As I am sure you know, life is full of surprises. Some of these surprises are good and some are bad, depending on how they affect us. Here is a surprise I had just recently. If someone had asked me the question, "Are you a redneck?" I would have said, "No way." I am much too cultured for that. I have always thought a redneck was someone who went through life with more brawn than brains. I realize here that I have to be careful because I may be getting close to offending some of my friends. However, after reading something I received by email the other day, I may be a redneck after all. Please read the following and see how you feel about this question.
The article begins with an interesting observation: "If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I would choose a half dozen or so rednecks to back me up. Tire irons, squirrel guns and grit ... that’s what rednecks are made of. Then the author admonishes me to pass this along to my redneck friends. Then he makes a statement that may not be true: Y’all know who you are. You may not know, so that is why I made the decision to write this column.
As you read the following statements, see if your opinion changes as has mine.
"You might be a redneck if:
It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, ‘One nation, under God.’
You still say Christmas instead of ‘winter festival.’
You bow your head when someone prays.
You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem.
You treat our armed forces veterans with great respect, and always have.
You’ve never burned an American flag, nor intend to.
You know what you believe and you aren’t afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.
You respect your elders and raised your kids to do the same. Some of you are so old you don’t have elders to respect.
You’d give your last dollar to a friend.
You believe in God and Jesus, and believe that others have the right to believe in whichever God they believe in as long as their God does not tell them to kill anyone that does not believe the same as they do."
Well, that’s the end of it but as I said earlier, after reading this article I have changed my mind about being a redneck, at least the redneck presented in this article, because I believe in each of the things it talked about. While I have no way of knowing, I suspect you believe in these things as well. The reason I can make this statement is simple, at least to me, because they are mainstream American values.
At this point I would like to share a few ideas that I hope you will think about. When I write each of my columns, while I don’t always say it, my whole philosophy is based on respect for others, their opinions, values and beliefs. I may not always agree, but I respect each person’s right to hold them and to express them, so long as they do not take away someone else’s rights. A great man once said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy." The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
(Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com. You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)