It's "different" than Texas, for sure. Texas has strong pockets of progressives and liberals. Austin comes to mind, but so too Houston.
Tennessee has "probably" Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis (go figure--major urban regions). But Tennessee is predominantly rural, and this solidifies its extremely conservative "christian" value base.
It's annoying to no end....
As much as I appreciate Tech, I am amazed every so often at how "conservative" my students are. I'm in the middle of grading papers on a current topic and I am saddened by how opposed they seem to be to gay marriage. It would be difficult to live here in Rural Tennessee if you were outwardly gay. Hard to believe that in 2016 America, but it seems to be the reality up here.
And it's not just gay marriage that my students seem to oppose. They seem to oppose marijuana legalization, the "soft" punishment prisoners receive, sex before marriage, and others that will come up over the next 50 papers or so. I can only imagine what goes through their minds in my classes as I challenge all of these issues.
I'm going to go back and grade my papers. I think I need a drink!