The 'Bubba' vote

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By Elroy Riggs

I was reading in a paper today where one of the presidential candidate's advisers indicated they would not pursue the "Bubba" vote. Since I've been referred to as "Bubba," "redneck" and "good ol' boy," just to mention a few, I decided to take a look at where these names started and why.

"Bubba" normally comes from the fact that little sisters have trouble saying "brother." They have trouble with "daddy" and "mama," as well as "Mississippi." But that's another story. So "daddy" comes out "da-da" and "mama" can come out "Mah-mah." But they don't normally stick. But when "brother" comes out something like "Bubba," it has a way of hanging on.

"Bubba" is sort of cute coming out of a little sister's mouth, and pretty soon the entire family is referring to the boychild that way. The poor Bubba/redneck/good ol' boy. Call us ignorant, racist, sexist, slovenly Neanderthals. We're the last group that hasn't risen up, formed some sort of coalition, and said you can't talk about us that way. But we won't. So what do we do? We take it, for the most part.

I think it was H.L. Mencken who once referred to us as a "cultural gobi," meaning we'd rather go to a rat killing than a cultural performance. I enjoyed the rat-killing days in my youth, but I have listened to Pavarotti when he sings, "La Donnae Mobile." But I'm most at home at a George Jones concert or watching the Andy Griffith Show on T.V.

I have tasted caviar but I like fried catfish better. And I will not under any circumstances turn my back on my heritage. I am proud of it, as a matter of fact, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. And allow me to tell you why you are wrong to use the word "redneck." If you do indeed do such a thing and show your own narrow mindedness and dearth of intelligence, here is how the word "redneck" came to be and took its modern day definition by people who don't know any better and are biased.

You are a farmer, you're not a rich planter. You go to church and you believe in God. You're patriotic. You care for your children, you care for your neighbors, you're the salt of the earth, but you're not polished. You're not assertive. You're neither politically correct nor incorrect. You might think about politics some, but in your position you know nobody wants to hear your views more often than not. You're gentle and kind to children and dogs love you. You hunt and fish when there is time for recreation. You listen to country music on your radio because it's music to which you can relate to, music from the farms and mountains.

You are a good man to know if your barn burned down and needed rebuilding. You live in the south where it's hot, the sun beats down upon you. More than likely you have worn your pair of clean overalls to town. You have those work shoes on and then they look at your neck.

It's red. It's red because of the hell-hot southern sun that beats down on you daily. It's red because it's your plot in life to work the soil. You feed yourselves, you feed most of the world. But there were some mighty good Americans who were "rednecks," such as "George Washington" and "Billy Graham."

The original "redneck" was a man who lacking in education or the ways of the urban, raised families, refused "relief" at any cost, worshipped his God and fought and died for his country. Bubbas, rednecks and good ol' boys have accomplished a lot. We're not perfect of course, but neither is anyone else. And we are dang tired of being the villains.

Elroy Riggs