Civil Rights: A Common Ground

By Faddy Mac Mough
Doncha Know

In a editorial that was entitled: “One More Reader on ‘Rednecks’ and
Immigrants, with Reply” there are a couple of things I’d like to respond to on BOTH sides of
the argument.

First off, Redneck seems to be one of those terms that depend heavily on
who is saying it. As a white man, my use of the n-word would set
off a huge debate … with all sorts of recriminations. Likewise
redneck … one uses it at ones own peril … even among fellow
rednecks. I have some cousins with necks so red they could compete with
traffic lights … and they call themselves rednecks with a certain
amount of pride.

But when someone else calls them a redneck, them’s fightin’ words. They even get wound up tight as a spring if I use the word because, since I am somewhat educated, I am not in the same class of people with them. I am, and have always been, an outcast … a black
sheep … in my own family. So, the point is that the word can be used
as a denigrating epithet … or as a self-describing term of pride …
dependent solely on who is using it and the attendant meanings thereby
attached.

Secondly, our anonymous friend does have some decent points (which in
all fairness you were gracious enough to acknowledge in your reply).
Alas, he is a victim of a propaganda machine that has always kept people
divided through scapegoating especially when things start going to hell
in a hand basket!

Growing up it was ‘g**ks’ and ‘commies’ who were the
threat any time there was either economic or political turmoil. Well,
since the ‘commies’ have sort of dissipated and we lost to the ‘g**ks’
in more ways than one … now we are told to fear the ‘immigrants’ and
the ‘terrorists.’ It is the same argument … just different words
being used. And, we fall for it because way down deep inside we can’t
tolerate, and thus can’t believe, that our own government would lie to
us. Well, it does … and it has … and it will.

Third, you tried to turn the words back on the writer of the bit about
your not understanding rednecks. As a redneck, and one with leftist
tendencies, I know we are a complicated lot. Just as people of African
background don’t agree on some issues at all … consider the mild,
milquetoast disagreements between Jamala Rogers and Rice on foreign
policy … and you begin to see how extensive the fault lines are.
Sadly, it is the fault lines that are the root cause of the battles …
and meanwhile we watch the empire collapse under its own weight.

Now, from my angle down here in the slop at the bottom of society it
seems to me this is exactly what the power elite wants us to do: bicker
over all sorts of names and name-calling, real and perceived.

The Texas Civil Rights Review should, of all organizations, realize what is at
stake … but we get so damned caught up in the bickering … that civil
rights of one person being abrogated is civil rights abrogated for all.
Fer gawd’s sake that is exactly what makes my voice worth printing in
the TCRR, in spite of living in New Mexico, in the first place. What
makes me tick is what makes other people tick … despite race or class
or any of that other stuff we are conditioned to worry about.

I’m sure that in the last half of the 19th century when my grandfather
left Scotland for Canada, then walked across the border into the United
States he was an illegal alien … and that there were those who felt he
‘took’ their job, or put a strain on social services.

He became a citizen by default … he never did go through the process of becoming a
citizen … he like so many others worked to get rid of his accent, and
to blend right in. Because he was productive, nobody probably noticed
and if those that did noticed they didn’t care. The question was then,
as now, was he a human being and deserving of all of the rights and
privileges thereby appertaining? Sure the local hospital was stressed
by him during the last few years of his life as he died slowing and
painfully from cancer. But, the hospital was a municipal agency and the
citizens supported it because they needed a hospital.

Toward the end, he was indigent, his wife barely hanging on by taking in boarders, but
there was no hue and cry to export him. Now? Now that corporate
profits are at stake, we get all dandered up because ‘indigents’ and
‘immigrants’ use the corporate, for profit, insurance abusing hospitals
and we’ve all been suckered into wanting to blame someone so the
immigrant becomes the target of our concerns.

Similarly when wages plunge and Americans refuse to do the work, we end
up with a whole system that starts blaming immigrants for low salaries
… but what about the corporate fat cats who continue to make obscenely
huge salaries and compensation for holding down wages in the first
place, and off shoring whatever they can so that stuff is cheap? Worse,
then they get us all riled up because the cheap shit they import makes
us sick, or worse (though maybe being dead is sometimes a lot less
miserable than being sick), and nothing can be done because they’ve
colluded with that ‘wonderful’ government of ours to deregulate as much
as they can?

So, where is the common ground?

I’d argue that it is the civil rights of us all … with the caveat that
using terms to describe each other are the quickest way I know of to
fall into the trap of bickering while our lives are being raped.
Whether a redneck likes it or not, he is in the same pot with the
immigrant. We have far more common issues than we have differences …

The question is, how do we define those issues so we all benefit?
Allowing the process to continue only makes sense if we acknowledge that
the total and complete collapse of the US would benefit all Americans.
I refuse to worry about those who might lose large fortunes … most of
them can not only afford to abandon ship, but have already done so.

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