Rights vs “Rats”

End Quarantine Protest in Huntington Beach

They are both the same word, but “rats” (R1) is the Southern Confederate drawl version of “rights” (R2). They do not, however, refer to the same thing. R1 people are likely to insist that this is a free country, meaning they are free to do anything they want, even if it causes harm, like shouting “Fire!” precipitating a riot in a crowded theater. They are free to think that whatever they believe is true, such as that Covid-19 is a lie.

Myself, I consider myself to be an R2 person. I have certain inalienable rights, but these stop short when they cause harm. If I fire an AR-15 automatic rifle into a crowd, the possibility of killing multiple people puts a limit on my “rats.” Likewise, going to a crowded bar, getting coronavirus, and passing the disease on to my friends and relatives, possibly killing several of them, is to my mind a criminal act.

Confederate Prisoners Fighting for Their “Rats”

I first stumbled onto the difference in a scene from the 1993 Ted Turner film Gettysburg, when C. Thomas Howell, playing the part of Lieutenant Thomas Chamberlain, comes across a group of Confederate prisoners and asks them what they were fighting for. He doesn’t quite understand their answer, that it wasn’t for slavery that they were fighting, but for their “rats,” making him wonder why they were talking about vermin. It’s interesting to me that one person’s rights could be seen as another person’s crimes.

I see Trump in a difficult position. The disease is a serious one, and at the same time the economy is in dire straits. On one hand, his return-to-work policy could result in tens of thousands of deaths, especially of those misguided people who believe in him. On the other, it could lose him his presidency if his followers get so an inkling of what is really happening.


Deep, Deep in the Heart of Dixie

The Stars and Bars Still Flies in a Corner of ... Brazil?

The Stars and Bars Still Flies in a Corner of … Brazil?

The Civil War ended a century and a half ago, but it is still being celebrated—strictly on the Rebel side, however—by descendants of the Southerners who emigrated to Brazil rather than submit to the indignation of Yankee Carpetbaggers. I was amused by a story on the NBC News website entitled “Confederate Roots Extend Far South … of the Equator.”

In an area near a place called Americana in the State of São Paulo, there is an annual Festa Confederada by descendants of the 10,000 Secessionists who were lured further south by Emperor Dom Pedro II to establish a successful cotton growing economy. Apparently, it worked.

Apparently Brazil was the last country in the Western World to abolish slavery, as late as 1888. So the first Confederados in Brazil were able to hold on to their slaves for some twenty years. As one can see from pictures taken at the Festa in Santa Barbara D’Oeste, the same symbols that would raise controversy in North America are celebrated openly in Brazil.

Although I am an enemy of all manifestations of the Confederacy in the United States, where the wounds of the Civil War are still bleeding, I find the South American recrudescence to be innocuous, as it appears to be unconnected with the type of race hatred which still rages in our country.