November 4, 2007
For what seems like forever, we have poked fun at and ridiculed these examples of Southern Americana. Jeff Foxworthy has treated us to years of his “you might be a Redneck if” jokes, which even I find humorous. A popular Television Show in the 1960’s brought us laughs and enjoyment at a family from the hills that became unbelievably wealthy and moved to Beverly Hills.
The 1972 movie Deliverance portrayed them as “degenerate, inbred backwoods inhabitants” of the mountains. Other films portray them as law breaking moonshiners and incestuous poor people with little or no education, living for the next NASCAR Race or drunken bar room brawl.
Even their favorite sport, the multi-billion dollar NASCAR series, has its roots in moonshiners racing each other on the weekends to see who’s bootlegger car was the fastest, then using the car during the week to secretly transport untaxed whiskey.
Suffice it to say that we have been treated to several decades of portrayals of these Southern people as being almost sub-human, lazy, good for nothing, toothless, uneducated, inbred and generally worthless. Most Southerners know the difference between the two, but for the purpose of this essay and that too many other Americans don’t realize there is a difference, I will be using the terms as synonymous with each other.
Ignored is that most have a deep abiding love of America and God and when called, have defended America with a zeal many others don’t seem to have. They have survival instincts and talents that city dwellers can’t always master, such as being excellent shots with rifles. Anyone with Military experience can tell you that in combat, being a good shot is a must.
A two hour special produced for the History Channel recently spanned 300 years of these “mythic” people showing them to contain “outcast immigrants, war heroes, isolated backwoodsmen, hard working miners, fast moving moon shiners, religious warriors, musicians and statesmen” amongst their number.
A decidedly leftist remnant of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, the Institute for Southern Studies, commissioned their own study last year showing that the Southern States “provides a disproportionate share of the nation’s troops.” In true leftist fashion, the group claims, “Factors such as high rates of poverty, limited economic options for young adults, and the region’s conservative political culture have contributed to the region’s reputation as a reliable source of military personnel.”
Yet, this same study also claims, “from 1996 to 2002 every region in the country had seen an increase in the flow of military contract dollars. But no region grew as fast as the South: the region’s defense contract base mushroomed by 83%, compared to 62% in the West, 31% in the Midwest and Central Plains, and just 9% in the Northeast.”
They fail to make the connect that if, as they claim, “83% of Defense contracts went to the South,” jobs had to be available. Even the greediest employer cannot fulfill contracts without workers.
They fail, in their twisted leftist logic, to even see in their own claims of, “a 2005 report by the American Friends Service Committee analyzing Army enlistments for fiscal year 2004 (October 1, 2003 – September 30, 2004) finds young adults in the South to be disproportionately represented in the Army’s ranks,” to realize the use of the word “enlistment,” a voluntary entrance into Military Service.
There is a total disconnect between these “progressive leftists” out of Durham, N.C. and traditional Southern Heritage rich in the history of defending this land. Like many of their Northern counterparts, they cannot understand or see the South’s love of the land that would encourage these “Rednecks and Hillbillies” to leave the backwoods, mountains and bayous of the South and stand up for America.
Although initially resistant to the Civil Rights Movement, most Southerners got past that era and stand alongside Black Southerners in defense of America. Older bigots and Klansmen were shoved aside and Southerners, Black and White, volunteered to defend America, not out of economic need so much, but for their love of the land.
One such Virginia native who apparently grew up in New York and served in the same unit I did in Viet Nam, although prior to my arrival, was Pfc. Garfield M. Langhorn, awarded the Medal of Honor for his conspicuous bravery and thoughtless action that saved the lives of many others. While Garfield may not fit the usual persona others have of Southerners from the hills and backwoods, some others do.
In World War Two, a poor and slightly built young man from Celeste, Texas, standing merely 5 foot 5 inches, and turned down for enlistment in the Marine Corps and Paratrooper Service, enlisted in the U.S. Army and distinguished himself by becoming the most decorated Soldier of the War, earning 33 Medals and Awards, including the Medal of Honor. Audie Murphy grew up poor in Celeste, Texas which today remains a small town about 50 miles Northeast of Dallas with a population of barely over 800 people.
Pall Mall, Tennessee gave us who became known as “the greatest individual soldier of World War One,” Sgt. Alvin C. York. At one time having a reputation of a hell raiser for drinking and gambling, York under went an epiphany and became a conscientious objector prior to being drafted into the War. During training he came to believe that God does sanction some war and distinguished himself in combat, helping to capture 132 German Soldiers with a far inferior squad. Returning to his conscientious objector beliefs after that war, he was first opposed to World War Two, but came to see that once again, the world was faced with evil that had to be stopped. He often countered the isolationalist stand of Charles Lindberg and toured the country during the war in support of the war effort.
Many heroes have come from backwoods and hills of the Southern States and never received accolades and praise. And still, as even the “progressive” Institute for Southern Studies shows, they continue to come to stand up for America. They are Democrat and Republican and even third party. Most are conservative in values, believing in American freedom and liberty.
We will continue poking fun at these people and spreading the jokes we all enjoy, but if push comes to shove and I was confronted by a dozen terrorists threatening my life, give me some of these Rednecks and Hillbillies over a leftist protester any day.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Posted by Lew Waters at 6:41 PM