foreclosures and scrap metal stolen from abandoned buildings. Michigan GOP successfully bringing back the Nazi Party by instituting one-party rule through an attempt to subvert Matt's Safe Schools law and illegally passing an emergency city manager law in which a right wing tea bagger appointee's authority supercedes that of all local democratically-elected officials. Leavens emerging fascism by giving us comic relief in the form of the Detroit Lions. State bird: The iron eagle.10) Ohio The Buckeye state cracked the top ten largely on the strength of it being the headquarters for Diebold, one of several right wing companies that determined the course of the 2000 and 2004 general elections. Fabulously corrupt state Republican Party that will soon need a prison all to itself. Yet another misguided state with a Tea Bagger Koch head and former Fox "News" host as a Governor. While running for office, John Kasich actually said that the US hasn't lost a single job to China, "(e)ven though he sat on a corporate board and signed documents to do just that." In fact, Ohio's biggest export is Ohio manufacturing jobs even while handsomely paying corporations in nonbinding gentleman's agreements to not do just that. Only cultural center is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Post-LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers the new foil for the Harlem Globetrotters.9) Alaska Thank you, Secretary Seward. Proud host of the second biggest oil spill in national history. Only two significant cultural contributions to the nation were a Charlie Chaplin movie filmed in California and Klondike bars. Gave us Ted Stevens and Idaho transplant Sarah Palin. Outside of Fairbanks, Juneau and Anchorage, residents must mush on dogsled for 40 miles to nearest outhouse. Being trapped between Bering Strait and western Canada ensures against negative population growth. Famously right-leaning largely due to cranial hypothermia. Were it not for Big Oil, Alaska would have no economy, no culture and no identity. Quitting halfway through her only term as Governor and beating it out of Alaska was the first and last smart thing Sarah Palin ever did. State bird used to be the penguin until Sarah Palin declared it a mammal.8) New York Characterized by a city inexplicably called the Big Apple when, in fact, the Manhattan skyline looks more like a diseased pineapple, its residents saw fit to elect as their mayor a multibillionaire media mogul who changes political parties more often than Rush Limbaugh changes his underwear (which perhaps may not be saying much). The legendarily vicious and homicidal Five Points section in southern Manhattan and every resident was moved by Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall to Wall Street where its mentality flourishes to this day. New York City enjoys a multifaceted yet strictly compartmentalized economy: Wall Street (fraud), Avenue of the Americas/Fifth Ave (propaganda), and in the area immediately surrounding 42nd and 8th Ave, pornography. Most recognizable cultural icons are the Naked Cowboy, who isn't naked, John Gotti, Carson Daly and Joey Buttafucco. Involuntarily hosted two of the three worst terrorist attacks on American soil, which made America want to hand the Yankees their 27th World Series title and, briefly, Rudy Guiliani the presidency. Long Island and upstate New York do not really exist, being fabrications to make the rest of New York state seem tolerable to the rest of the country. State bird: The vulture, in honor of Wall Street. State motto: "Ya fuckin' stronzo, I'm tryin' t' walk 'ere!"7) Kansas Thomas Franks said it all. Virtually the only state in the union with fundamentalist principles so backwards it makes Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi look more liberal than a drug commune in Copenhagen. Its chief executive is former senator and escaped mental patient Sam Brownback, a man so conservative he thinks Burl Ives was possessed by succubi for singing "Holly Jolly Christmas." Has the only school districts that teach asexual education. Last year, Brownback cut off government funding entirely for the arts in Kansas. Also creepily stalked and persecuted teenaged girl Emma Sullivan for criticizing him even though she didn't. A perfectly good waste of dust. State motto: "Burn the witch!"6) Wisconsin Voted out Russ Feingold and voted in Scott Walker on same night. Winter last year, Wisconsin and its capital Madison become ground zero for a union battle waged by its new Chief Executive who retains the sole distinction of being the only cross-eyed Governor in America, having the most lopsided hairdo since Reagan and one of only ten Republican Governors who immediately take calls from the Koch brothers. Accidentally drove to Green Bay on inauguration day because Walker thought it was the state capital. Besides Walker, Wisconsin has produced two other psychopaths: Ed Gein and Jeffery Dahmer. Wisconsin is such a huge embarrassment even the Arab world noticed it and threw their support behind the protesters. Just to prove he wasn't merely elected to butt fuck unions like the knobby, unlubed corporate strap-on he is, Walker recently repealed the equal pay law that protected women workers. Repeal is imminent as Walker has proven to be about as popular as a neo Nazi rally in Tel Aviv. Republican hatchet man Rep. Paul Ryan universally acknowledged as the most hilarious thing to come out of Wisconsin since Lenny and Squiggy and Bret Favre's transmitted penis. They still make cheese, that fact alone keeping them from making the top three spots.5) North Carolina The very fact that North Carolina produced Klansman and senator Strom Thurmond alone guarantees inclusion in the top five. Most