Confessions of a cracker

MY GRANDPARENTS were born in the 1890s and late 1880s, about 25 short years after the Civil War ended, and they were Southern to the bone.

They were, as am I, Georgia Crackers, but that’s not as simple a thing as you might think.

It’s popular these days to remove statues of Civil War participants, done with the silly notion they were all evil people, but they were not. Gen. Lee, for instance, opposed slavery, but he joined Confederate forces because he wouldn’t fight his native Virginia.

His dilemma was a 19th Century version of “it’s complicated.”

As a youngster I spent far more time with my maternal grandparents than with my father’s folks due to physical proximity, my mother being an only child, and my father not being overly fond of his own father, a Baptist deacon.

As a result I know nothing about my paternal grandparents’ racial attitudes, though I suspect they were extremely liberal, even from a modern perspective. They took Christian values very much to heart. There was nothing hypocritical about them.

My mother’s parents were another matter. My maternal grandfather died when I was 12, so I had little first-hand experience with him, which I did have, quite a lot, with my maternal grandmother who didn’t die till I was 22.

Of my four grandparents, my favorite by far was my maternal grandmother whose name was Osie Moree Powell. I spent weeks, sometimes months, alone with her on her South Georgia farm during school vacations when I was an adolescent.

There were two double beds in the bedroom. They were situated head to head with a small walk space between, and the two heads were beside an open window where we slept summer nights with an incoming breeze and the sound of crickets.

Confederate_Flag_3650She had two full-time employees for decades. One was the maid, Willie. The other was the handyman, Cap. They lived as man and wife in a house owned by my grandmother. It was down the road a piece.

The house down the road aspired to being a shack. Its unpainted, wooden walls were sieves, and it leaned ominously on brick footings. When I was about 15, my grandmother built them a new house almost directly across the clay road from her own home. She built this simple but sturdy house because she cared about them.

Willie was like part of our family when I was growing up, and my grandmother took care of all her needs. She took care of Cap’s too, which included bailing him out of jail after his frequent weekend benders. Cap was fond of bourbon.

My grandmother owned a Ford sedan. Sometimes, she would need Cap for a chore elsewhere, perhaps in nearby Sylvester, the town. They would get into the Ford, her up front driving, Cap sitting in the back seat, just like in buses in those times.

Driving Miss Daisy but with the roles reversed.

I cannot imagine that she told Cap to sit in the back seat, but he did, and she never indicated that he should do otherwise. It’s just how things were.

Though my grandmother was the sweetest woman imaginable, beloved by all, especially me, she reflected her times. I once asked her how she would view a daughter marrying a black man. She said she’d prefer the daughter be dead, and she meant it.

I grew up in segregated public schools. There were no black classmates though I did not finish high school till 1962, which was after schools were integrated in areas of the South. This was due in part because there simply were no black neighborhoods near me.

I didn’t come into normal contact with blacks till I joined the Air Force at age 18. Before that, my contacts were just with Willie and Cap and the occasional black kids with whom I played near my grandparents’ farm. But that was infrequent.

Moving down one generation to my parents, we find a couple of flaming lefty liberals, especially my father. My mother got that way, I imagine, because of my father. It certainly was not due to the home she grew up in.

My mother, who spoke like Scarlett O’Hara, never voiced one kind word about “the Yankees.” And my father was not very keen on them either.

I wonder how my parents, who were hardcore Democrats of the “civil rights” variety, and union fans, would view the nutty political and racial conflicts of today.

Trump’s good works

IT IS WELL established that my former field, the news media, has abandoned its primary purpose of providing news in a balanced, fair manner. Sad.

With the occasional exception, and it’s just occasional, of Fox News, about the only reliable source of information about the accomplishments of the Trump Adminstration is the White House newsletter. You can subscribe on the White House website.

To lift your spirits, I have compiled some of Trump’s good works.

Strong jobs market. This from MarketWatch: “Americans still think plenty of jobs are available and companies are offering better pay as they compete for a shrinking pool of available labor, new study by the New York Federal Reserve shows. The Fed study is the latest proof the jobs market continues to sizzle.”

