Category Archives: Scott’s Commentary

A Note from the Past: My 2010 Election Post

This is a revised post from 2010.  So much of it is still relevant, but a lot has changed since then.  And not for the better.  I’ll repost it more or less as is and use it as a starting point for my current political thoughts as we get closer to the election….


I’ve thought a lot about this over the last few days as we head to the 2010 election. For Progressive’s like me, it’s forecast to be a rough one who’s results may lead us backward as opposed to foreward.

And, once again, the South will lead us there. We’ve always been good at looking fondly backward in the South–whether the facts support it or not.  That makes for fertile ground for the Republicans.  I’ve always said:  “Republicans look backwards with Fear while Democrats look forward with Hope.

That got me thinking. Why is it the South is such a stronghold for the Republicans? Here are my thoughts:

  1. The South is heavy with fundamentalists and evangelical religions. These people have been played by the Republican Party like a cheap violin. Here is what I would say to them: Open your eyes. Under Bush, the Republicans controlled the government and did not ban abortion or execute any of the other points of your agenda. If they didn’t do it then, they won’t do it now. They are using you. Wise up.  
  2. There is a history of Patriarchy in the South that is not dead. Many people, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, still follow the leadership of local political leaders with little thought. They are used to being led without questions or taking time to check the facts because they think they “know” the person and he/she is “one of us.”  
  3. Education is not really valued by a large portion of Southerners. They are suspicious of the overly educated and think they don’t understand them. The Republicans are very good at playing dumb and coming off as one of the “good ole boys” while they use the votes of the poor whites in the South to channel money and benefits to their rich friends on Wall Street.
  4. Southerners resists looking at anything too deeply. Introspection is not valued in the South. Action is….The Republican’s play on this very well.
  5. Facts don’t mean much in the South. Truth has always been conceptual rather than a reality. Any region that can convince itself for over 150 years that the Civil War was about “states rights” rather than slavery is capable of any kind of self-delusion.
  6. The South tends to hate the idea of Big Government, even if they enjoy the benefits. They can over look little things like Social Security, Medicare, new bridges and highways, and insurance that covers pre-existing conditions and college kids. They somehow don’t make the connection that the federal government provides these things…
  7. Southerners value personal freedom above all else, as long as you are a straight white man.
  8. The President is Black and he’s a Democrat. To a large group of folks in the South, this alone is enough reason to vote Republican. Although you may never get them to admit it…

What can Democrats do to change all this and win the South?

  1. Learn to fight. The South and most of the Country values people who stand up for their principles. The GOP has Balls and the Democrats have Brains. You have to have both to win in the South.
  2. Push for independent, bipartisan redistricting commissions.
  3. Get out your message. We’ve got to publicize the benefits of the legislation we do pass and how it helps the poor and middle class as opposed to the Rich. The Democrats and The President have failed miserably at this for the few years. We have real achievements, but no one knows it.
  4. Take on the bullies at Fox News. We have got to make people realize this is not a news organization, but a propaganda machine that provides entertainment to the ignorant. We should be pushing companies not to advertise on Fox News. We should be telling the Management to turn it off in Public places like restaraunts and gyms.
  5. Call a liar a liar. This relates to number 1, but I can’t stress this enough. The Republicans look right in the camera and lie. And no one calls them on it. We have to start making people aware that there are things called “Facts” and stand up for them.
  6. Make this about Class Warfare. A class war is going on for years and most of the country just started to realize this. And the Republicans started it. Call’em on it. 
  7. Make it clear: Unless you have an individual income of greater than $200,000 or a combined Family income of over $300,000, there is absolutely no financial reason to vote for the Republicans. If you want to vote for what is best for your pocketbook, vote for the Democrats. The Republicans really only answer to the Corporations and the wealthy.
  8. Make Obama white. That’s about the only way you can get about 35% of white Southerners to support the Democrats. We have to focus on the remaining 65% of the South with open minds.
  9. Wait it out….The older, closed minded, prejudiced Southerners are dying off. The younger ones are more open minded,  better educated and have seen more of the world. These are the Southern Democrats of tomorrow.
  10. Make your Democratic friends vote. Even if you have to go to their house or job and throw them in the car and take them to the polls. There are more Democrats than Republicans in many parts of the South. The problem is Republicans always vote and Democrats don’t. If more Democrats would actually just show up at the polls, we would win a lot more races.

Those are my thoughts for now.

All I have left to say is:

If you are a Democrat, get off your butt and vote. There are no excuses.

If you are a Republican-why don’t you just book a spa day for Tuesday and let the election go? That would really be best for all of us….

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Filed under Elections, North Carolina, Politics, Scott's Commentary, The South

Chapter 79: Old Acquaintances | My Southern Gothic Life

New post up on my other blog….

