Political Notes From the South

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Political Notes from the South

Usually, I try to avoid talking about current events on this blog. They don’t have much of a place here, it only starts a lot of unpleasant arguing, and, frankly, most of them are painted in such lurid colors across the media canvas I hardly feel the need to add my own voice into the mix.

But I DO have something to say about all this Confederate Flag nonsense.

Let me start off with a little autobiography. I’m a woman, twenty seven years old. I have traveled north of the Mason-Dixon line twice in my life, and I’ve spent a total of three days–THREE days out of the roughly 9,500 I’ve been alive–outside the South. I haven’t received an especially rigorous education. My family isn’t especially progressive, or especially regressive. Nobody’s a flaming racist (well, nobody much, and certainly not me). I’ve lived a fairly normal life, for someone south of the Mason-Dixon.

I–and most of the people I know down here–think flying the Confederate Flag is pretty dumb.

I do NOT think the Confederate Flag stands for bravery, or loyalty, or anything much except a war that should’ve been over 150 years ago, and has been romanticized, perfumed, and anointed far beyond its use except as a lesson in history books, drowsed over by kids more interested in what they’re having for lunch than class content.

I do think people (individuals, please read) have the right to FLY the Confederate flag outside their own homes. I think it’s a pointless and moronic thing to do, and, yes, a racist thing to do as well. However, letting your freak flag fly is a right protected by the first amendment, as is my right to tell you you’re a moron.

But that’s all whatever. Because, in spite of some of the alarmist stuff I’ve been seeing, I don’t think anyone much is interested in repealing your first amendment rights and ‘banning’ the Confederate flag. Stores have taken it off their shelves? Well, tough, that’s their right. And what goes up in front of government buildings is a matter for the government to decide, and has no bearing on the first amendment. God, people, get it together. Not everything you dislike is an attempt to take away your freedom.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. All that shit’s been said to death, and I’m tired of all of it.

What I’m here to say–PLEASE stop assuming this nasty mess gives you the right to blanket-refer to an entire region of the country as rednecks, hillbillies, hicks, morons, undereducated, etc.

Please, Jesus.

I don’t give a shit about my ‘heritage’ as a Southerner. But that’s not what you’re attacking, when you say ‘all Southerners this’ and ‘Southerners that’–when you say those things, you’re attacking me, as a person who happens through pure accident of birth to live in the South.

I’ve seen plenty of questionably-spelled post-vomit coming from our nothern states. Plenty of racism, plenty of ugliness, plenty of stupid. I wouldn’t say you assholes up there are, en masse, any smarter than us assholes down here.

No, none of your rejects are clinging to a Confederate flag. Of course they aren’t–you guys won that war, remember? This does not, however, mean your rejects are all shining examples of human equality and compassion. They just don’t have a handy banner to unite behind for the Great Moron Crusade that is our current century.

So yeah. Flying the Confederate flag is dumb. I’m not arguing with you here. Hell, I’ll join you in calling the people who do it idiots.

However.

We’re not all racist morons. We’re not all undereducated, ignorant, inbred, potbellied, alcoholic, all those other fun labels your blowhards have been flinging like poo-laden orangutans all over the internet. As someone who’s pretty proud of her brain, seeing this blanketing happen just makes me grit my teeth.

So please. Please. Don’t lump all of us in with those flag-waving dickheads. All right? Can you do that for me?

Otherwise, I want you to take that piece of lox slathered bagel you’ve been munching and blow it out your Yankee ass.

Got it? See how not fun that is? How totally not cool? I feel a little bad for saying those things, even as an example.

However.

Call me ignorant one more time. I fucking dare you. But if you do it, here’s the deal–any arguing we do in the comments thread will be conducted in sonnet form. Petrarchan, because I hate you and want you to think better. If you get me mad enough, we’ll move to sestinas. FULL sestinas.

The first person to break meter probably fucks his own sister in the mud patch outside his doublewide. I mean, obviously. You’re from whatever arbitrary place in the world you’re from, so that’s what you’re about, right?

A Poem About Gun Control

At home today. Therefore, wrote poem about guns and how I feel about them. Obviously, I’m a pro-gun kind of lady. For unusual reasons.

Dear media,

bore me with guns.
Give me guns on parade,
in marching band.
Give me gun coupons, gun promos.
Two for one guns
at the supermarket,
kept in back
with the lettuce
and endives.

Give my Aunt Mabel guns,
though she’s incontinent
and wall-eyed
and mightily fond of cats.

Give guns to my parents,
so they can think of them fondly
over boxed wine
and low-calorie snack mix
when the fire burns down
and there are no more dishes to be done.

Give guns to my grandparents.
Film them complaining
about the rising cost
of bullets.

Give guns to the teenagers.
Make them wake up early on Saturday
for Firearms Ed.
Make them stress about
the gun safety portion
of their SATs. Make them groan
when it’s their turn to shoot.

Make a pile of them
in the office
on a rainy day:
“.38s Lost and Found.”

Have nobody claim them,
mixed in with sweatshirts
and bookbags
and cheap sunglasses.

Give guns to my accountant
so she can think about capping me
on April 14th
and decide, hopefully,
not to do it. I’ve been late so often
she deserves the opportunity.

Give guns to substitute teachers,
bakers, pharmacists,
golfers. People who’ll forget about them,

give them homes in dusty closets
under swim noodles
and the Christmas wreath
asleep in its plastic bag.

Choke us with guns.
Make our blood run steel
and our autumns
smell like black powder.

Do this
so that some day
a gun in the first act
means a walk home after the fair
because the sunset is lovely

and nobody gives two shits
where the gun is.