Mission Of This Blog

The overall mission statement of this blog is to share many unique topics of this blogger's interest. Topics include (but are not limited to): Travel & Photojournalism, Nature & Wildlife Preservation, Americana, Local Places Of Interest, Southern Cultural Heritage, Local History of the South Carolina Upstate, Confederate Heritage Preservation & Awareness, Science & Science Fiction, Astronomy & Night Sky Photography, Literacy & Writing, Southern Cuisine, Popular Culture & Philosophy, Fandom, Local Folklore ....as well as various other topics explained from the blogger's point of view. The following website contains the UNCENSORED thoughts and opinions of a Southern-born country writer from upstate South Carolina - the living, beating heart of the great American Southland!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Am I A Neo-Confederate, Or Are You Just Full Of Shit?

This is in response to the low-information moron who decided to send me the following profanity-laced message on Thursday afternoon which reads:

Hey Fucktard, (Hey yourself dildo) I looked through your sorry blog (I notice you didn't write that you READ it, but go on.) and think your ("you're" you mean?) either a fucking racist, sexist neo-confederate pig, or just really fucking stupid. (Well which is it, cutie?) People like your (Um, spell-check much?) who worship the rebel flag (uh folks, I am really not make this message up. He - at least I think it is a he - actually used the word "worship"...for real. Lodge this moron into the double-digit IQ category.) are a bunch of racist assholes who go on and on about patriotism and waving your rebel tea party flags, (actually as I understand it the Tea Party movement uses a variety of flags but they conceal information like that in books so I don't expect you to keep up on little details.) but all you care about is showing off what an ingorant (Says the guy - I think - that can't proofread.) old throwback fuck you neo-confederate losers are. (Humm that word again.)
The message was signed: killallteabaggers4budda....(*facepalm* to quote my Jewish friends: "Oy Vey.")

Guess this individual constitutes my very first official lunatic blog poster. Not a milestone I was looking forward to. Still, Mr. (or maybe Miss, Ms. or Mrs.) budda is responsible for helping me come up with a topic. So I guess thanks should be in order and I will dedicate this week's post to this individual. 

One of the things that earned me the title: The Man The Deniers Fear Most is the fact that whenever someone is full of shit, I tell them they are full of shit. This includes not only people that I disagree with, but also those that I sometimes agree with, and those that respect as fellow travelers to one degree or another. Even friends can tell friends that they are full of shit for their own good.

Now granted when I tell people they are full of shit I tend to do so in a more diplomatic way on social media sites like facebook, where there are rules against such colorful use of the English language. But since this is my blog - my UNCENSORED blog - and I am not constrained by the usual rules here, I feel the need to just let it all hang out and speak my mind a bit more plainly.

This does not mean that I am going to start throwing around profanity laced statements left and right. I certainly disapprove of any use of the Lord's name in vain and won't tolerate it on my site. Nor will I add profanity laced comments every other word. No. That sort of low-class behavior is unseemly and lacks originality - as evident from the comment above. Also while I do occasionally throw around the word fuck, I do not do so every ten seconds. I'm not a huge proponent of the f-word. Indeed, I managed to go through the first 16 years of my life without uttering that word once. 

When it comes to profanity, I am reminded of little Ralphie's words in A Christmas Story (one of my top five favorite holiday movies!) where he talks about how his father and profanity: "The old man worked in profanity the way other artists worked in oils." Well, I can be a bit of an artist myself. When I use profanity, it's going to actually mean something other than just as a cheap and unoriginal dig at someone's expense.

Anyhow back to the discussion. People who generally use the term broadly to define all Southern heritage defender is basically full of shit. It's certainly true in my case. Let me explain in detail why.

So I guess before I can go on, I have to explain what is a "neo-Confederate" exactly.

The problem with explaining that however lies in how one actually defines the term "neo-Confederate" specifically since most opponents of Southern-Confederate historical heritage have broad and widely varied definitions of the term that seem to change with whomever they are addressing at any given time. 

Well, tell y'all what, how about I use a "credited source" acceptable to the PC Establishment and  offer a comparison of my personal political and social views as a guide to better establish if the term rightly applies to yours truly?

Okay here goes nothing. 

As defined officially by the Southern Poverty Law Center website:
"The term neo-Confederacy is used to describe twentieth and twenty-first century revivals of pro-Confederate sentiment in the United States. 
Strongly nativist and advocating measures to end immigration, neo-Confederacy claims to pursue Christianity and heritage and other supposedly fundamental values that modern Americans are seen to have abandoned. 
Neo-Confederacy also incorporates advocacy of traditional gender roles, is hostile towards democracy, strongly opposes homosexuality, and exhibits an understanding of race that favors segregation and suggests white supremacy.  
In many cases, neo-Confederates are openly secessionist.  
Neo-Confederacy has applied to groups including the United Daughters of the Confederacy of the 1920s and those resisting racial integration in the 1950s and 1960s.  
In its most recent iteration, neo-Confederacy is used by both proponents and critics to describe a belief system that has emerged since the early-1980s in publications like Southern Partisan, Chronicles, and Southern Mercury, and in organizations including the League of the South, the Council of Conservative Citizens and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  
Overall, it is a reactionary conservative ideology that has made inroads into the Republican Party from the political right, and overlaps with the views of white nationalists and other more radical extremist groups."

