Friday, March 5, 2010

Enough Already With the Redneck Jokes

If we want to hear redneck jokes, we'll tell 'em ourselves. We're better at it anyway.

You know the snide comments from all those Yankee pundits on the liberal news media about those of us who prefer a climate where we don't have to thaw out our oxygen in the winter just to breathe are getting just a little old. To hear them tell it, we're all a bunch of ignorant, in-bred, dull-witted hayseeds whose only religion is NASCAR. Now, while I do admit Dale Earnhardt had a couple of thriving congregations in his day, I maintain that even Yankees have a few collections of individuals that tend to carry things a little over the top.

Three words - New York City.

I rest my case.

Since the Civil War, there has been a steady campaign of slander against Southerners (and even Texans for that matter). The idea that we are invariably racist has been particularly pernicious.

"Particularly pernicious."  Say that 3 times fast in Boston and see how sophisticated you sound!

Look, even back in the 1800's, not all of us in the South were pro-slavery.  During the civil war, there was a thriving guerrilla campaign carried out against the confederacy here in East Texas by locals, who, like Sam Houston, believed secession in that particular case and for those reasons was just plain wrong! The idea that all southerners are slow-talking racist redneck hicks is just not true. 

Many Union soldiers during the Civil War were southerners serving against their own neighbors and family- a long way from home because they believed in doing the right thing. Everyone knew it was about slavery, no matter the high-toned rhetoric. There was a lot of fine talk about states rights, but like today, the real reason for the government's action was somewhat other than what was being put forward by the rebellious states. Everyone in the South knew the war was about the cost to wealthy Southerners of losing all that free slave labor. But, not everyone in the South turned their eyes from the true cost of that vile institution.

We must take a lesson from the one that God taught Abraham Lincoln. You must do what is right and for the right reasons. Merely to preserve the Union was not sufficient for God to bless the Union Army. It took the Emancipation proclamation to secure God's favor and open Lincoln's eyes. In return for his recognition of the true reason for the war, God sent Abe a hard-driving general named Grant and rallied the support of good men and women behind what was now perceived to be openly a war to end slavery.

Ultimately, our founding documents make clear that the rights of the individual trump the rights of the state, the nation, and even the rights of the county and the city. That's what "all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights" really means.

Like another man who shares my surname, I too look forward to a day when all men are judged, not by the color of their skin, the style of their clothing, the accent of their speech, their religion, or the place where they are born, but by the content of their character. 

I'm just sayin'

Tom King - Flint, TX (secret guerrilla hideout in the piney woods)

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