Don’t apologize Eric. I’ce lived in the midwest and while it’s not the deep south, my mom heard some of the nastiest thing when I went through my goth and punk phases in the 80’s. They called me a nazi, homo, communist, etc all because my hair was colored and I wore different clothes.
Can you imagine what they must say if you have a different ideology? I had a young child out playing in front of my apartment (the neighbors kid) and he asked me if I was a satan worshipper; he was maybe 5 so he obviously heard it from his mom. I responded ‘no, actually I’m an athiests. And athiests don’t believe in satan or god because satan is a creation of the christian mythology’. The mother who was in earshot INSTANTLY shot out the door and grabbed her child and ran inside.
Sure asking me if I was a satan worshipper was fine and letting her kid play with me (had she thought me a satan worshipper) was equally fine but having an educated response to which she could not come up with an equally educated explanation for her child WOULD NOT DO!
So yes, feel free to call them knuckle draggers if you must as they choose to remain in ignorance and embrace it freely. I have tried pity, I have tried even looking on them as charity cases but they are nothing more than pigs who have chosen to wallow in mud and do not wish to be cleaned off.