Rednecks, country/rural/cowboys/ranchers, have always been able to laugh at ourselves and find the humor in all aspects of life without getting in a dither over the label as many do today when they feel they are being discriminated against. Labels mean nothing if you know who you are and believe in yourself. And, for those that use labels for their own agenda as a way of making themselves feel or look superior, rather than just a manner of speaking, they should look in the mirror more often. It is a little disconcerting that there are so many people that think they know what is best for everyone, what makes a person smart, or classier or think they know so much more than anyone else about any number of items. Heaven help you if you disagree with them. It is beyond my capacity of reasoning as to how anyone could ever become so out of touch with reality to think, they are the only ones to have the ability to be the only wisdom enhanced individual, particularly one that might be in a position to influence others.
Rednecks, country folk, etc., are like most people, very hard working, but, they just happen to love the rural life, the smaller towns rather than live in the big cities. Many would rather commute than give up that way of living. It doesn't make them any less intelligent or worldly. In fact some of these people could put many in the mainstream media to shame with their knowledge and common sense practical approach to life. Those that have portrayed them in a not so flattering light have made a big mistake by under estimating these country folk. The successes are many in the lives of the so-called 'rednecks', 'country bumpkins', or any other label that some of the so called intellectual urbanites wish to attach to them. It only shows that some in the media may not be as worldly as they would like us to believe. They seemly don't know about all of life in America or they would not be so apt to report their addled perceptions of rural America in a news format. But, as I already stated above, it is ok, rednecks, country folk, whatever moniker is attached to them, can take it and are proud of it. To many it is a compliment, but it is much more than that, it is a way of life, a very good life even when times are hard.
If you were to remove the “rednecks” from America, there would be very few left to fight for our country. An article in Chicago Tribune, April 2006 state that 35% of the casualties in the Iraq War were from rural towns. Only 25% of the population live in rural areas. The Heritage Foundation compiled data that shows military recruitment in rural areas are more than double the enlistment rate in urban areas.
The life country folk/rednecks/cowboys choose for many reasons, the lifestyle, the love of the land, and more. There is something to be said for waking up each day looking out over a beautiful countryside vista, hearing the song of the whippoorwills, cattle mooing far off in the pasture, or watching a deer run through the fields, towards the sound of a rushing creek. The sunsets, and sunrises in the country are a beauty to behold all on their own and seeing the the stars at night without the reflection of all the lights of the city in the sky. The days of a child growing up in this life are filled with many avenues of entertainment, from swimming in the creeks, to sitting on the bank of a pond or river fishing for that one big catch of the day, skipping rocks across a pond, climbing trees, riding horses, sleigh riding when it snows, hayrack rides, playing in the barn and then there are always plenty of animals to feed and chores to be done. At times there are hardships living this life, but the pluses outweigh them and most will never want to give it up. It is something that becomes your heart and once it is there, it never goes away no matter where you might be. You can take them out of the country, but you will never take the country out of their heart.
Being a redneck, etc., is more than whether you live in the country or a rural town, or even in the city. It is about slowing down, savoring the sights and sounds of life. Most of all it is knowing what is important in this life. It is knowing how to work hard, having values and morals, being patriotic, having faith, being with and having the love of family and friends and putting them first before yourself. Many may be a redneck and not even know it.
We could write more about rednecks, country folk and the like, but, when I do, we will forget about the media for a bit. We will just sit back for a spell on the front porch swing and take a memorable journey into the hearts of rednecks and rural folk, where lazy summer days for a child seem to last forever, and a heart stopping snowy sled ride down the hill ends too quickly. It is time to slow down, to marvel at sunsets and moonlight, and realize, as my four year old niece did when she stopped me as we were walking with these words one evening, "Look up, look at the sky, isn't it beautiful?" As I paused to gaze at the star filled sky, she squeezed my hand and said "God must love us a lot". I told her, 'yes he does very much'. She reached up and climbed into my arms and hugged me tight before her little hands tilted my head towards the heavens and with the wide-eyed wonder of a child said, "Isn't God wonderful? He made those stars just for you and me to see."
The joys of small town living where one accepts and respects you as a fellow human being whether you are redneck, country folk, cowboy, cowgirl, ranchers, a country bumpkin, a smalltowner or even a city slicker. Small town living. where you can take the time to slow down and keep in perspective what is really important in life.
God Bless small town America!!