Where, Oh Where Has “The Southern Voice” Gone?

For several weeks, I’ve been hearing from followers on both WordPress and Facebook, wondering where in the world I’ve been, and why I haven’t been blogging more often. I would like to take a moment to update all my followers with a long-overdue status update and outlook for the blog.

Most of the folks who follow this blog have been with me long enough to know that I’ve been in school on and off since the end of 2008. This past semester proved to be the busiest yet, with a full class load and a full-time job for the last month and a half of the semester. Nothing new for a self-financed college student, but this semester has been different.

The truth is, Facebook followers of The Southern Voice have an advantage over those who stick to WordPress. They’re in on the secret. And it’s a good one. That’s why I’m grinning like the cat that ate the canary.

Grinning like the cat that ate the canary
Grinning like the cat that ate the canary

There are many things that are cause for rejoicing. In the last year, I’ve gone from being unemployed, limping on a strained ankle, and without transportation to unrestricted ambulation (a medical professional’s term for walking normally, lol), owning a dependable, fuel-efficient vehicle, and working, not one, but two jobs.

But that’s not all.

After breaking my hip last June, I had to drop out of two summer courses at the school where I was enrolled. During the six months that followed, I spent a large amount of time reading, thinking, and pondering the ins and outs of life. It was during this time that a great number of this site’s post were written, including the series entitled, A Refreshing Pause. Instead of going off to Kings Point, New York, as planned, I stayed home, found work, and went back to school during the spring semester of 2013.

There are times in life when time seems to stand still, and nothing seems to be happening. The most amazing part of it is that these times are almost always directly followed by a time when life accelerates to a fever pitch, and everything begins to happen at once.

At the beginning of the semester, I re-enrolled in the math course I had been forced to drop, determined to follow through and finish the job this time. After sitting through the now-familiar orientation class period, I lit into the coursework with a vengeance. This time, I vowed, I would track the math down and kill it.

Okay, I’m becoming overzealous with my metaphors. Moving on…

I couldn’t help but notice that one of the tutors was a young lady about my age, but at first, I really didn’t think too much about that. I was fairly sure that she had a person of interest in her life, and I was preoccupied with school anyway, determined not to get distracted from my goal of finishing the educational course.

However, after two or three weeks in class, I began to notice that the young lady in question was not attached to anyone, as it were. Still determined to stay focused, I merely noted that fact and went on about my business. I could never have expected what happened next.

About two weeks after school started, I went into the math lab early to make up time for an absence. As I was sitting at the desk, with my nose in a book, I couldn’t help but overhear this girl telling another tutor about a “stalker dude” that was giving her trouble.

This “stalker dude” (he shall remain nameless, to protect the guilty) was nearly twice her age, and making all sorts of stupid comments, such that Hannah was feeling quite uncomfortable–indeed, threatened–while at her workplace.

At this point, I knew that I should do what I could to help, even if we never became more than acquaintances.

Having determined to do something, I “happened” to encounter Hannah in the hall later that evening. After a few nondescript pleasantries, I observed, “It sounds like you’ve had a rough day in the math lab today.” Her face fell. “Every day’s a rough day,” she said despondently. “I feel like I’m doing something wrong to draw that much attention to myself.”

(I should mention here that Hannah never did anything indiscreet that would have drawn attention to herself, and was always professional and modest, both in demeanor and attire.)

“No, not at all,” I told her, “It’s guys like that that are the problem. They paint targets on whoever they want.” She brightened a bit as she looked at me and asked, “Do you really think so?” I nodded, adding without hesitation, “I’m a guy, so you can take it from me: you are not doing anything to attract undue attention to yourself. Ok?” She nodded, and a smile crept onto her face as she answered, “Okay.” Then, just as suddenly, her face fell again. “That still doesn’t solve my problem…”

I nodded. “I know.” I knew that now was my only chance to take the plunge, so I drew a deep breath and bailed off, “If you want, I can walk you out to your car after work tonight.”

Her eyes widened; clearly, she was surprised I would even offer. “Really? That would be great!” “All right,” I said, “It’s settled then.”

If you have stuck it out thus far, thanks for your patience. I’ll move more quickly now.

Since my math class was the last one on the schedule for the two nights I was there, it fell perfectly into both our routines for me to escort Miss Hannah to her car, and for a week or two, that was the extent of our contact with one another. As time went on, we began to spend a few minutes together before my class (it just so happened that was when her break fell in the schedule). One day, about three weeks after we had begun talking to one another, her father and brothers walked into the hall where we were talking. They said they had come to “talk to” the other fellow, the one who was bothering their daughter/sister, but Hannah later told me they had come to meet me, too.

