Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Beating Heart of Texas, part three

Present Day, Austin, Texas

“Dad? Yes, Sissy.”
“This is Emily, the friend I told you about.”
“Oh, yes. Emily, are you enjoying UT? Political Science major, right?”
“Yes Sir. I like UT a lot. It’s such a welcoming place. There’s so much more diversity than I expected to find down here.”
“Yes, you’re a Yankee from Hudson River country, I hear.”
“Yes Sir. From Beacon, New York.”
“Pete Seeger country.”
“Oh yes, he was my neighbor. You know about Pete then?”
“He’s no less than my number one American hero. He stood up to the most insidious threat our nation has faced – the McCarthy-era House Un-American Activities. Committee.”
“Have you read what he said to them? I read the transcript again for a paper.”
“Oh yeah. I remember he told them that to ask him about his politics or his religion was wrong. He wouldn’t tell them who was present when he gave concerts, and he refused to verify that he may have sung at Communist Party meetings. Instead he offered to sing the same songs then and there.”
“That’s sure the gist of it.”
“I grew up listening to my Dad sing union songs.”
“She sure did. Sissy could sing along with “Hold the Fort” and “We Shall Not Be Moved” while she was still in kindergarten.”
“I got in trouble in Junior High singing class for telling the teacher about Woody Guthrie after we sang “This Land Is Your Land.”
“Ha. She sure did. Her mom and I faced down our own little Un-American Activities Committee on Parent-Teacher Conference Night.”
“I didn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance for two years in Junior High.”
“Oh she sure didn’t. Another conference. I pointed out that she had always said it before her teacher questioned her family’s patriotism. And, I informed them that I wouldn’t stand for anyone forcing her to say it either. Her teacher’s ignorance temporarily robbed her of the feeling she used to get from saying the pledge. If a Junior High can’t teach reasons why a girl should love her country and instead try to bully her into saying it, they can go to hell.”
“Ha Ha. You guys are sure not what I think of as Texans.”
“Well, there are more free-thinkers in Texas than you’d think. I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church, First Baptist in Amarillo, and our preacher Winfred Moore stood up to the Southern Baptist Convention when they started to change the free- thinking Baptist style to the dictatorship they are today.”
“Sissy said you’re still a Baptist.”
“Yes, I am. We are affiliated with a group that still believes in Baptist tradition. We have an unfortunate name, Texas Baptists Committed.”
“That’s funny.”

“I’m afraid so, but the beliefs are right-on. And here we are in conservative Texas standing up to the big corporate style of the Southern Baptist Convention Baptist fascists. We intend to “surround hate” and force “it to surrender,” just like Pete Seeger’s banjo.”

No comments:

Post a Comment