A Redneck’s Perspective

 

J.D. Pendry

 

Driving home Friday evening fidgeting with the radio, I saw him creeping up in the rearview mirror.  With a baseball cap pulled down over wrap around sunglasses, he leaned to the left, one hand on top of the steering wheel - a toothpick in the corner of his mouth.  The black Buick Grand National inched closer to my bumper.  This was odd, I thought, since it was just the two of us on this stretch of road, both in the slowpoke lane.  Then I remembered it was Daytona 500 weekend.  He eased up so that he was sitting right off the inside corner of my bumper.  He must’ve realized that a love tap would get him a whoupin with a tire iron instead of spinning me out so he shot into the left lane to slingshot around.  He came along side, looked at me and nodded – working the toothpick to the other side of his mouth.  Then he found all the Buick had and left me in a cloud of blue exhaust.  I saw his NASCAR vanity plate and a bumper sticker that said I “heart” coal.  “Damn redneck”, I mumbled, and then went back to fooling with the radio.

 

After a few minutes of drive-time radio, I concluded that I was a redneck with a neurological disorder; the President hopes to destroy social security and balance the budget on the backs of homeless veterans and they cancelled the NHL season.  Should I be embarrassed to say I didn’t know it hadn’t started?

 

According to Congressman Charlie Rangel, Bill Clinton is a redneck.  I thought saying anything bad about the Clintons was sacrilege for Democrats.  A couple of sentences later Charlie called President Lyndon Johnson “a redneck out of Texas.”  Using redneck logic, Rangel’s implication is that southern white males (even if they happen to be presidents) are rednecks.  He defended his slur as a term of endearment.  Charlie Rangel is a decent Congressional representative for those who elected him considering that he’s a (insert your choice of descriptive terms here) out of Harlem.  What do you think Charlie?  Endearing enough?

 

According to Bill Maher, Christians and others who are religious suffer from a neurological disorder that "stops people from thinking".  Using redneck logic again, that implies that people who reject religion such as him, Hollywood, Kim Jung IL and the Nazis are normal – even enlightened.  They can think because their minds are freed from Biblical “fairy tales.”  Says Maher:

 

"… we have more in common with Turkey and Iran and Syria than we do with European nations and Canada and nations that, yes, I would consider more enlightened than us."

 

Can I suggest that you move to one of those more enlightened countries Bill?

 

Here’s the redneck perspective, without charts, on Social Security.  There is no Social Security trust fund.  Shocked?  What you and I pay today provides benefits for those receiving them today.  If we pay more than needed, which is what we currently do, the surplus is “loaned” to the treasury.  Pork barrel kings like Senator Robert Byrd who has every building, fence, road and outhouse in the state of West Virginia named for him then proceeds to squander our money on said buildings, fences, roads and outhouses.  Too soon, social security will begin to pay out more than we pay in.  Senator Byrd and friends will have to figure out how to pay back the squandered surplus and continue paying benefits at the promised level.  They’ll raise payroll taxes to do that and probably other taxes to make up for the surplus they’re accustomed to wasting on Byrd houses.  The question at this point is hardly about solvency.  It’s about having a system able to provide our children and grandchildren a decent benefit without them paying excessively for it.  Investing some of our payroll tax into something similar to the Thrift Savings Plan, which all federal employees (including Byrd) can use might be a viable alternative to increasing wealth without raising taxes.  On the other hand, we can continue to invest it in outhouses named for Byrd or do nothing and let the next generation worry about it.

 

I heard someone lamenting that he’ll have to pay a $250.00 yearly enrollment fee and $14.00 for his prescriptions in the future if he uses VA health care.  Either on purpose or out of stupidity, the concerned news commentator left it hanging there.  The VA healthcare system’s core mission is to treat without cost veterans with service-connected disabilities, low incomes and special needs.  Veterans not in one of those categories pay co-payments and the proposed future enrollment fee.  The fee, which is cheaper than the government medical insurance plan that I pay for as a military retired person, is meant for those who have the means to pay.  Before you jab a stick in my eye, understand that I qualify for Priority 1, free VA medical care.  It’s my choice to pay for medical insurance.  Many veterans entitled to free care, but able to pay choose do the same as me instead of further overburdening the system.  The VA healthcare budget is 47 percent higher than it was when the current administration took office.  The system provides care for veterans who need it and those who can’t afford to pay for it.  Here’s a link if you want to know the truth about costs for VA healthcare.

 

That’s the redneck perspective of the drive time news, but I’ve exceeded my self-imposed word limit this week so on the cancellation of the NHL season; reckon we can get the same people to negotiate for the NBA?   

 

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J.D. Pendry is author of The Three Meter Zone, Random House/Ballantine.

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