Here is an excerpt and a link to the full post:


One of the great things about this blog and being on Facebook has been connecting with old friends.  And learning which people are truly “friends” and which are “acquaintances.”

There are people I barely know or still have never met, in person, whose interaction and comments I cherish.  I firmly believe Facebook and blog friends can be as real as friends you see in person everyday.  Cyber friendship is one of the keys to life in the 21st Century.

It’s also nice to again come across people who have crossed your path in life and see how they are doing.  Some will never know how fond you are of them and that you watch their pages on Facebook just to see how their lives have developed, how they are doing and that you watch them from a distance, like some benign guardian angel, just to be sure they are okay.

It’s friendship the easy way….

via Chapter 79: Old Acquaintances | My Southern Gothic Life.

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Chapter 78: Reclaiming the VEQ | My Southern Gothic Life

New post up on my other blog, My Southern Gothic Life…

Here is an excerpt and a link to the full post:

There has been an off and on effort in the Gay Community for years to reclaim certain derogatory terminology and make it acceptable to the Gay Community.

The first and foremost example of this is the word “Faggot”.  Larry Kramer started the reclamation of this term with his novel back in the 1970′s.  To sum it up, as Joe Jackson sang in his song “Real Men”, don’t call me a faggot unless you are a friend.

I still don’t like that word.  But then, I have never been but so Politically Correct.  Accepting standard orthodoxy has never been my strong point.

Instead, I’m planning to spend 2014 reclaiming the word “queen”, and all its derivations for the Gay Community.

via Chapter 78: Reclaiming the VEQ | My Southern Gothic Life.

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New Post up on My Southern Gothic Life

New post up on my other blog.

Here is an excerpt and a link to the full post:

I’ve posted a lot of amusing posts in the past.  And I have a few more lined up to come…But this isn’t one of them.  This one is a little more reflective.

To put it kindly, my Mother is entering the twilight of her life…and it’s a journey for my sister and I to deal with this….and to deal with each other.

More:   Chapter 77: The Wall | My Southern Gothic Life.


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Hairy Legs and Hobbit Feet

I just got home from dinner at a nice restaurant and it happened again;  I was forced to look at hairy legs and hobbit feet while I ate.

This also frequently happens at the theatre and I don’t mean seeing “Lord of the Rings” or “Hobbit” movies, I mean live performance theatre….

I’m talking about middle-aged men who have forgotten how to dress to go out in public.  They seem to think they can wear flip-flops or sandals and shorts any and every where.  Like it’s a uniform or something…

I can excuse the younger generation for not knowing or being taught any better.  I’ll blame their parents for their failure to understand that one dresses differently for dinner at a nice restaurant or when going to the theatre than one does to mow the grass or to wash the car.

However,  if you are over 40, and certainly if you are over 50,  you were taught better.  You know better and you are too lazy and socially inept to fix the situation…

It seems your manners and sense of dressing appropriately are lost in the 21st century….and I hate to break it to you, but you really don’t look very good wearing what you are wearing.

Also remember, what may be a cute, casual, even grunge look that works for a young guy, only makes you look poor, socially illiterate and potentially homeless.  If your wife, partner or girlfriend is well-dressed and nicely pulled together, it’s even worse.  Then it looks like they are taking an inmate from the home out for a night on the town.

Since no one else seems to be willing to point this out, I will.

Here are a few very simple rules:

  1. If the meal costs more than $15 and the restaurant does not have a drive thru window or if the restaurant has cloth napkins and/or tablecloths, you must wear long pants and real shoes.
  2. If real actors are on stage, especially theatre in the round, you must wear long pants and real shoes.  And not kick off your shoes during the show…
  3. If you are going to church, especially for a wedding or a funeral, you must at least wear long pants and real shoes.
  4. If you are wearing a shirt that buttons up the front and has a rounded shirt tail, tuck the damn shirt into your pants.  It was not designed to be worn outside your pants and it looks tacky and sloppy for you to do so.
  5. Backward baseball caps.  Does anyone still wear backwards baseball caps?  As one person commented when the Paul Ryan gym pictures came out:  “The only reason to wear a baseball cap backwards is if you are planning to give someone a blow job.”  Enough said.
  6. And, in closing, if you wear any kind of hat or cap, take the damn thing off when you go inside a building.

These are just the basics.  I’ll let the rest slide for now…I’ve vented.

There is a lot more to be said,  but if the male population would just follow these few simple rules, the world would start to be a much better and more attractive place. Or at least it would be a start in that direction….

And I could stop contemplating buying a taser….


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Chapter 76: The Taj-MaTitty

I’m easing back into blogging after a little break.  I’ll be back on “Lost in the 21st Century” soon.