Well folks, now comes the fun part. I am going to go through each step of this definition and find out just how much of it actually applies to your blogger. 

The term neo-Confederacy is used to describe twentieth and twenty-first century revivals of pro-Confederate sentiment in the United States. 
(Wow, that's a fairly broad and somewhat confusing opening. How does one define "pro-Confederate" exactly? I consider myself a proud descendant of a Confederate soldier and an American citizen. Not sure if that covers the definition specifically, but still let's move on.) 
Strongly nativist and advocating measures to end immigration,  
(Well, that's the first strike right there, I don't oppose legal immigration at all.)  
neo-Confederacy claims to pursue Christianity and heritage  
(Well the specific definition of Southern Heritage as I define it is pretty broad and encompasses a great deal more than just the events of the 1860s. Indeed, it covers quite a bit more than just the heritage of Anglo-Celtic settlement in the American Southland.) 
and other supposedly fundamental values that modern Americans are seen to have abandoned. 
(Never exactly been much of a fundamentalists in terms of faith. I respect the right of an individual to make choices for themselves, but I do reject using those choices as an excuse to attack and labels others. There are some values and traditions I respect because of my Christian faith, and because they are time honored, not specifically because they are in fact old.)
Neo-Confederacy also incorporates advocacy of traditional gender roles,  
(Well, I don't oppose female empowerment at all, though I do oppose misandry and radical feminism. I also happen to be a major proponent of strong female characters in novels and movies as role models for young women and girls.) 
is hostile towards democracy,  
(I support constitutional self-government as defined by the US Constitution, specifically the original Bill of Rights. I would not call that hostile towards the concept of democracy, but then again this is a Leftist definition of "hostile" so a suspension of common sense is required.) 
strongly opposes homosexuality, 
(Though I have little personal use for the more radical elements of the Gay Rights Movement - some of whom I feel have negative personal agendas that are more anti-religion than actually pro-equal rights - I do support equal treatment under the law for practicing LGBT people within certain reason....a subject I will have to delve into more thoroughly at a later date. That and I happen to be bisexual myself.)  
and exhibits an understanding of race that favors segregation and suggests white supremacy.  
(I have no love for legal segregation. Also both my Christian faith and scientific understanding of genetics thoroughly reject the concept of racial superiority - be it white supremacy, or the supremacy of any other so-called "race" as defined by skin color, or ethnic origins.)  
In many cases, neo-Confederates are openly secessionist.  
(Though I am facebook friends with several people who identify as Southern Nationalists I myself do not support secession from the United States of America and have spoken out against it on numerous occasions. Rather I am a Reagan Conservative who supports a restoration of American Constitutional self-government in its original form as defined by the original Bill of Rights. 
Regardless, I try to keep my support for Southern heritage and my political views separate except on occasions where the politics of the Opposition come into play.)
Neo-Confederacy has applied to groups including the United Daughters of the Confederacy of the 1920s and those resisting racial integration in the 1950s and 1960s.  
(Humm, that was a bit before my time and the UDC as an organization hasn't lived in a vacuum since the 1920s. Its modern-day members live in the 21st century, same as everyone else. Also I am fairly certain that few - if anyone - in the South was a proponent of secession from the United States in the 1920s.) 
In its most recent iteration, neo-Confederacy is used by both proponents and critics to describe a belief system that has emerged since the early-1980s in publications like Southern Partisan, Chronicles, and Southern Mercury, and in organizations including the League of the South, the Council of Conservative Citizens and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  
(I've been a proud SCV member since September 2001, and in all that time I have never witnessed any huge support for a vast neo-Confederate conspiracy. Just people who honor their ancestry, who clean graves, who raise money to preserve monuments and historic banners, and who jealously defend the memories of their ancestors from being bad-mouthed by modern politics and "historians" with a modern political and social agenda. )
Overall, it is a reactionary conservative ideology  
(Um, aren't all socially conservative ideals technically considered "reactionary" by the political Left in America? So does that make all conservatives in America and throughout the world "neo-Confederates?" Just asking.)  
that has made inroads into the Republican Party from the political right,  
(Pfft. Not the Republican Establishment Moderates I know. Those rich, blueblood, country club folks don't even like to remember that their constituents want less government and more personal freedom.)  
and overlaps with the views of white nationalists and other more radical extremist groups. 
(Well, every political or social philosophy has a tendency to be co-opted by radical extremist and racial identity groups in America. I've unfortunately seen far too many cases of that in America in recent years on both sides of the isle. That does not however equate to guilt by association. I don't believe that (for example) opposing legalized abortion means you approve of some lunatic who goes out and shoot abortion providers and bomb Planned Parenthood clinics. Good people are fairly qualified to judge for themselves who's a bad influence and who isn't - at least those who practice a good bit of common sense can.) 

