Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When They Tell You Who They Are...

Because I don't know who said this, but I think it was Maya Angelou, let me say for the record that I am quoting, or maybe misquoting someone. If that someone happens to read this, please forgive me and understand I fully got the essence of what you were saying, enough so that I remember what was said. "When someone tells you who they are, believe them."

"I'm not good enough for you." "I am weak." "I drink too much." You can fill in the blanks for yourself. We've all heard stories about friends, or it happened to you, where someone tried to tell you who they were and you said, "No, it's okay." Or, "You don't really mean that," better yet, "No, that's not true. I know you and you are much better than that." (Subtext here, I know you better than you know yourself.)

What does this have to do with Musing on the New South, you may ask? Let me ask that you stay with me a minute as I try to connect the dots for myself.

The nation seems to be experiencing a serious case of apoplexy about the President, hidden behind a political meltdown about health care, which is really a trojan horse for the right wing to kill the President's agenda in an attempt to retake the house and senate in 2010. (You would think he was elected by a thin margin rather than the beat down he gave his opponent.) But I digress.

At any rate. Everyone knows that for the past thirty plus years, the heart and soul of the Republican party, their little people salt of the earth base, versus their big people big money base, has been based here in the South. These are the folks that will send their last twenty dollars, or five dollars when their cages are rattled with lies of "Death Panels," "Your tax dollars paying for abortion," "Your tax dollars paying for illegal immigrants," and heaven forfend, "He wants to take your guns away from you." Since the 1970's the envelopes with money just came pouring in.

It grew out of their Southern strategy that married money to divisive social issues that would, they thought, give them a permanent majority in Washington. That's not speculation on my part, in their hubris and arrogance, and complete disregard for people because it is all about winning at any cost, they stated publicly, loudly, and often, that they now had a permanent majority.

There is a cowboy element to Southern culture, as least as it has been promulgated by the media. (As with anything in media, take it with a huge pillar of salt. If more folks took that attitude about images of Black folks in the media...) But I digress. There seems to be a part of the culture that is steeped in guns, the bible, and militarism. So when someone says, "I am a proud right wing terrorist," in a public meeting, and the congressman elected to the US congress, sworn to uphold the constitution nods, smiles, and cheers the guy on....WTF (This is one of those down the rabbit hole moments.)

It happened at a town hall meeting in California last week. In an earlier post I noted that California is both one of the most progressive and regressive places all once. (It is a very schizophrenic state in fact.) But it could just as easily have happened here. And I have not one iota of doubt that the guy in California voiced what many gun wearing, rage filled, lost in the wilderness what the hell happened to my place in the sun, scared, mainly white men are feeling.

And as I think Maya said, "When someone tells you who they are, believe them." I believe that guy. I hope that the FBI, or Justice, or whoever is tracking all of this stuff, with all the billions of dollars we spent on computer programs, and hardware and software, and satellite tracking, to know every piece of information about everyone, (remember the Total Information project as part of the Homeland Security act?), I hope that someone shows up at this guys door. Tomorrow morning. First thing. Do not stop, pass go, straight to his home. You don't even have to look hard because his name was made public already.

If Timothy McVeigh had stood up and shouted, I'm a proud right wing terrorist, in this environment he may have been given a parade with a marching band and all. Hell, Rush Limbaugh would probably give him the keys to the city. Really, I mean it. And what does that tell you about how far the right is willing to go?


  1. Keryl...The quote you are looking for is from Maya Angelou..."When someone shows you who they are...Believe them..." Best brought to light in Tyler Perry's Madea goes to Jail the stage play. The context was and always will be about our inability to see someone for who and what they are no matter how many times they shown us. We keep waiting for the representative that we want to show up so that we can accept that representative as the true person. We refuse to accept that crazy is crazy. That mean spirited and selfish really truly is mean spirited and selfish. We want to find the "good" in everyone and hold on to that one portion of who they are and make that portion the sum total of the presentation of the person in question. Taking all that has been presented, good, bad, warts and all...well, no one's interested in that part of the person. It's a testimony to your insight into a person like McVeigh and others that you can "see" them for you they have shown you themselves to be...and you know where the line in the sand is...and you like so many of us...say...nawww...I'm good...that line is there for a reason and I didn't lose NOTHING...notice I did not say ANYTHING....I do mean NOTHING on that side of the line...
    Good day to you...I'm

  2. sorry...and you can "see" them as they have shown you themselves to be..and you know where the line in the sand is...

  3. The irony here, or maybe just the interesting thing, is that these guys are not skulking around corners, plotting and hiding, using cryptic coded language. I'll give it to them. They are saying just what they think, feel, believe.

    While were are all having a good time trying to live our lives as best we can, we'd all do well to keep one eye focused on these boys because they are not playing. Really, they're not. (Having written that above, an image of Mad Eye Moody comes to my mind. I know, I know, I'm ill.)