In the meantime, I do have a new post up on my other blog, “My Southern Gothic Life:”

I’m fascinated by the Taj-MaTitty and I don’t quite know why…

The Taj-MaTitty is what I call one of our local “adult establishments” that I drive by every time I go to Costco.  It’s a big pink and white building on one of the busiest streets in town and looks like one would assume a titty bar would look if it had been designed by Saddam Hussein.  I’m sure they don’t have French Provincial furniture inside, but then, I may be wrong.  I’ve never been inside and probably never will….

More:   Chapter 76: The Taj-MaTitty | My Southern Gothic Life.

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Flashback: What to take to College: Freshman Year-1977

It’s almost time for the kids to head off to college and this always makes me think of when I left for my Freshman year at Washington and Lee University in September of 1977.

I start this post with a sense of trepidation as I fear it may turn into one of those “I walked 5 miles each way to school in the snow and you children have it so easy” posts….

Still, thinking back over this, I’m amazed at how much things have changed since 1977.  So, at the risk of making myself seem ancient, I’m going to try to revisit the list of things that were essential to our college life at that time:

  1. Sheets from the Dan River Cloth Store- I lived in Danville, Virginia and the local textile mill had an outlet store that every single person in town used to go to for sheets, comforters, bedspreads and fabric.  That was one of the first stops to getting ready for college.  Now gone.  Both the Mill and the Outlet.  Long gone….
  2. Towels from the Downtown departments stores-  I remember hitting a sale at Thalhimers on Main Street for my college towels with several of  my friends.  Thalhimers and Main Street Departments stores- long gone….
  3. Clothes- Khaki pants, Lacoste alligator shirts, crew neck wool sweaters, button down oxford cloth shirts, bass wejeens loafers- well, the shirts are now Polo and the loafers Cole Haan, but this hasn’t changed that much!
  4. A fan for the Dorm room- we did not have air conditioning in the Dorms then….
  5. A small black and white TV with rabbit ears antennas-  no Cable TV in the dorms.
  6. A stereo with an 8 track player and a Peaches Records crate full of albums
  7. Bar ware…
  8. Hair dryers- hair was big for both boys and girls
  9. Smith Carona Electric Typewriter-there were no computers or “word processors”….
  10. Posters for the walls
  11. A 1972 Chevy Vega for transportation to and from other colleges for Parties and dances.

That’s about it….

Oh, and Washington and Lee was then an all-boys school.  It would not go co-ed until 1986 or so….

We shared a pay phone in the hall and all chipped in to share another direct dial phone in one guys room.  Cell phones had not yet been invented.  One of our major expenses each month was long distance phone calls to our friends at other schools and dates at the “Girls Schools” like Hollins, Sweet Briar, Mary Baldwin and Randolph Macon Woman’s College.  Most of us made our families track us down at the pay phone in the hall and didn’t give our parents the shared phone number.  We wrote letters and notes home via snail mail.  Mainly to ask for money….

To get said mail, we had to open Post Office Boxes at the Post Office and go by there daily- or sometimes twice daily- to check our mail for checks.  We also had to open checking accounts at the local bank as large state-wide- not national- banks were just starting up….

We shared a refrigerator in the hall.  Thanks to the Honor Code, it was no big deal and nothing was ever stolen.

Note what we did not have:

  1. No Cell Phones
  2. No Computers
  3. No E-Mail or texting
  4. Facebook was an actual book published by each college with pictures of each Freshman.  These were traded so you could shop by mail for your dates and have friends at other schools set you up…
  5. No iPods or iPads
  6. Microwave ovens were too new to think about having one in our rooms
  7. No air conditioning-it was the Virginia mountains before Global Warming, so no one thought much about this….
  8. No Personal refrigerators (but these were starting to catch on)
  9. No Private Bathrooms- our whole hall shared a communal  bathroom and shower on the hall.
  10. No Helicopter Parents- the best part!  We were free!

When we look at the rising cost of education, I can’t help wonder what the breakdown is and how much is driven by the increased amenities today’s students “need”…

We also did walk to class in the snow.  We didn’t cancel classes back then as schools did not have the liability issues they face today…..

It was a different time and place….

And, sometimes, I kind of miss the simplicity and slower pace of those days….

I don’t miss the lack of air conditioning…


Filed under Education, Scott's Commentary, Uncategorized

Chapter 75: The Lessons of Scarlett O’Hara and Maggie the Cat | My Southern Gothic Life

New post up on my other blog:


No one ever understood Southern sexual politics better than Tennessee Williams.  But given the time in which he produced his work, some points had to be made subtlety and  obliquely…and much can be read into his work and that’s a liberty I’m going to take….