I don’t remember much of what we said that night, but for some reason, her dad took a liking to me, and told Hannah that if it worked out that we became more than friends, that was fine with him.

That was nearly seven months ago. Not only is she my best friend, but she is the one person in the world I feel like I couldn’t live without.

Hannah and Me
Hannah and Me

Today, I am thankful for the way that the Lord worked in my life, orchestrating circumstances and locations so that I would meet Hannah just when I did, and be in the frame of mind that I was when I met her. Although I didn’t set out to find a “person of interest,” I firmly believe that the Lord moves people as He sees fit, and that He had more than just a wonderful friendship in mind for the two of us, long before last semester.

All that being said, where does that leave The Southern Voice? Well, there are other things afoot. My work situation is still in a bit of a flux, so I’m sometimes pressed to find time to post. At the moment, however, it looks like I’ll be able to post at least once a week. As time permits, I’ll continue to post on a more regular basis.

I would like to conclude this rather lengthy post by thanking my readers who have stuck with me throughout the course of the last year, through both showers and droughts of writing. It is your patronage that encourages the heart of this writer, and helps to motivate him to write posts for your reading enjoyment and mental provocation (After all, one of the things I strive to do is stimulate thoughtful contemplation of life.). Although I enjoy writing for writing’s sake, it is even more enjoyable to know that other people are reading what I write, and enjoying–and perhaps profiting–from what I have written.

Here’s to many more years of blogging together! Long may reading–and writing–continue in this forum!

For writing’s sake,

David

The (Happily Taken) Southern Voice Writer

Gun Owners Not Progressives, Refuse to Be Cowed By Psychological Campaign

[Owning] A smoking gun could be as bad for your social image as a smoking cigarette, if liberals have their way.

The Christian Science Monitor, the far-out publication of the Christian Scientists, has muddled the facts once again on an important cultural issue. The magazine, which recently classed Palestinian-funded terrorist attacks against Israel as “military action,” now insists that the way to curb gun violence is a public perception campaign designed to stigmatize gun ownership, much akin to the campaign that successfully stigmatized smoking.

Image
Cogitating Duck’s Profile Graphic

(Visit Stigmatize gun ownership like smoking? on Cogitating Duck to read another interesting article on this subject.)

Recent surveys, however, may indicate that such attempts are doomed to dismal failure. According to Dr. Rob Spurgeon, holder of the chair of Aristotelian Professor of Logic and Co-chair of the Department of Farming (yes, really) at Real Life University in Western North Carolina, gun owners belong to the group of people who still evaluate any line of reasoning according to the logical merits of its arguments, rather than its emotional impact. “Those who advocate this line of reasoning aren’t thinking clearly,” Dr. Spurgeon explains. “The gun owners the progressives seek to embarrass about their guns are much more emotionally robust than their liberal counterparts. What the stigmatizers fail to admit is that many of those same gun owners are employed in professions that bring them face to face with the harsh realities of real life and the real world.

“Not every animal that is born on the farm lives to see the next spring,” Spurgeon continues. “There are many factors that contribute to a high mortality rate among the animal population of the average agrarian establishment: storm, disease, fire, predators, and yes, some of them are slated to give up their lives to feed the humans that maintain the grange.” But what does this have to do with the argument he posits against a “public shaming” campaign targeting gun owners? He explains:

“Because of the high investment in the animals in terms of time, an unavoidable emotional attachment will form as a result. Furthermore, a farmer’s great compassion for animals–despite the stereotype to the contrary–gives him a desire to see all prosper under his care. He is not overly concerned with his animals’ comfort, but neither does he neglect them. Instead, he looks most solicitously after them, for their well-being is directly tied to his own success. Thus the death of a six-week-old lamb due to complications of pneumonia is not an event which takes place in a vacuum. Unlike city-dwellers, whose primary concern is that the animals from whom the meat they purchase derives did not suffer during the ‘manufacturing’ process, these folks have deep ties to their animals. When one dies, it’s a very real and significant event in the lives of its caretakers. However, the real world dictates that the farmer–after an appropriate interval–must dry his tears, bury the dead, and get back to work.”

