DuPree points me toward Brentwood, a town—or rather endless series of developments—north of Franklin. In Brentwood, the houses under construction are so big that workers look like ants on them, like a Salgado photograph. Princeton Hills, a Brentwood McMansion development, seems the perfect encapsulation of the new suburban Tennessee. At the gate of the development stands a brick frieze of a Confederate general in battle. Behind the gate, enormous mansions. Down the street, a Baptist church the size of an arena. Across the road, another field of McMansions going up, McMansions as far as the eye can see—each one another Republican vote, another $2,000 in the Bush campaign war chest.
I do find an undecided voter in Williamson County—the only one of three dozen Tennesseans I accost who hasn't made up his mind. He is Tom Taylor. I meet him on Main Street in Franklin, right outside his law office. Taylor is a moderate Republican, he says. He voted for Bush, in part out of disgust for Clinton. "But now I am really disappointed." Bush has dragged the party too far right, has governed poorly. Taylor is pessimistic about the country. Still, he says, "if there is any light at the end of the tunnel, if—let's say—there is any sign someone is listening to Colin Powell, then I will vote Republican. You see, there just isn't anything to like about John Kerry."
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.