More Ruminations of a Redneck Progressive
©2012 Kirby Sanders
Chatting with my back-fence neighbor, J.H., of a recent morning. It was a typical Southern scenario – two old men leaning on the fence solving the sins of an uncaring world for lack of anything better to do. It was early-on and neither of us was exactly dressed for the day. Both of us were shirtless – had just dragged on our drawers and gone to do some meaningless back yard chore when we spotted one another. Me with my scars hung out in front of God and everybody. J.H. in his britches and braces, his well-earned beer belly equally out there.
“So,” says J.H., “You know why a redneck murder is so hard to solve?”
“No,” says I. “I can’t rightly say as I do.”
“ ‘Cause there ain’t no teeth in the dead man’s head and the DNA is same as everybody else in town.”
We laughed and scratched over that one a bit. Then J.H. unwittingly said something inspired.
“Funniest thing happened the other day,” says J.H. “I was talking to another fellow. I was talking about being drowned in doctor bills – how I wished there was a better way to get help when you get sick – and he tells me ‘You sound like a damned Liberal!’”
“Well, J.H.,” says I, “Coulda been worse. He coulda said you sound like a Communist.”
“I suppose so,” says J.H. “But I never seen myself as a Liberal. I just think there’s a better way for a working man who gets sick or down on his luck to get better. Seems like there should be a way where we don’t leave folks behind. Where we all carry each other forward when need be. Something more Progressive.”
Says I, “Progressive – that’s a word I use. I’m not a Liberal. I don’t trust Liberals. They are squishy, unreliable and too far to the right. If I am a Liberal, you’d have to call me an ‘Eisenhower Liberal’.”
“That’s what I mean,” says J.H. “The so-called Liberals have some good ideas and the so-called Conservatives have some good ideas – but they are so busy screaming at each other that nothing gets done. Working folks and poor kids and the old folks are being left behind like seed sewn on the rocks and all people do about it is scream at each other. Sometimes I’m a Liberal and sometimes I’m a Conservative, but ultimately I’m a Pragmatist. Ya do what works and what we’re doing isn’t working. There’s gotta be a better way. A fair way for everybody.”
“Damn, J.H.”, says I, “I think you just defined the term ‘Progressive’. That’s kind of important.”
“Maybe so”, says J.H. “I guess I better go put a shirt on.”
“Yeah,” says I. “Me too. You have a good day now.”
Two old men leaning on the fence solving the sins of an uncaring world for lack of anything better to do.