Now I don't mind choppin' wood,
and I don't care if ma money's no good
Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest,
But they should never have taken the very best
--The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down,
Better keep your head
What your good book said
--Southern Man, Neil Young
Standing in line marking time--
Waiting for the welfare dime
'Cause they can't buy a job
--The way It Is, Bruce Hornsby
[We'll do better to inform you next time RAW will not post for a few days. OPSEC, y'know ... but we will come up with a good reason.]
It is electioneering season, and from stumps across the North Florida swampland is heard the hue and cry of a "Return to North Florida Values".
"Values" and "North Florida" are not usually collocated terms. The latter is often sadly linked to poverty, illiteracy, high sexually transmitted disease rates and a high inbreeding coefficient among dogs and people (it's quicker that way.)
Maybe the preponderance of one-parent households constitute one of these values; perhaps, teenage pregnancy. Maybe being underemployed or unemployed. Perhaps, a belief in less government, more godliness (that one's always good for a feeble cheer from the groundlings.)
Perhaps, it is a belief that LOTTO will keep your lights on next week. Maybe this is why people are seen on line in the Jiffy Mart on payday buying $50 worth of scratch off tickets. Values. Then again, maybe that is needs; maybe what we need is values.
Maybe it was those values that built the gambling casino in Ranger's pitifully poor county, allowing the locals to fritter away their meager funds without having to schlep it to Coushatta, Mississippi. Of course, you're not going to get the food freebies if you stay local, but the gourmet experience is not what the politely-labelled "gaming" community is after.
Yet now, fealty to "North Florida Values" is the clarion call to vote from candidates of all political stripes. We guess that is because regardless of your values, you will wish your candidate to be steeped in them.
The candidates vow to protect these values (without actually enumerating them.) To them and their pamplet-writers, a value must be a thing with value inherent in it, inviolate and worthy of propagation.
Sadly, many North Florida values had to go by the wayside, and grudgingly, at that: Days of the week set aside for flogging one's wife on the courthouse steps; thickness of the strop to be used in such needful events. Black and white laundry facilities, waiting room facilities and drinking fountains. The list of egregious present-day North Florida values is long, yet somehow, protecting them as sacrosanct is accepted as good thing.
Since North Florida was a Confederate state, we can assume that rebellion, treason and slave-ownership was once a Dixie value, and judging by the stickers and paraphernalia on many a truck, it would seem Southerners are still secessionist at heart.
The little word, "values", makes it seem as though one would not do any of the coarse things an un-valued person might, but that's the funny thing about values. Once you claim to subscribe to them, discrete actions are no longer scrutinized, as the holder of the value card must be ethical, de facto.
This is why being a religious "values voter" is so seductive: You may commit any number of abominable acts, but because you claim for values, you are seen as merely slipping up. You couldn't possibly mean to have done that bad thing, because you are the possessor of "values", and the inheritor of the legacy of a savior who has pre-factum issued forgiveness chits.
Of course, the only values which should be sacrosanct to any good American would be those listed in the United States Constitution; all the rest is hot air.
We would love to hear a politician -- any politician -- state this, or instead substitute their own values in clearly stated terms.
Yes we would.
--Lisa and Jim