Recently, with the release of the movie Lincoln, there have been many comparisons to the Old South and the New South which, as God as my witness, got my feathers ruffled. A couple of quotes from two articles:
"The Solid South speaks less and less for America and more and more for itself alone."
"Lincoln's unfinished war rages on, as the neo-Confederacy tries to turn back the clock on women, gays, God and guns."
Usually I'm happy as a dead pig in the sunshine, but reading those made me angry. No incensed. No livid. I'm not sure there is a word to express how angry I was, reading this garbage. It would make a Bishop kick in a stained glass window. And then I had to step back and calm down because I was scaring the kids trying to tell my husband about it. By the way, he is a Yankee from Boston.
I was brought up as Southern Baptist, Republican, in a very small town (218 people at the time). The KKK was an active institution in our overall area, segregation was still apparent, not by law, but in such a way as to make it applicable without saying it out loud.
I was friends with a black girl (they weren't called African Americans back then), Chandra, even brought her home to play. I liked her, she was nice. Period.
I was also brought up with guns. We had snakes, very aggressive, very poisonous snakes. We also hunted for our food. I ate squirrel, rabbit, deer, hog, and duck. We had a boat and we shrimped and fished. We also had a garden where we canned all summer to eat all winter. Too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash. I got my first gun at ten. My first big gun at sixteen.
It was a way of life.
I can also sew, quilt, and one of the best cooks my friends and husband have ever met. I'm ex-military, combat proficient, can out-shoot most men, and if a zombie apocalypse ever did occur, many want me with them. I'm a good mom, homemaker, and volunteer. I've also survived cancer. SIX times.
I left the Church years ago. I'm pro-choice. I don't care if you're gay and if you are, you have a right to be in a relationship equal to anyone else. I'm predominantly Republican, but will vote for whoever best benefits my family. I'm a great leader, I'm funny, and most people love me. I am a woman and treated with respect by my peers (men and women). So why am I angry?
Because these reporters don't know me. They don't know my friends or family. They don't know what life is really like in the South outside of the movies and a few fanatics. I think Westboro Baptist Church is a group of idiots; they don't speak for the South.
Everyone is given the same opportunities to do well in school, to compete for scholarships, to choose their path in life despite economic backgrounds, so don't hand me your excuses about a caste system and how we as Southerners perpetuate it, I grew up poor and worked my way out. In high cotton.
I'm educated. Once I was told by a school principle (in Utah) when I was upset about something going on in their school that affected my child, "You're just a housewife, what do you know?"
What do I know? What do I know?? I used to work for NASA's Space Program as a meteorologist before CHOOSING to stay home and raise my children. Not allowing my kids to be raised in day-care so I could have a "career". I didn't need one, I was already educated enough to know right from wrong, to have morals and wanted to make sure my children had them, too.
We stay married in the South. Family means something there. Sunday dinners with everyone is a ritual; if someone needs help, everyone comes to assist, and if that means we are a bunch of crazy fanatical neo-Confederates, then those that would call us that haven't got a clue what that nomenclature means. Honey Boo-Boo IS NOT THE SOUTH. Swamp People IS NOT THE SOUTH. Duck Dynasty IS NOT THE SOUTH. Neither is Moonshiners, but every dog has a few fleas.
"the South might occupy a place like Scotland’s in the United Kingdom, as a cultural draw for the rest of the country, with a hint of the theme park."
Those are words to fight over and enough to cause the rift they speak of. Stop insulting us like unwanted step-children and maybe we would cooperate a little better. You might as well insult my Momma and as a reminder, I do own a gun (that I will be keeping). Come walk in my shoes and I'll jerk a knot in your tail, otherwise keep your ignorant assumptions to yourself.
Oh and Bless Your Heart!
Oh and Bless Your Heart!
(Southern colloquialisms added for effect)