recently, North Carolina took the heat off the states at the top of this list by slamming the door shut on gay marriage knowing fully good and well that inalienable rights shouldn't be put up to a vote. As a result, Rep. Barney Frank introduced a resolution on Capitol Hill demanding that North Carolina be henceforth known as the "Shitheel State." So racist that toasters and pumpernickel bread are outlawed. So embarrassing to more progressive North Carolinians that Andy Griffith demanded all episodes of the Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD be retroactively placed in South Carolina. Former Democratic Senator and human dolphin John Edwards currently on trial for misspending campaign funds and reminding us of Bill Clinton again. Their fetid swamps breed mosquitoes and Blackwater. State motto: "North Carolina's For Inbred Lovers Provided Ya'll Ain't Gay."4) Florida #1 indictment: Voted in Alan West the same night it voted out Alan Grayson. Completely fucked up 2000 presidential election because the rest of America was naive enough to assume Floridians could actually fucking count beyond 10. Their Tea Bagger Governor, multimillionaire health care tycoon and Woody Harrelson evil twin Rick Scott, makes Jeb Bush look like Hugo Chavez by conspicuous relief. Poet Elizabeth Bishop called Florida "the state with the prettiest name" just as "leukemia" has the prettiest name of any cancer. Federal government maddeningly dragging its heels for funding for a massive plug that would drain this state that's 79% swamp. Indigenous insects larger than most Italian sports cars. Its chief industries are cocaine trafficking, pink flamingos and various and sundry comic fodder. Resembles a discouraged penis. There was a reason why Nikita Khrushchev pointed his missile bases at it.3) South Carolina Jesus God, where does one begin? Started the Civil War over a half-forgotten lump of rock and in doing so plunged its fellow inbred states to doom, ridicule and poverty for the next century and a half. Senators Jesse Helms and Jim DeMint alone demands that South Carolina be condemned by acts of both Congress and God Almighty as DeMint is so conservative he makes the mentally deranged authors of Leviticus look like the Big Lebowski after a dozen White Russians. SC Congressman Preston Brooks actually beat and almost killed Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in Senate Chamber. SC's restraint and civility have nosedived since then as the most famous phrase to come out of South Carolina since then is, "You lie!" during a presidential address even when the president wasn't lying. Bringing to mind Nero, their Governor Nikki Haley is half human, half horse. Inexplicably produced Stephen Colbert, the only sane conservative to emerge from that state. Intelligent design fanatics may have a point as meteors in outer space somehow change course by themselves to hit South Carolina.2) Arizona The second-biggest embarrassment to the United States was reluctantly admitted to the union only in 1912 when John McCain was 41. An oversized Zen garden sans the tranquility, Arizona is the only state run by a Peruvian mummy. Until the Koch Brothers' proxy in Wisconsin got elected, Jan Brewer and the GOP statehouse made the state the most reviled in the union largely on the grounds of SB 1070, a bill that would make Nazi Germany blush and/or envious. Brewer also denied the use of Obama's stimulus funds for organ transplant candidates. Renamed Cinco de Mayo the "5th of May" out of respect for white people. Arizona's arid soil is aerated regularly by Barry Goldwater turning in his grave. Barack Obama almost decided not to run for re-election when he learned that elevating Gov. Janet Napolitano to a Cabinet-level position elevated Jan Brewer to the corner office. Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio unacknowledged inspiration for Yosemite Sam. State bird: The condor. State Motto: "Papers, please, mein herr."1) Texas
The Man on a Ledge of the United States, special needs Governor and former Bush second banana Rick Perry once threatened to secede Texas from the union over stimulus money. Backed off when every other state gleefully called his bluff then reminded him he couldn't legally secede. Called the Lone Star State because the other 49 states don't want its star on the American flag. Yahoo-style frontier justice executes more people than Stalin in his most paranoid year. State officially annexed to 9th circle of Hell on completion of unholy trilogy, which was when Ann Richards and Molly Ivins died and George W. Bush got re-elected. Essentially stole a huge chunk of worthless desert from Mexicans and Indians and to this day bray about how much bigger everything is in Texas. Most noteworthy event in its history was getting its arrogant ass kicked at the Alamo. Despite Rick Perry's prayer/pity party, aka the Response, Texans still don't get the message that God, with Perry's own help, is trying to kill them through drought. Nick Nolte recently honored as most intelligent man ever produced by Texas. State motto: "Remember the Alamo's gift shop on the way out!" The state bird is Texaco's Pegasus.Dishonorable mention
: Colorado Proudly hosted the suicide of Hunter S. Thompson, the alleged death of Ken Lay and the Columbine school massacre. One of the hubs of the military industrial complex, its biggest industry is making shit that murders innocent brown people. South Park
well-noted for its realistic appraisal of Colorado life. Home of the right wing Coors family and a massive canvas Christian revival tent known as the Air Force Academy that occasionally teaches military stuff to officer cadets. They make and use lots of ski wax and was once the backdrop for Mork and Mindy