Lack of Content Warning

This site is not for children. It contains coarse language and humor and complex social and political analysis. If your child reads this blog, then you have a weird kid. Congratulations. We need more weird kids, our Nation's future depends upon them.

Seriously, do some parenting. It's not my job.

.....................................................................................................Lack of Content Warning.............................................................................................................. I have been tasked with pointing out the blindingly obvious to those readers who have never heard of hyperbole or encountered humor in their day to day lives. The Angry Redneck Liberal is a character. A literary device by which I share my sincere policy views through the persona of a (usually, but not always) loud, profane, extreme and often-times offensive character. No one in their right mind takes his outrageous comments at face value. Rational, intelligent adults accept his schtick as an integral part of what makes him an (occasionally) entertaining read. Sometimes, a shocking statement is necessary to make a point, focus the reader's attention on a preceding point or (more often than not) just to get a cheap laugh. I made the Angry Redneck Liberal for that reason, and he performs his task admirably. I stand by every position I have put forth here. I hope you find it to be both a source of humor and food for thought.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th: The Only Day "Yankee" Isn't a Perjorative Here in the South

          I am many things.  Redneck, hillbilly, yokel, cracker, hayseed, hick, bumpkin, rube, white trash... The list could go on and on, but it doesn't because that was all I found with an Internet search.  We are a country of divisions:  racial, geographical, religious, political, etc...but we take time today to remember that we are all a subset of the Genus Americanus.  Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, a bunch of Yankees decided they'd had enough of this colonial bullshit and took up arms in support of a "Declaration of Independence" against their oppressor, King George III of England.  Today, the 76 percent of us who know that England was who we won our independence from (look it up...24 percent of us are too Goddamned stupid to even know that) take a moment out of our busy lives to contemplate that action and what it means to us today.

          America, by its very design, is a contentious place.  Though I occasionally want to choke the ever-living shit out of my right-wing neighbors when they deem it necessary to give me their uninformed ill-advised views on the events of the day, I wouldn't want it any other way.  I sit here on my porch, happily typing whatever the fuck I want to into my laptop for unfettered dissemination with no fears of suppression or censorship from the government.  If I choose to share the heart-felt opinion that Republican Representatives at all levels of governance are useless cocksuckers who do nothing of value for their constituents and poison the well from which the constituents of liberal Representatives also drink, no one cares.  Whether I have one reader or a million readers, I am afforded the same protections under our system of government as the largest publication.  My voice is equal (in theory) to that of the richest and most powerful among us.  That truth is the inviolate reason for my pride in my country.  For all its faults and failures in delivering on the promises made over two centuries ago, I love America.

          The work isn't finished.  We seek a "more perfect union".  It would be a disservice to those that have given their lives and their genius and their manual labor to this land to think we can stop now.  The organism that fails to adapt will not survive.  We, as a nation, have been and continue to be in a state of rapid evolution.  We were far from the ideals espoused in those hallowed documents at the time of their adoption.  Over the years, we have (often through bloodshed, suffering and violence) moved slowly toward them.  Every generation of Americans has had to confront and overcome challenges while pursuing the goal of this fabled "Perfect Union".  Slavery, Women's Suffrage, the Civil rights Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, Immigration Reform...  There is no goalpost, no finish line.  We will never reach a point where all that we wish to be as a nation will be achieved.  If every conceivable issue that divides us as Americans were to be settled in an equitable manner which pleased every one of us, we would not be done.  New challenges will always present themselves, how we choose to address them will decide the future of our country.  Will our descendants look back with pride at how we faced these challenges?  There is no way of knowing.  We just have to follow our own conscience.

          On days of remembrance and reflection such as today, we should not only look back at our triumphs.  We need to look at our failures as a people.  As a Southerner raised in the aftermath of the Civil Rights struggle, I have a sometimes adversarial view of history.  It's difficult to look back with pride when so much of your history is tied up with being on the wrong side of it.  Not personally, of course, the Civil war was concluded a hundred and three years prior to my birth, but as a regional identity thing.  Before I was old enough to read, I was indoctrinated with the idea that Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were legendary heroes and that the South was, in fact, "Gonna Rise Again!" I knew nothing of slavery or oppression, so I just took the bullshit pro-Confederacy things my older siblings and relatives said at face value.  Boy was I upset when I learned to read!  I felt like a traitor to my own family for feeling ashamed of their beliefs.  My shame turned to confusion upon learning that I was a descendant of Quakers who had chosen to fight on the side of the North (being opposed to slavery on religious grounds) and the resident of an area where slavery wasn't a big economic concern.  Why in the hell did my family lionize these people who fought a war against their own countrymen to further an institution that regular people found morally abhorrent?  I never got that answer, so I made up one of my own.  People that have nothing want desperately to be proud of anything, and perhaps there exists among the economically down-trodden people in the South an idea that things might have been better for them had the war been decided differently.  This "what if" fantasy exercise, coupled with folks' innate longing for an aristocracy and a bygone culture to be proud of, is what led to the early 20th Century's mythologizing of the Confederacy and the Antebellum South. Fucking Margaret Mitchell.

          So, here we are.  2011.  Ever closer and just as far from that perfect union we hope to see one day.  For every two steps forward, we seem to take one step back, but don't be discouraged, that is still forward progress.  The framers didn't agree on a Goddamned thing either, but they got it done.  I know that We the People will, as well.  The Declaration of Independence and (more importantly) the Constitution are important documents, not perfect ones.  As we have evolved as a nation, their meaning has evolved with us.  It is this evolution in both thought and in the very notion of liberty that has made this American experiment such a compelling one.  We do not hold on to the past, we examine it and accept it.  We look to our history both for guidance and as a warning to ourselves.  I have no reason to be ashamed of history because I am a Southerner.  If anything, I have an obligation to work to see that the South becomes a symbol of reconciliation and forward-thinking.  Sadly, I won't live to see that day. It'll take a lot longer to change my beloved South than I will be around to help change it.  It'll be at least another century before we can get to the point that the South stops being synonymous with social regression.  When it does, maybe they will look back at us and say we did our part in moving things in the right direction.  Maybe our efforts will lead us closer to a "more perfect Union"

Tim
"I'm (on one day a year, anyhow) a Yankee Doodle Dandy"
Murphy

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