Well, there you have it. Going by the specific "official" definition of the term "neo-Confederate" as defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and comparing my own personal views, I am satisfied in saying that I am not a Neo-Confederate, and that people who casually throw the term around to label Southern heritage proponents are officially full of shit.

Still, I suspect that some anti-Southern heritage drone will come along in the future come pre-packaged with a nice little cut-and-paste talking point expansion of how a so-called "neo-Confederate" is defined and again try to throw the label at me like a good little mind-numbed little anti-Southern heritage reactionary. 

Bring it on. I have nothing to hide and look forward to throwing your presumptions back in your faces.

As I said before, I am just a simple country writer from South Carolina, a proud descendant of a Confederate soldier who died in defense of his home and family in an ugly war that I feel should never have happened, and a proud defender of that aspect of my Southern identity....and I am also unashamed to say that for the record.

Have a lovely weekend y'all.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

American Veteran The Target Of Ignorance

I sincerely hope that this post helps raise awareness about US military veterans and the folly of prejudging stereotypes about them.

On Friday, January 18th, Mary Claire Caine, finished grocery shopping at a Harris Teeter in Willington, North Carolina.

Her car was parked in one of the reserved "Veteran Parking" spaces that the grocery store chain provides for those who served our nation. As a veteran of the US Air Force who served in Kuwait and on the flight line of the F-117 Nighthawk, Caine of course has every right to park there.

However, when she returned to her car and finished unloading the groceries from her cart, she noticed a note taped to the passenger window, written on sharpie.

It reads: 

Yeah, this "Wounded Vet" despite being able to print decently couldn't have been bothered to spell-check his work at the beginning. Oh well.

Caine was devastated to say the least. No one had ever questioned her qualification for parking in that space before, until now.

"The first thing I felt was confusion that there was a mistake, and that I had to talk to this person and ask them why they were so quick to assume I wasn't a veteran and that I was taking privileges that didn't belong to me," said Cane.

She continues. "For a split second I thought, 'Am I a worthy enough veteran to park in this spot?' And then I got very angry at myself for even considering that."

Instead of tearing up the note and throwing it away, Caine waited by her car for a few minutes, hoping that the note's author would emerge from the sliding doors of the grocery store to talk to her. Nobody came.

Because she was a woman, and her car is donned with real estate agent information on the back rather than the armed services bumper stickers, it's clear that the author of the note drew a wrongful and hurtful conclusion about Caine.

"I think they took one look at me when I got out of  my car and saw that I was a woman and assumed I wasn't a veteran and assumed I hadn't served my country," Caine speculated. "They have this image of what today's American veteran is and honestly if you've served in the United States military, you know that veterans come in all shapes and sizes. I question whether the person who left the note was fully aware of that."

Caine herself knows that the likelihood of ever finding out who left the note and was so quick to judge her by her appearance is slim to none -- unless the store has surveillance videos of the parking lot -- but she hopes her experience will teach a lesson to other people who may have wondered the same thing about a female veteran, or any other veteran that doesn't fit the stereotypical image they hold to.

"I want them to know they owe me and every other female service member who's fighting now and who's fought in the past, an apology for jumping to conclusions," Caine said passionately. "It's true what the soldiers missing in action slogan is: 'All gave some and some gave all.' And, I think that's very important that sacrifice is sacrifice and I earned the title as a veteran and I'm proud of that."

Well said, ma'am!

Since the story broke over a week ago, there has been an outpouring of support for Caine.

A Harris Teeter Spokeswoman Danna Jones wrote in a statement: 
"Harris Teeter shoppers write, call, tweet and post to us that they loves these spaces, and we were disappointed to learned what occurred with Ms. Caine. Our teams are in the process of reaching out to Ms. Caine, so we can offer her a token of our appreciation as well as thank her for her service and for shopping at Harris Teeter."  

Caine said in a statement that she appreciates people offering her gifts, but asks that people consider donating to the Wounded Warrior Project instead.

That is true class ladies and gentlemen, something that the author of the note clearly knows nothing about. I myself personally question if the author of the note actually was a "wounded veteran" rather than just some bitter little nobody who goes out of their way to key car doors and attack anyone they feel is an "easy target" for their own twisted sense of amusement. I personally hope that is the case rather than the alternative, but regardless Ms. Caine handled the situation as reasonably well as anyone else in her situation.

