Vision, Mission, and Strategy

Hillbilly Politics

Greetings Hillbilly Politickers, our dear friend Hillbilly has to tend to family matters for a few days. In her absence, I’ll try to keep things going, maybe not with her flair for words, and talent for common sense analysis, but I am the bench not the first string, so I’ll do my best.

First things first, if you are the praying kind, please remember Hillbilly in your prayers. Her absence from us is for the purpose of securing the health and wellbeing of loved ones, and she has a long journey with an uncertain ending. Those are the hardest kind.

Secondly, Hillbilly and I agree on a lot of things, but what I write here is MY opinion not a reflection of how she feels, so if I say the wrong thing, please don’t hold it against her. I’m prepared to take my lumps as I so often do writing at Hang Right Politics.

And finally, being a hillbilly myself is a great source of pride to me. Born in the North Carolina mountains, I was raised on vegetables grown in rich red clay (the only time I was ever “reared” was when I was on horseback). Common sense was prized higher than a bank account, and a good attitude was a prerequisite for even the worst of situations. Daddy’s strong hands bore the callouses of years of hard work, but there were no callouses on his heart, and he raised me to have faith in myself, to be honest, and to work hard. Moma was a strong Southern lady, very gentle and sweet, who knew how to make everyone comfortable, but she had the toughness to chop off the head of a chicken and serve it for supper. That’s always been a contradiction in my mind, as the only thing I could kill would be a spider and that’s only if he died from the sound of my screaming!

We are all the products of our upbringing even if some of it fades over time. My parents are long gone, but the truth of their words and the stricture of their guidance governs my thinking and actions. I’ll be scrambling eggs and hear my Daddy’s deep growling laugh as he teased “Everything you cook sticks to your ribs because once it gets in there it can’t find it’s way back out.” But just as often I feel his disappointment as I fail to keep my mouth shut when I can’t keep my feet out of it. Years ago I pointed out to him that he didn’t seem to have a lot to say, not a big talker. He responded that he hadn’t learned much listening to himself talk. I pointed out that he and I had a totally opposite experience then, because I always learned something listening to him.

 What is a hillbilly? It’s more than where you were born. Maybe it’s being raised like corn, not reared like horses. Maybe it’s the wisdom of generations freely given on Grandpa’s porch on a Sunday after church. Maybe it’s the hymn Moma sang as she cooked supper. Maybe it’s feeling close to the earth and small beside it. Hills have a way of teaching lessons in life.

What does that have to do with politics? Lots.

Take hillbilly farming, for example, Daddy always said to keep your eyes on the horizon when you plow. Looking over your shoulder you’ll plow a crooked row, and if one row is crooked, then the whole field is crooked. Lot’s of politicians have plowed a crooked row. Hillary has a crooked field, and try as she might, that whole looking over her shoulder thing can’t straighten it out, and no matter how she promises it will all be okay, we know there will be puddles, the water won’t drain right, and the yield won’t be good.

How about some hillbilly wisdom for Obama? Well lately what comes to mind is one of Moma’s favorite sayin’s: “You can’t get above your raising”. Try as he might to be everyman’s candidate, generalizations and pleasant speak, at the bottom of it all is a record of governance that says government is the answer. Well that makes the American citizen the ‘little guy’ not the big guy. In protecting him from the oppression of ‘big business’ or ‘his own folly’, government becomes the oppressor. The question arises, “If Obama wants to protect us from ourselves, who’s going to protect us from Obama?”

Lest you think McCain can escape hillbilly scrutiny, think again. McCain makes me more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers. He’s that cloud on the horizon that might bring much needed rain, but he also carries the potential of lightening that might take out your tallest tree.  Daddy always said “Don’t buy a pig in a poke”. Even though we’ve had years to figure out what McCain might do based on his public record, we have no way of knowing what he’ll really do. He’s that pig in a sack we know so much about that we don’t know anything at all. He’s that horse that might kick you, and the cow that waits til you fill the bucket before she kicks it over. He’s the hen that won’t roost in the hen house, but sometimes gives you a double yolk.

There’s been a heap of ridicule from Hollywood about hillbillies, but along with everything else they mimic, they’d be wrong. Our roots go deep and that lets us stand tall in storms. Sometimes it brings the lightening, but most often it brings good shade.

 Thanks for reading – and don’t forget to pray for Hillbilly – that’s one of the best things about being a hillbilly, folks know how to pray for you.

8 Responses to Substitution From The Bench

  • BB-Idaho says:

    One HBilly subbing for another? For some reason that makes me think of James Webb’s ‘Born Fighting-How the Scots-Irish Shaped America’..wherein he suggests the preponderant, if not total, makeup of hillbilly folk as Scots-Irish. Is this true, or more of that
    Irishman blarney? HB2, yours is a tough job, HB1
    writes with non-invective style, making her points in unusually gentile fashion..which brings those outside the choir in for discussion. IMO, since you pull no punches, you GOTTA be Scots-Irish? Just kidding and wishing HB1 the best.

  • Kathy says:

    Nice to see you BB, and regretfully I do not possess the gentility of HB1. I am far more pugilistic, and claim my Scots-Irish ancestry with pride. I have some Cherokee in me although you’d probably only see it in my love of nature and not my temperament or coloring. I do have high cheek bones, however, and a strong jaw, which I put out there often. Good thing it isn’t made of glass.

    Knowing I have big shoes to fill, I’ve quite given up that goal, and have chosen to see this as holding the violinist’s music until she sits down to play again.

    Not surprisingly I don’t read Webb – he gives new meaning to pugilistic, making it quixotic in nature. That isn’t useful.

  • BB-Idaho says:

    “Not surprisingly I don’t read Webb -” ..I’m sure HB1 doesn’t either. I feel the same about Kierkegaard….

  • Kathy says:

    That settles it, we must be related. You don’t read authors with double a’s in their name, and I don’t read authors with double b’s. Of course I’m more restricted than you unless you’re craving the occasional Danish philosophy book.

    Just between us, when he said he left the ‘reader to figure out what he meant’ don’t you think he must not have had a clue, knew he was rambling, and had the last laugh on those assigning meaning.

    Robert Frost made fun of people who over-interpreted his poetry, finding death in poems such as ‘Stoppiing By The Woods on a Snowing Evening” – when it was about pausing to reflect on nature. Sometimes things mean what they mean and nothing more.

    I think Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan should have to explain. But everyone else gets a pass. Even Jewel and Annie Lennox.

    BTW Don McLean explained “American Pie” and that should be the end of it.

  • BB-Idaho says:

    ” think Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan should have to explain..” Ol Bob is a geographical and chronological contemporary, although my scandinavian heritage should lean more to icelandic Eddas. Now Joni nicely sums up my confusion about ‘neap clouds’:
    ‘I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
    From up and down, and still somehow,
    It’s cloud illusions I recall,’
    I really don’t know clouds, at all. 😐

  • Kathy says:

    I have a solution, BB, just spend more time looking at clouds. It may not increase your understanding, but you’ll be more content about it.

    It works that way for me.

    “but now old friends are acting strange
    they shake their heads
    they say I’ve changed.
    Well something’s lost
    and something’s gained,
    in living every day.”

March 2008


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