In 2015 I wrote about our Southern reluctance to embrace change. In the post, “Sot in our Ways”, using a regional pronunciation of the word set, I chronicled our propensity for looking backward. The phrase forward-thinking is not a part of the vocabulary for many who surround me. With the invasion of the Corvid-19 virus, I’ve found we haven’t changed in the five years since the original was published…in fact, we’ve become even more resistant with the current political environment.
Our Foghorn Leghorn sounding “guv’nah” (No insult intended, I like his Southern accent. One should look for something to like in a person)…our governor, Henry McMaster, seems to be resistant to the idea of issuing a “stay at home” order, making my state, South Carolina, a bastion of coronavirus dissent in the region of the Southeast. Governor McMaster has instead called on all South Carolinians to “use common sense.” I am afraid…very afraid.
To his defense, according to Charleston’s Post and Courier, Governor McMaster doesn’t believe he can legally issue a stay at home or shelter-in-place order on what I assume are First Amendment grounds. Judging from the number of people driving around and on the lakes, I would say a large percentage of his constituents agree with him.
Consequently, at this time, he has issued twelve executive orders, closing schools, and other nonessential businesses…wait, schools aren’t essential? Despite these executive orders, SOME have ignored the orders at worse, or tried to find ways around it at best “cuz yur takin’ way mah rights”. No, you can’t quarantine stupid.
The governor closed furniture and shoe stores while deciding liquor and gun stores were essential. I wonder how many spouses of either gender will be drunkenly maimed or killed by newly purchased firearms before the quarantine is over. “Put on your high heeled sneakers….” (I heard this morning there has been a spike in domestic crimes. Who didn’t see this coming?)
Breaking News: As of 5:00 today, April 7, we will be under a “Home or Work” order which will change little that wasn’t in place at 4:59. It does limit the number of people who can be inside of businesses at one time. It does not force church closures but it is suggested.
As a retired history teacher, I am quite familiar with our last major attempt at dissent…that was in December of 1860. I hope our modern-day dissent doesn’t reap the same outcomes ‘cause the last one didn’t go too well. South Carolina lost 18,000 to 21,000 men, or one of every fourteen white South Carolinians in the Civil War, due more to disease than by shot, saber or Minié ball. It seems we didn’t keep very good records concerning our slave or civilian populations but I’m sure you could add a few of them to the overall number.
Sorry, back to modern times. While the US response to the budding pandemic was slow, a great many states in the South were even slower to react against Corvid-19, not just South Carolina, There are eight other states reluctant to issue stay at home or shelter-in-place orders, none Southern unless you count Arkansas. We have a large portion of our population who believes not staying at home is somehow “standing up to tyranny”. I did not know a virus could be so tyrannical but explains why gun stores are still open.
Southerners just don’t like being told what to do by that damn Yankee “gubment” in Washington or its ‘flunkies’ in Columbia. It doesn’t matter if sheltering might be a good thing to do, might save lives. It’s the principle of it all, I guess. Ain’t nobody tellin’ me what to do no matter how stupid I look or if it kills me. Remember the famous last words, “Hey Y’all watch dis!”
As I drove through the nearby town of Travelers Rest, my facemask and latex gloves already in place, I noticed the downtown streets were somewhat deserted. That was because everyone was at Walmart or down the road at Lowes. Lines to the Chik-fil-a Drive Through stretched out to the street.
I used to like my Walmart; it had a higher class of a redneck than most. Not sure now. Social distancing be damned, the parking lot was wall to wall with no one particularly concerned with keeping a six-foot cushion. When I broke down and grocery shopped this early Sunday morning I saw few wearing gloves and fewer wearing masks. Social distancing? Not likely.
I think we are confused by the social part of social distancing. Our teachers did a great job teaching what it means to be social…not so much on distancing. It’s the opposite of being social. We shouldn’t be social. I’ve heard physical distancing used, maybe Guv’nah Leghorn should use the term. “Boy! I say, Boy! Maintain your physical distancing!” I don’t think it will matter…someone will hear physical and think it means we should get freaky.
It’s all a government coverup anyway. Right? A test run to sweep away our rights just like when the United Nations was invading us during the Obama years. They’re here to steal our guns…. They didn’t get yours? You didn’t see them?
Friends and former student’s social media posts make me wonder how we became so susceptible to conspiracy theories. I remember intelligent kids…maybe I’m losing my memory or maybe they weren’t as bright as I thought. They don’t seem to know which is going to kill more of us; the virus, the new 5G network or the Democrats attempt to crash the economy to get at Trump. Let’s combine a few conspiracy theories, shall we?
You did know the coronavirus was created by the Chinese government to weaken our economy. driving down the stock market so they can purchase what little of the United States they don’t already own? Or, is it part of a human depopulation scheme by the world-class villain, Microsoft’s Bill Gates? Or, did it stem from a tainted batch of children’s blood that the world’s liberal celebrities drink to stay young?
None of those are correct and have nothing to do with a tainted, undercooked bat sandwich either. It is a Turkmenistanian bioweapon transmitted over the airways by the 5G death ray, all financed by George Soros, and genetically engineered by Bill Gates to target conservatives only. I’m sure there is a counter-theory involving the Koch Brothers and liberal bones being burned and crushed into fertilizer.
Attempting to be humorous, I posted my theory with a LOL emoji in response to a meme. I had people agreeing and commenting on what that dastardly George Soros might do next. “For real?” Mentally I see many nodding their heads in agreement. I actually saw a similar theory expressed today.
Dammit, folks! Everything is not a conspiracy. Sometimes things are just…things…a deadly coronavirus is just a deadly coronavirus. Every attempted change is not a bad thing. Do you resist changing your underwear? Don’t answer that, just think about it and if you don’t, do so now. Personal hygiene is important even if not taking the quarantine seriously.
Six feet, wash your hands, keep your hands out of your nose and mouth, stay at home unless you are an “essential.” For sweet Baby James’s sake, self-quarantine for the good of mankind.
From a smart former student, something I found hopeful, “It’s okay to take this Coronavirus pandemic seriously…and still find joy in life. It’s okay to worry about what will happen next week, next month, or next year…and still, make jokes and laugh with friends. It’s okay to be fearful… .and still have faith that God’s will is going to be done.”
Be hopeful, just be smart.
Before my Southern friends and family tar and feather me, I do know there are idiots and conspiracists in all regions. It is not just a Southern reaction. I pick on “us” because I know “us”…and if the shoe fits….
The quote is from Katie Orr, a former Tamassee-Salem student, now a teacher, and mother.
Don Miller’s author’s page may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?
The image of Foghorn Leghorn https://www.pinterest.com/susiewjones/foghorn-leghorn-best-cartoon-ever/
If you are interested in reading ”Sot in our Ways” https://cigarman501.wordpress.com/2015/09/24/sot-in-our-ways/