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Written By: Bill Colley
Posted: Nov. 10th, 2012
Following Election Day this past week I was reading the opinion pages of the Washington Post and am saddened my kind and I are now considered obsolete. Several columnists are weighing in about the end of “white America” and its privilege. Having grown up in a rural American culture I’m not at all sure about the privilege and never once did I see what I would define as cultural pathology.
I’m sharing two stories today. The first is somewhat lengthier and at times reflects a longing for things past. The second is more timely, immediate and brief and a warning for the future.
My radio station has a pair of consultants named John and Larry. I think the world of both of them. They can tell stories of days when radio was a much more freewheeling opportunity and a serious outlet for creative people both on-air and off-air. John likes baseball (his team just won another World Series) and Larry likes football (an injury ended Larry’s professional career). They have very similar ancestral roots and understand there aren’t many shortcuts to success. After a conversation with Larry one morning after Election Day I was driving home and remembering the character of the people with whom I was surrounded growing up. I played organized football but not nearly as well as Larry and long before organized football we played ball in empty fields and quite often in a rail yard.
Sometimes we played a game called “two hand touch” that quickly devolved into “two hand shove” and then we just decided to resume tackling without pads and helmets. We played as freight trains ambled by and we played on the rocks and cinders where the rail workers sometimes parked for temporary track maintenance. Across the street was an old train station, like a movie set, where legend held the people of town had piled rocks on the tracks until a passenger on a train came out and delivered a speech. Daniel Webster obliged and his train got clearance to move. A few decades later Theodore Roosevelt passed nearby on a spur shortly after being sworn in as President. I believe his predecessor was aboard the train as well, dressed in black and packed in a box.
We no longer had time for much football when we got jobs. Everybody wanted a car and in the case of my social circle mom and dad didn’t buy one and make it a gift. We got jobs we walked to and we earned money and later we bought a car, insurance and gasoline. I had friends buying new Ford pickup trucks. They had been saving since they were little boys and put away all their newspaper money for the big day.
Cars and trucks were liberating. A bicycle could take me across town. Now I could reach the next town. Some of the guys were able to take on additional work because they could drive greater distances. One later used his savings to renovate his grandfather’s old dairy barn and launch a new operation. It’s still in business today but on a much more massive scale with additional land and barns. The guy with the farming dream was my best friend. He was a very serious fellow but also had quite a whimsical side. On a trip to a national FFA convention in Kansas City he met a young lady who caught his fancy and he saw stars when he discovered she lived just a few towns away from where we called home.
One cold winter night and on the spur of a moment he wanted to go look her up and locate her family’s farm. We drove a great many dark and snowy miles and didn’t find the place. Some guys would’ve been depressed but not Ron. He had a phrase from farm sales: “You’ve got to go to a lot of auctions before you find a bargain.” Driving home he became distracted. We passed an empty laundry with lights on, doors open and empty chairs. The chairs were lined up along the windows and if someone had been waiting for clothes drying you would’ve only seen an upper half. Ron turned the car around. “Let’s go inside, sit down and take our shirts off,” he suggested. Later when I shared the story with another friend I got a one word answer with the laughter. “Warped!” he said.
The newspaper columnists are writing obituaries for a way of life they describe as similar to the elite privilege of Rhodesia or apartheid South Africa. Just who is warped here? I don’t have any recollections of cricket or polo matches during childhood weekends. On winter nights it was bone-chilling cold and the draft through the house sometimes startled you awake and you clutched the blankets more tightly before falling back to sleep. No one ever heard of heating assistance and it would’ve been an even colder day in hell before my folks would’ve accepted a handout. My buddy continues feeding tens of thousands of people by getting up before dawn every day and heading for a barn. He hasn’t had a day off since some back surgery in 1981, however. He has distractions. Bureaucrats demand constant access to his properties and require him to submit to constant review. Fuel costs are eating away at a future he planned to pass along to his son. For nearly 180 years a direct blood line has been farming some of the property and it may soon end.
The newspaper columnists are writing about privilege ending. What, the privilege of 30 years without a day away from work? The Sweet brothers bought their Ford pickups with cash while still in high school because they were up every morning delivering papers in snow storms, drenching rains and sometimes high-winds. They were also cutting wood and any other odd jobs they could find and when the school bell rang they were in their seats and ready for class. What is it about this lifestyle that so annoys liberals?
I’ve a suggestion for the so-called freedom fighters in establishment media. Every day I read stories about speed cameras, regulations and now a nearby city planning to install listening devices on city buses. Better for Big Brother to monitor the deprived it claims to serve. A fellow called my radio show just this Friday and told me he’d written a terse email to our Governor. Shortly thereafter the writer received a telephone call from an investigator demanding to know if the constituent was planning violence. “Did I make any threats?” asked the constituent. “No,” replied Big Brother, “but we need to be cautious.” This is the third such story I’ve heard in a handful of months. The public servants are intimidating and silencing critics.
Big media this week is focused on the smashing victory over the evil elites on dairy farms, in small towns and anyone driving an F-150. Our twisted culture of head-knocking football, hard work and self-reliance is apparently on the run. And it can only run so far. Big Brother is watching!