Nor is farming the only profession which requires a realistic, grin-and-go-on mentality. Dr. David Crain, Sr., Vice Chancellor of Real-Life University, explains:

Our student body is unique. It’s diverse. There are many different backgrounds and origins represented. Many of our students are preparing for careers in business. Some spend their time volunteering in various non-profit organizations. Others feel the call to full-time vocational ministry. Whatever the course of study in which a student is enrolled, the core curriculum is the same…

We don’t discriminate, but we don’t worry about active recruiting (affirmative action) procedures either. We believe that the students who desire to study here will come of their own volition. If they don’t want to be here, telling them how great our campus is won’t change their mind, and neither will our curriculum. Does this mean that we don’t promote the University when people ask? Certainly not! That’s half of the mission of RLU…to engage with the culture and convince others of the truth of our beliefs and practices.

Basic Economics, Politics 101, Public Speaking, English Grammar, Critical Thinking, Logic, and The Fine Art of Growing Thick Skin are courses that are non-negotiable. Here at RLU, we believe that if our graduates are to succeed, then they must learn and apply to their everyday lives the principles imparted by the dedicated staff in these departments. Our purpose is not to educate people into uselessness, but to educate them in useful disciplines that will make them profitable citizens, informed voters, critical thinkers, rational parents, and stable adults…

Dr. Crain founded Real Life University in early 1997, at the time that his oldest son, David Crain, Jr. was in the 7th grade. “I knew,” he later reminisced, “that I didn’t want my boys going out into the world without understanding where the progressive professors in the state-run education system got their ideas, and how patently false the assumptions behind accepted modern thought really are.”

Operating on a shoe-string budget, and in spite of overwhelming disapproval from his peers, Dr. Crain hand-selected his own textbooks, supplemental reading, and spent countless hours writing and re-writing tests, quizzes, and course notes, many of which are still used today in the core classes at RLU. “Despite the many hours of sleep I lost,” he said in a recent interview, “the ultimate reward was in seeing my boys grow up to be clear-eyed, level-headed thinkers who, actively refusing to imbibe the pleasant (but mind-numbing) wine of progressive socialism, entered into debate with those who espoused the progressive worldview. Above all, it was a joy to see them do so–not arrogantly–but fearlessly, regardless of the academic or political stature of their opponent.”

On hunting down one of these boys, we found young Mr. Crain, a lanky six-footer with a ready grin and a shock of curly brown hair, to be as ready a commentator as his father. He took a full two hours in the middle of mowing a pasture to answer our questions and talk politics. Wearing faded Wranglers that were dark stonewashed when new, a Ford ball cap,  and a plaid flannel shirt, he jumps off the tractor and grips the author’s hand like a steel trap gripping a coyote’s paw.

“I grew up on the farm, and it’s easy to forget that not everybody shakes hands with country folk everyday,” he offers apologetically as Scribens rubs his tingling digits. A clear speaker, his voice is nevertheless tinged with an authentic Southern burr that softens the pronunciation of some words. His years of public speaking experience are evidenced by the overemphasis of certain syllables when he’s making a point, however.

“I loved living out in the country…still do,” he continued in our January 24th interview. “There’s an atmosphere of peace and safety that’s refreshing and comforting, and I’ve yet to be in a city where that same sense of security prevails. Of course, there are things that happen out here from time to time in the way of crime, but nothing like the big cities where people are stacked up in cracker-box penthouses and apartments. Out here, there’s a little more space between houses, and people are more relaxed.”

Broach the subject of politics as it relates to logical thought, and you’ll get a glimpse of what makes this young man tick. He sits up a little straighter, his voice grows a little stronger, and his eyes gleam, not with the wild light of the lunatic but the passion of an to informed man eager to guide others on the road to truth.

“Eisenhower said it, and he said it well: ‘Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.’ Granted, he was talking specifically about the military-industrial complex, but America has ignored the deeper and broader implications to her own peril.

“We live in a nation today that is convinced that truth is something that can only be obtained by a renunciation of all that has gone before, and a disinterested search through the uncharted wilds of the relativistic ether for an equally elusive concept of relevant truth for this postmodern world,” he elucidates. “The classic interpretation of truth as objective and relevant to all ages is a concept that is no longer embraced by the culturally enlightened. Objective truth has gone the way of the dinosaur, and they hope it stays there. But only by a return to this paradigm, now a pariah in the very society that gave it its greatest expression, can we hope to turn this country back to its founding principles and documents.”

