who received the Purple Heart after takingrnshrapnel in the head in France duringrnWorld War II, and my brother Charles,rnan ex-Marine sergeant who saw action inrnVietnam, both came home. Unlike Daddy,rnCharles had to go to war knowingrnthat he was despised by many of thosernfor whom he fought, but his bred-in-thebonernconvictions allowed him no otherrnalternative and gave him the strength tornperform his sad duty. Unlike today’s newrnwomen who profess a desire to play G.I.rnJoe, I will admit that I do not own therngrit to have faced what Charies and myrnfather faced, but I am sure that ladies likernthese tough cookies have only intellectualizedrnwar and would quickly changerntheir tune if they were confronted withrnthe realities of a patrol in-country or of arnlanding at Normandy. The valor andrnfighting skill demonstrated by my kin isrnborn of a culture which honors the traditionrnof men defending their own—rna culture still found in places like WestmorelandrnCounty, Virginia, the boyhoodrnhome of Washington and Lee.rnWhile duty-bound and strong-heartedrnJarheads and Army grunts seem tornspring from conservative communities,rnsometimes down-home milieus can pro-rnLIBERAL ARTSrnMORE CULTURALrnENRICHMENTrn”In La Crosse, Wisconsin, Judge RamonarnGonzalez, sentenced Sia YernVang, 32, who was found guilty ofrnmolesting his two young stepdaughters,rnto English lessons and communityrnservice instead of prison, explainingrnhe wanted to give the Vietnamesernimmigrant ‘the opportunity to continuernhis education and his assimilationrninto our culture.'”rn—from the Bloomington Voice,rnNovember?, 1996rnduce atypical rednecks. I know one whornbreaks all the rules. He is also my brotherrn—I was blessed with six. He is gay andrnrefers to himself as Jem in the vernacularrnof Dupont Circle, but we, his family, stillrncall him Jimmy, probably to his embarrassment.rnHe is a political activist and isrnoften seen on television and in the pagesrnof the Washington Post. A cashmere-cladrnepicure, brunching at the Mayflower onrnSundays, he gives dinner parties reminiscentrnof an older, more refined Washington.rnJimmy by design is a million milesrnaway from his country roots, but, affluent,rncitified, and somewhat condescendingrnliberal that he is, if threatened by arnpredator on the streets of D.C., he reactsrnthe way he learned to react as a boy andrnthrashes his opponent as well as anyrnhonky-tonk brawler. Jimmy will take arnstand against a violent man when othersrnmight back down because his birthrightrnwill not allow him to be a victim. He remains,rnin spite of himself, just a countryrnboy at heart.rnThe quintessential country boy, however,rnis my son. He is a tradesman, arnhunter, a NASCAR fan, and he drives arnhalf-ton Ford pickup truck. As you travel,rnyou can see others like him talkingrnamong themselves of Parker Double Barrels,rnwho’s on the pole at Talladega, andrnthe pheasant season in South Dakota asrnthey buy half-smokes and beef jerky atrnroadside stores. Known by names suchrnas Sissy Baby, Teeny Boy, and Possum,rnmy son’s friends seldom travel withoutrntheir hound dogs, usually called Annie orrnMolly. These young men have been socializedrnto revere their elders, includingrnthose who are strangers to them. Theyrnwill greet you and hold doors for you andrncall you ma’am, but they won’t lookrnthrough you as do most of today’s solipsisticrnyoung, the natural products of anarchic,rnmaterialistic families.rnAlthough I do not consider myself tornhave been the perfect mother, I am happyrnto say that I somehow managed tornraise a redneck. My Generation X goodrnold boy is smart, ethical, and has a sensernof history. He understands what happenedrnat Sharpsburg and Wildernessrnand at Tarawa. He is mdustrious and fairrnand will give any good man his due. Everyrnmorning, wearing one of several ballrncaps emblazoned with logos like RichmondrnInternational Raceway or Boreking,rnhe loads up esoteric tools and leavesrnthe house before daybreak. A few yearsrnago, when he first started working in therntrades, he drove a rusted-out Fairmontrn60 miles one way to earn $7.00 an hour.rnWhen the great snowstorm of 1996 hitrnus and he had time off, he didn’t headrnfor the unemployment office, but rentedrna snowplow and cleared out parking lotsrnand driveways all day. He is part of a socialrngroup that respects someone who, asrnAaron Tippin says in his country song,rnpulls his weight. My son has a high regardrnfor his more mature counterparts,rnand his role model is the owner of therncompany for which he works. Today arnvery successful businessman, while hernwas in the Army, this man almost lostrnone of his legs to North Vietnamese hre.rnSix weeks after he was shot, he was backrnhome and down in a nasty ditch diggingrnlike one possessed even before thernwound had healed and his pain hadrnceased.rnThe ditch-digger-turned-entrepreneurrnand the other men I’ve describedrnhere are part of an ever-shrinking numberrnof smart, galvanized, hardworking,rntax-paying men to whom we owe anrnenormous debt. We should stop discountingrnthem and listen to what theyrnhave to say. They will tell us in plainrnEnglish that God is the guarantor of ourrncivil rights no matter how many constitutionalrnshines are cut by the wheeler-dealersrnon Pennsylvania Avenue and CapitolrnHill. They’ll ask us to consider the dangersrninherent in a busybody President’srnpreoccupation with social minutia whilernnuclear-armed bits and pieces of an implodedrnSoviet Empire threaten our security.rnAnd applying simple logic, they willrntell us that legal or illegal immigrantsrnwho come willingly to our shores or crossrnour Southern border, yearning to collectrnwelfare while decrying our racism, neitherrnbelong here nor enrich our society.rnGiven a chance, country boys will alsorntell us that we are becoming a people toorneager to bow down to the government; arnpeople who are mean but not strong andrnwho are forgetting how to live in freedom.rnBy ignoring the voice of the ruralrnman and by glorifying pseudo-educationrnrather than a real knowledge of our culturalrnantecedents and of the democraticrnprocess, we encourage domestic and foreignrntransgressions. Last summer, ABCrnNews reported that shortly before thernFourth of July, 1996, 40 New Yorkersrnwere interviewed in Times Square. Outrnof those polled, only nine knew why werncelebrate this day. Conduct the samernsurvey at a church supper in Bushwood,rnMaryland, and I guarantee that all ofrnthe respondents will know the answer.rn42/CHRONICLESrnrnrn