Today, I received a chain-letter in my inbox that just struck me as the most self-serving, self-righteous B.S. It was the flint that sparked this project. Here it is, in it's entirety:
Subject: Fw: You might be a redneck...seriously
We have enjoyed redneck jokes for years. It's time to take a reflective look at the core beliefs of a culture that values home, family, country and God.
If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I'd choose a half dozen or so rednecks to have my back.
I hope I am one of those. If you feel the same, pass this on to your redneck riends. Ya`ll know who ya are...
You might be a redneck if. . .
It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, "One nation, under God. . "
You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.
You still say "Christmas" instead of "The Holidays."
You bow your head when someone prays.
You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem. Tears may even come to your eyes when the Anthem is done right.
You treat all veterans with great respect, and always have.
You've never burned or shown disrespect for an American flag.
You respect your elders and expect youngsters to do the same.
You see red when another country says we are a greedy, self-serving nation.
If you got this email from me, it's because I believe that you, like me, may have some redneck in you.
Normally, I just delete them. But I have observed that they do have an amplifying effect on the attitudes and ideas that are gaining currency by one avenue or another, and I've always felt that it just isn't right to let them go unanswered. So, I answered this one. And, after I did, I felt such a catharsis from it, that I was inspired to start this project. You will find my answer below the fold. (I've edited it ever so slightly since I clicked "reply all" to the chain letter. Invariably, we always think of something we want to say differently... so this is the mildly edited version)...
You might be a good ole’ boy (or gal) if…
Redneck jokes are fun because they are self-deprecatory. Every once in a while, someone – usually a politician – decides that it’s time for his constituency to pat itself on the back for being “better” than his political opposition. I think it’s time to look for ways that we the people: whether rural, urban, or suburban; black, white, or other; Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or secular… can all be “good ole boys… or gals…”
If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threatened my life, I’d like to have some good ole boys … or gals… at my back.
I hope I am one of those. If you feel the same, pass this on to others who might have a similar hope. Ya’ll know who you are…
You might be a good ole boy (or gal) if…
It never occurred to you to flaunt your religious viewpoint through government institutions in hopes of offending a political opponent, or promoting your religious views over your neighbors'. As a matter of fact, you don't feel your God needs government help at all.
Whether you say “Christmas” or “the Holidays” is less important than whether you spend it with people you love.
You are respectful of others’ religious practices while you are in their company, even if you disagree with their religious views.
You enjoy the national anthem because you are patriotic. You also don’t bitch about, or try to avoid paying, your fair share of taxes to keep that nation strong. You don’t let sentimentality over the anthem substitute for voting, or for trying to help build a country where everyone is safe, and has equal opportunity, and where we take care of our own the very best we can.
You treat veterans with respect. And firefighters. And police. And teachers. And sanitation workers. And…
You’ve never desecrated the spirit of America: peacefulness, liberty, and equality before the law.
You respect your elders, and you try to teach youngsters to do the same by word and example.
You look for ways that the U.S. can be more generous, and you recognize that our prosperity is worth more the more we use it to make the world a livable place for everyone. You never feel self-satisfied to the point that you are insulted when others feel that the government acting on our behalf is sometimes greedy or self-serving.
If you got this e-mail from me, it isn’t because I think I have a lot of “good ole boy” in me… it’s because I think we all have the potential to.
If you get a copy of the first chain-letter, I hope you will send a reply with a more positive slant back up the chain. Feel free to use mine. If you compose your own, leave it in the comments here...Posted by smijer at January 11, 2005 05:27 PM