Sexual politics are an art form in the South.  Tennessee Williams understood this as does every Southerner who has a mind….

MORE:  Chapter 75: The Lessons of Scarlett O’Hara and Maggie the Cat | My Southern Gothic Life.

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Some Thoughts on Boston….

I feel the need to share a few thoughts about Boston and the tragedy that occurred there….

I can already see people trying to use this horrible act of terrorism to justify their own ends and feel the need to give my perspective….

This attack was personal to me, at least at first, as I had some friends at the Marathon in Boston. I and they were lucky.  They were fine…

But that still made feel connected to this in a way I haven’t felt connected to these events since that awful day in September of 2001…

First of all, as more details are emerging about the Boston Marathon bombings, people are desperately trying to make a link to Islam and Islamic terrorism.  This really disturbs me…

I just want to ask people to stop, think and remember- three things that are increasingly difficult to ask people to do in America.

Remember, if there is a religious link, it is not a question of Islam being the root of all evil and driving terrorism.  Violence is contrary to the teachings of Islam, just as it is to Christianity.

Fundamentalism and the viewpoint that one’s personal views are right at the expense of all others is the aspect of any religion- or politics- to fear.

No single religion drives Terrorism.  Angry, isolated people do….

Stop and think about it…

And remember….

Two of the worst terrorist attacks in America were perpetrated by so-called Christians.

Eric Rudolph was the man who executed the deadly bombing at the Olympic Park in Atlanta back in the 1990’s that also injured many more people than it killed.  He also killed and maimed others with his bombs at abortion clinics.  He was a member of the Christian Identity Movement.

Timothy McVeigh, who killed 186 people when he bombed the Federal Office building in Oklahoma City, was also a Christian.  He was upset at the government response to  the Branch Davidian sect and the tragedy that followed.

They both wanted to be the personal delivery mechanism of vengeance…and they were Christians.

So, don’t blame Islam.  Don’t blame Christians….

Blame the poor, sick, lost individuals who perpetrate these acts of terror.


Think of the victims and their families.  Wish them a recovery and the peace and strength to handle what they were so unexpectedly given.

Don’t spend so much time worrying about the perpetrators and don’t seek to place blame so  simplistically and freely.

Don’t look at this as an opportunity to reinforce stereotypes and your own prejudices.

Don’t try to make political mileage out of this like so many politicians are already trying to do….

Remember the 3 tragic victims who’s lives were cut so tragically and unexpectedly short.  Remember the people with such horrific injuries that their lives are changed forever.

And remember this is an aberration.  This was an act committed by a couple of  young men whose’s reasons we may never really know, accept or understand.

This was their choice, their crime, their individual action…

Like it or not, we have to try to hold individuals accountable and not seek to judge whole groups of people just because we perceive they aren’t like us or our beliefs….

Times like this should not be used to drive personal agendas…We should have learned that from all the mistakes after 9/11.


You  can’t blame a whole group of people or people of a certain belief for the actions of a couple of misguided or sick so-called “losers”….

At times like this, we have to think- not just feel or blindly react.  We can’t look for simple solutions in a complex world.

But, stop and think….

We can try to follow a few simple, personal guidelines to get through times like this….

First, focus on the living and on life….

Then focus on keeping our freedoms, not using actions like this as an excuse to limit them…

Focus on  preaching love, not hate….

Focus on practicing acceptance and not judgement…

Focus not just on putting yourself your beliefs first, but think on how you can give hope to others, understand their journeys and help them move forward in life…no matter that they may not believe just as you do….

We really are all in this together.  Boston proves that.  As did New York, the Pentagon, Oklahoma City and Atlanta….

Don’t focus on hate and blame;  that’s probably the type of thinking that drove these two young men to perpetrate this horror…

Focus on the right things….

The good things…

That’s the best way to avoid this happening again…..

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Chapter 74: Big Fat Southern Weddings: Part 4 | My Southern Gothic Life

Final part of the “Southern Wedding” series is up on my other blog:



My sister’s reception was at the “Last Capital of the Confederacy.”  The Sutherlin Manson in Danville, Virginia.

Since we weren’t members of the Golf Club and neither my Mother or Sister were members of the Wednesday Club, options were limited.  This was kind of a coup…

The Sutherlin Manson was, officially, the Last Capitol of the Confederacy because, after the fall of Richmond and Petersburg, Confederate President Jefferson  Davis and his cabinet set up temporary residence there, for a few days, before fleeing further South.

We were taught it was a place of honor due to the valiant Confederacy’s last stand.  I later learned it was really where the Confederate Government hid out, for a few days,  before running somewhere else to avoid being hanged for treason….

More:   Chapter 74: Big Fat Southern Weddings: Part 4 | My Southern Gothic Life.

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