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January 29, 2009

Reconstruction and the Old Plantation

Norman M. Covert

What a week we experienced (drool, tingle, shudder). On reflection I realize that after 128 years, the Second Period of Reconstruction is upon us. A sea of organizers, charlatans, tax cheats, and political insiders from Chicago, New York, and Arkansas, have taken charge of the nation’s government.


We have Republican President Andrew Johnson to thank for that first Period of Reconstruction after April 1865, and his successor, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, pressed the issue with impunity.


It wasn’t benevolence, but politics that led President Rutherford B. Hayes to withdraw the troops from Dixie after more than a decade of oppression, including Maryland, and allow local government to return.


The South will be joined this time by the rest of These United States. Gird your loins, fellow citizens, we’re in for a re-education. Everything is NEW! Change is everywhere!


Consider, the Heavens gaped open and the Messiah returned to earth January 20th in the form of Barack Hussein Obama, putting a lie to all we’ve learned in Sunday School. Perhaps Holy writ will be amended, yet I wonder if such Holy Men as Rabbi Morris Kosman believes the long-awaited Messiah has arrived.


Regardless whether you believe in Obamessiah (drool, tingle, shudder), I await the return of Jesus Christ, who once rode an ass into Jerusalem as the electorate waved their palms in salute.


I cannot deny that the sun did break through brilliantly at Noon when the Presidential Oath of Office was administered amounting to the first “Change (shiiivver)” of the “Holy Obama Empire.” “…faithfully,” you see, was behind, rather than in front.


From the first words of Emcee Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., CA) to all those taking part, I saw not a whit of the traditional grace and ceremony that honors this unprecedented transfer of power as set forth in The Constitution of the United States.


I understand the school yard taunts of nearby onlookers as President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush strode into view. Such hecklers have nothing of intellectual value to offer when dignity and appreciation are due a man who kept the nation safe for seven-plus years.


I knew about the fringe loonies of the Left, no problem, but I was assured this presidential election was not about race – certainly it is now.


According to The Rev. Joseph Lowry – a modern “Mr. Interlocutor” – giving the solemn benediction:


“Lord … in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right … Amen.”


Like The Rev. Mr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., The Rev. Mr. Lowry is a dangerous clown.


As a child of the period of “Separate-but-Equal” in The Old Dominion, I suppose I must figure out how much shame I should feel for the 250 or so years when African natives were forced into slavery here. An old rib is to tell someone to “Look ashamed; not Stupid!”


In deference to Frederick’s venerated Lord Nickens, let me record that one of my ancestors was a slave, too (gasp, can’t be, God forbid!).


John Goodson came to the Virginia Colony in 1635 under a writ from the Minister of Gravesend, England. It gave him steerage on the “HMS TRANSPORT” in exchange for extended periods of service as an Indentured Servant in Isle of Wight County.


You didn’t have to be black to be a slave in the English-ruled American colonies – and we still owe money to the comp’ny store.


You cannot deny that a majority of Americans voted for this new president; and a lot of them will soon realize they got snookered.


It is mindful of the tale told by the incomparable writer Joel Chandler Harris. His grasp of the vernacular and legend spawned his “Tales of the Old Plantation.”


In this Chandler legend (©1921) the kindly old Uncle Remus tells the young boy how Br’er Rabbit is set upon by Br’er Fox, who is determined to smash his old rival. Br’er Rabbit claims illness, speaking through a locked door, as his reason for not going to see the “girls.” He turns the table on the confident Br’er Fox.


Br’er Rabbit convinces the gullible Br’er Fox to give him a ride to the girls’ house. Br’er Fox becomes the transportation, wearing saddle and blinders with Br’er Rabbit secretly putting on his spurs, and off they go:


“W’en dey got ter de house, Miss Meadows en all de gals wuz settin’ on de peazzer, en stidder stoppin’ at de gate, Brer Rabbit rid on by, he did, end den com gallopin’ down de road en up ter de hoss-rack, w’ich he hitch Brer Fox at, en den he sa’nter inter de house, he did, en shake han’s wid de gals, en set dar, smokin’ his seegyar same ez a town man.


Bimeby he draw in a long puff, en den let hit out in a cloud, en squar hisse’f back en holler out, he did:


“’Ladies, ain’t I done tell you Brer Fox wuz de ridin’-hoss fer our fambly? He sorter losin’ his gait now, but I speck I kin fetch ‘im all right in a mont’ er so,’ sezee.


“En den Brer Rabbit sorter grin, he did, en de gals giggle, en Miss Meadows, she praise up de pony, en dar wuz Brer Fox hitch fas’ ter de rack, en couldn’t he’p hisse’f.”


“Nuf said,” as Uncle Remus put it. We in fo’ a ride. “Good night, honey.”


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