New ImageThe Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the economy has added over 5.5 million jobs since President Trump was elected.

Prison reform. In December 2018, President Trump signed the First Step Act which brings “commonsense criminal justice reform that is helping prisoners get a new lease on life and is making America safer.” Even former Obama staffer Van Jones praised Trump’s “great work” on the issue. If you want details, do an internet search.

Helping women. On April 17, Ivanka Trump, representing the president, spoke at the Women Entrepreneurs Financial Initiative in the Ivory Coast, her last stop of a four-day tour of Africa. The goal of the trip was promoting the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, a $50 million project launched by President Trump in February to encourage women’s economic empowerment in developing countries.

Opportunity Zones. On April 18, President Trump brought state and local leaders from both parties together at the White House for a conference on “Opportunity Zones” — a signature piece of his 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Rather than spending more money on yet another government program or Washington bureaucracy, Opportunity Zones offer tax incentives for long-term investment in more than 8,760 low-income communities throughout America.

Opportunity Zones are a powerful vehicle for bringing economic growth and job creation to the American communities that need them the most. The census tracts eligible for the program were chosen by governors, then certified by the U.S. Treasury Department. All told, the program is anticipated to spur $100 billion in private capital investment.

Economic boost for Latinos. According to a story in the Washington Examiner, American Latinos have enjoyed their third consecutive year of income growth, and their workplace participation rare has increased. More details available here.

And, of course, black Americans are enjoying their lowest jobless rate in decades.

This is just a small sampling of positive work coming from the Trump Administration, news that is ignored by the news media. Again: Sad.

‘Touch me, Lord!’

THIS VIDEO, made in 1965, is very interesting to an old Southern boy like myself. From 1945 to 1951, I lived on my grandparents’ farm in southwest Georgia. Those grandparents were born in the late 1800s.

In 1951, my parents, my sister and I moved to Jacksonville, Florida, but we often returned to visit the farm. My mother was my maternal grandparents’ only child, and they were thick as the proverbial thieves.

My youth spanned the years between the old way of Southern life and the Civil Rights Era that exploded in the late ’50s and into the 1960s. I remember well when blacks sat in the rear of buses, went to “separate but equal” schools and had to kowtow to varying degrees before white people, including my young self.

My grandparents had two black servants who were a part of my early life almost as much as my grandparents were. It was a couple named Willie and Cap Williams. Willie was the housekeeper, and Cap was the gardener and handyman.

The earliest house I remember where Willie and Cap lived was a decrepit shack about half a mile down the dirt road from my grandparents’ large home. My grandparents were the owners of the shack. Around 1958, my grandparents built a new home for Willie and Cap that was directly across the street from our main house. It was a simple wooden affair but a huge improvement over the shack. The bath was indoors.

In the early 1960s, both Willie and Cap died in that house, first Willie and then Cap whom my father found one day lying on the floor. I don’t know the circumstances of Willie’s earlier demise. Both Willie and Cap were buried in the “Negro Cemetery” a few miles down that same dirt road.

Many years later, I went looking for that cemetery. I found it in a forest, covered in weeds, but I never found the graves of either Willie or Cap.

Looking back, I see a boy and later a very young man who took them for granted, so much so that I know nothing of their history or personal backgrounds even though we considered them almost part of our family.

Now I realize they were like part of the furniture, and that saddens me. Their graves are gone. They had no children. I suspect the people who remember them now can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The video seems very familiar to me. In the black church near the video’s end, they’re singing, “Touch me, Lord.” I hope God is touching Willie and Cap. Lord knows we didn’t, not very well, not back then.

Epic cluelessness

HERE’S A priceless demonstration of the divide between bona fide black people and leftist, elitist nincompoops.

The video showcases the usual leftist complaint about voter-ID requirements, that they discriminate against blacks who are, of course, too helpless to obtain official identification.

And then it gives a sampling of black reaction in Harlem to this condescending, leftist attitude toward them.

It’s fun. However, you can’t help but be mystified by blacks’ habitual support of the leftist Democrat Party.

And don’t forget the official election schedule: Republicans vote tomorrow, Nov. 8, and Democrats vote Nov. 9.