THE FOLLOWING LETTER FROM THE CEO OF PUBLISHAMERICA MAY ASTONISH MORE THAN A FEW SOUTHERNERS WHO DIDN'T KNOW THEY WERE REDNECKS.
Letter from PublishAmerica's CEO: Time for a confession, redneck style
| September 6, 2012 |
It's time for me to come out of the closet, before somebody else outs me.
I love redneck people.
As in: fried-okra loving, gun packing, 'possum-grinning, strongly opinionated, Crown-and-ginger swiggin', hard-working southern boys and belles. I have lived among them for four glorious years.
South Carolina, baby! Where the shag is the state dance, and Gamecocks and Tigers both howl under Palmetto trees to a crescent moon. But only when their mothers don't see them together because, oh boy, when you wear the Cocks' garnet and black, you can't be seen fraternizing, or worse, with anyone in Clemson orange.
The only place I know where sombitches can be both bad and good.
That sombitch is givin' me a pimple in my crack: a Southern boy referring to his John Deere mower, when the blades won't come off easily; they never do.
Rednecks are patriots. Nobody is more flag and country loving than a Southerner. Like many of you, and like me, they choke up during the national anthem before the Super Bowl. They carry their local roots with great pride, but they serve their nation even prouder. South Carolina: Fort Jackson trains half of the entire Army (and 70 pct of all female soldiers!). Nowhere do they prepare more Air Force pilots than at Shaw (over yonder, you don't say Shaw Air Force Base, it's Shaw). And guess where Jimmy Doolittle and his boys practiced their raid on Japan. Oh, and in case you wonder where the governor's husband is hanging out lately: he's serving the country as a National Guardsman in Afghanistan.
Rednecks are patriots: this may come as a surprise to those who adhere to that other, widespread translation of rednecks: a bunch of uneducated, racist, fanatic religious hillbillies who would still rather secede from the Union.
Oh, really? Hell no! Not the rednecks that I know, and none of the rednecks that they know, nor the ones that those know. There's only one guy who is allowed to play to that stereotype, and that's Jeff Foxworthy. Everyone else doesn't know what, and who, they're talking about.
These country-loving, flag-saluting, bowed-heads-during-the-invocation, mama-adoring, grits-cooking, God-and-guns neighbors, above anything else, have an old-school sense of community. They're genetically friendly, wide open to making friends. They don't walk out on you, they invite you in. And I'm fixing to tell you how I know.
So my wife Alice and I moved to Dixie. She's a Yankee, I am Dutch. She doesn't speak with a drawl, I speak with an accent. Yet within a matter of weeks we were considered rednecks in training. And when they started to address me as Bubba, that was graduation day. Welcome to the South.
Community. That's why America is as great as she is. Individualism is king, community is queen. Yes, you aspire to be the best you can possibly be, and individual success is uniquely encouraged and admired. But you share with the community that cradles and embraces you. You share your emotion, and your prayer, your dinner table, your better and worse. You knock, and a door opens. Like nowhere else I have seen in the world.
But Americans are superficial, their affinities are skin-deep. I can't begin to count how often I have heard ignorant Europeans make that statement.
If only they knew.
Americans are the warmest, most affectionate, caring, and charitable people in the world. And nowhere are they more in-your-face and open-arms friendly than they are in the South!
Redneck. As far as I am concerned, that's a badge of honor. So here's to the many thousands of y'all who are our Southern authors, from West Virginia to Texas, from the Carolinas to Alabama, and from Mississippi to Arkansas:
God bless the South!
And to those from whose foreign shores America's founding fathers and mothers once sailed, those who believe that they can lift themselves up by pulling the made in America idea of neighborly love and friendship down, who may never fathom how united the States, north and south, actually are:
Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!
I invite you to talk back to me. I don't guarantee a response, but I do guarantee that we listen. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line write Attn. Willem.
Have a wonderful day!