Ann Hull is on my excrement list. I had never heard of her. I don’t read the Washington Post much. I stumbled upon A matter of life and death while trolling for submissions for Maritime Monday. linda_22003 tells me this article ran in the WAPO 4/9/06. Well, I missed it that time. It was titled Call To Duty when it ran in the WAPO. Hell, somebody has blogged this already, and identified it as agitprop, which it is.
So I start reading Ann’s article in this Chinese news site, and I get pissed. This is my clan she is dissing. I went to school in Mississippi. Meridian is not very different from most of the towns in my stompin’ grounds.
This boy doesn’t appear to be all that different from my boys, or all the other boys that have hung around my house for years. The concerns of Blake’s mama are not unique to her, but the mother of my sons came to opposite conclusions. Countering stuff like this is the mission of this blog.
Patriotism and bleak demographics make the young men of Mississippi ideal cannon fodder for the war in Iraq. That’s how she starts out. Cannon fodder. Good Flanders Fields quagmire imagery.
Sticking out of the mailbox across the road from Johnson’s trailer were two recruiting letters, one from the Army and the other from the National Guard – the Guard offering a US$10,000 signing bonus. Just about every anti-Southern canard you’ve ever heard is in Ann’s piece.
The men in his family operate cranes, install cable and lay telephone lines. His father was mostly absent from his childhood. His mother held the family together, going back to college for her degree. She now works as an IT specialist at Peavey Electronics. They live in a mobile home on about a hectare of cleared land that cost US$3,000. More of the “trailer trash” meme. I’ve lived in trailers. I may end up living in a trailer again some day. Lots of good people down on the coast are living in trailers right now.
Johnson jokes about being a hick, but the powerful realities in his life are hunting, church, Confederate soldier memorials and American flags. Hunting and church, yep, but boys that age don’t pay much attention to statues in front of the court house, and American flags are so much in evidence as to not be particularly noteworthy except to urban liberal citizens of the world.
Two houses down from where we live there’s Glenn Pugh,” Diane says. “His son got the Silver Star on Saturday. Another mile down the road is a young man who died in Iraq, Chris Mabry. I used to give him a ride home from football practice. I don’t want a flag. I don’t want a star. I want my child.” Pardon me ma’am, but boys grow up. Many grow up to be men. Not as many as I would like, possibly because of too many apron strings tying them down.
Free Republic thread here.
More to follow.
More of Ann Hull’s stuff here:
Related story at Shrinkwrapped: “The Military Scares Me”
If we sit by and do nothing, so will our young men. Their’s won’t.