I myself served in the US Navy briefly - five months before being honorably discharged for medical reasons. Legally I may be entitled to veterans benefits, but I never take them because I personally don't feel that I've ever done enough to earn them since I was had only just finished basic training and was at school when I was unable to continue to serve this country of ours.  For me, it's not just enough to wear the uniform, you also have to earn it through full enlistment service, if not actual combat.

It sickens and disgusts me whenever someone dishonors a veteran, or speaks ill of those who volunteered to serve this country. It's worse when someone poses as a veteran to take advantage of the few privileges that individuals who fought for American freedom receive. Such people deserve to be exposed and humiliated whenever they are encountered.

I hold our soldiers and veterans - both living and dead - in the highest regard and speak out to support them whenever I can. It is because of those men and women (and in some cases service dogs) that we live in an (allegedly) free country today. That we are able to enjoy those barbeques on US Memorial Day and those fireworks - and yes more barbeque - on the Fourth of July.

Those people - those veterans who come on all shapes, sizes, and genders - who volunteered to serve, to protect and defend America deserve our appreciation and our respect.

On a final note, as Ms. Caine pointed out selflessly, there are real wounded veterans out there who still need plenty of support. On my blog page is a link to the Wounded Warriors Project. Support our American Veterans. And to Ms. Caine, and all other veterans of the United States Armed Forces, thank you for your service to this country and to its people. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lee-Jackson Day 2015 In Lexington, Virginia

Strategy and Tactics by artist Mort Kunstler.
Jackson & Lee's last meeting the night of May 1, 1863 before the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia.

On Saturday, January 17, I had the honor to attend the annual Lee-Jackson Day Services and Parade in Lexington, Virginia.

Lee-Jackson Day is a holiday recognized across the American South. The holiday is celebrated in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. It is known as "Confederate Heroes Day" in the State of Texas. 

The holiday was originally celebrated in Virginia in 1889 to honor the birthday of Confederate General Robert E. Lee who was born on January 19. 1807. The holiday was put into effect during the administration of Governor Fitzhugh Lee who was a nephew of the general. In 1904 the holiday was changed to include a tribute to General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson who was born on January 21, 1824. The change was made under the administration of Governor Andrew Jackson Montague.

Lee-Jackson Day has been honored in Lexington since the late 19th century. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), the United Confederate Veterans (UCV), and the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) have sponsored events to honor Lee and Jackson in Lexington. It seems only befitting that various celebrations and events have been held to honor the birthdays of the generals in their final home and resting place: Jackson is buried in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery near the Virginia Military Institute where Jackson taught before the War Between The States (1861- 1865) and Lee is buried in a family crypt beneath Lee Memorial Chapel on the grounds of Washington and Lee University. Today the event is held near the state holiday and sponsored by the Stonewall Brigade Camp #1296 Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The following are photos taken at that event beginning with the memorial service at Jackson's grave site and ending at Washington And Lee University.  

Yours Truly Standing At General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's Grave And Family Plot.
General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson And General Robert E. Lee Reenactors.
Lee The General Meets Lee The Educator. 
US General Ulysses S. Grant And CSA General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
Former US Representative and Dukes Of Hazzard Star Ben "Cooter" Jones.
Other Graves Of Confederate Soldiers Buried In Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.
Me And Susan Hathaway Of The Virginia Flaggers.
Me And My Brother Alex. 
Preparing For The Wreath Laying Ceremony.
Jackson's Grave And Family Plot After The Wreath Laying Ceremony.
I Can Never Quite Get Them When They Shoot. Oh Well.
Me And Union General U.S. Grant reenactor.
Large Southern Cross Battle Flag.
Outstanding Shot Of Banner Honoring Lee With Battle Flag.
Furling The Large Flag Till Next Year.
Parade Ends Near Lexington Presbyterian Church.
Banner In Honor Of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday With US Flag.
Me Posing With Flag On The Grounds Of Washington And Lee University.
Washington And Lee University
Lee Chapel - The Final Resting Place Of General Robert E. Lee.
Final Resting Place Of Lee's Horse Traveler Next To The Chapel.
Me Posing With Flag At The Chapel (Closed For Repairs).

It was a great pleasure to celebrate the lives of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson with fellow Confederate descendants and friends I know from facebook and other social media sites who traveled there from all over the American Southland and East Coast to attend.

For me honoring Lee-Jackson Day was not about celebrating the War itself, or modern-day politics. It was about honoring the everlasting memories of General's Lee and Jackson and the Confederate soldiers who fought and died serving under these two honorable men. Though I do not respect war, or the death and destruction that came with it, I was out of respect their lives, their courage in the face of overwhelming odds, and their significant role in the Southern historical heritage that I traveled so far to celebrate.