At this point I mentioned the Christian Science Monitor article, and asked him what he thought of the suggested “public perception” campaign to “stigmatize gun ownership.”

He laughed. “You’re kidding, right?” Then his grin disappeared and he looked thoughtful. “It’s going to take a lot more than that, quite honestly. I mean, they compare it to smoking, but that’s just foolish. Do I agree with the stigmatization of smoking and smokers? No. I believe there’s enough evidence to convince people of the harmful effects of smoking. I have personal reasons for abstaining that include (but are not limited to) the health concerns, but I don’t believe that the government should tell anyone: ‘Thou shalt not smoke,’ or, ‘Thou shalt smoke only here, and only under these circumstances.'”

“Before you stone me as being anti-health, stop and think about it for a moment. How consistent would it be for me to lobby for the government to restrict the choice of some folks to engage in activities that I don’t like, but don’t necessarily harm others, and then scream when those same people use that same government to take away certain of my rights with which they do not agree?”

“Now, I’m not equating smoking to bearing arms as a right; I’m just drawing a parallel. A much more equal comparison would be between free speech and bearing arms; or between right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure and bearing arms. These are all rights as granted by the Constitution and the Amendments thereof, and they are not, as the Second Amendment states, to be infringed.”

“So do I think the progressives will be successful in their campaign to stigmatize guns? No, I don’t. The people they seek to bully into cowering submission are largely well-educated, familiar with real life, accustomed to hardship, and are pretty set in their convictions on these matters. They’re not doing something that is harmful to their health, something that they took up years ago because everybody thought it was cool…that’s what smoking is for many people. But gun ownership is different, and ingrained in the DNA of every conservative father is the drive to pass on the safe use of, and love for, guns.”

“Despite any attempts to stigmatize the owners, guns are part of the American way of life. Their ownership is protected by our Constitution, their safe and responsible use is encouraged by countless thousands of conservative parents, and their presence–in the hands of well-trained civilians who know where and how to use them–is part of the reason my home town has a relatively low crime rate. Yes, evil men use them to commit evil deeds…but good men use them just as often to prevent evil deeds. In a gun-crime situation, the problem isn’t the gun…it’s the man behind the gun.”

“That’s the central message behind our stance on weapons and the Second Amendment.”

Text for this article is taken from interviews with the gentlemen listed and is the  proprietary intellectual property of Excogitatoris Scribens™.

Excog Profile Pic

(graphic credit)

© 2013, all rights reserved according to the copyright policy of The Southern Voice.

Price “Gouging” Illegal — Really?

Credit: Jeff Vela on http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/price_gouging/

Hi folks, just a brief article today for your consideration. I just read that the state of North Carolina has officially outlawed “price gouging,” which means that retailers are not to use this crisis as an opportunity to “make an unfair profit off of consumers.”

Find the full article here.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this. Here are some subtopics to address in your responses:

Is this truly a “fair and decent” thing to do? Or is it too much government interference in the everyday lives of people and free market transactions? What is the definition of an unfair price? Why should those who are “guilty” of this “offense” be prosecuted as for a crime? What do you think this says to those who took the time and put in the effort to purchase supplies in advance?

Look for my response to the above article within the next week. Until then, you’re on! Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Commenting! 🙂

Welcome to the Community, Brother!

Folks have been taking notice of The Southern Voice over the last few weeks, and I’ve really enjoyed hearing from different folks through the likes, follows, and comments that have come to my site with the increased traffic. I’ve really enjoyed tracking folks back to their blogs and getting a glimpse of their takes on life. It’s been a most interesting time. 🙂

I’ve barely begun to get used to the fact that people are following me on WordPress when BAM! I’ve got an award nomination from one of my newest followers. That’s cool!

I now present the award banner for your viewing enjoyment, in partial fulfillment of the requirements of acceptance of this nomination. (I have written waaaay too many papers and speeches in school.)

Next, I would like to extend my thanks to the one who nominated me, Alexandra of I Started Late and Forgot the Dog. Stage two of the provisos, quid…oh, you know, requirements, is now complete.

Third (and this should be FUN!!), I will now answer the questions provided by the nominator of my blog. Tee-hee! These are great, and I really had fun coming up with answers to them. I’ve striven for a genuine answer, with a humorous touch. Enjoy!

Question: Batman and Leslie Knope are running against each other for POTUS.  Whom would you vote for and why?

Batman, hands down. Why, you ask? Well, to begin with, he is a businessman a capitalist, and a man who believes that an inventor/innovator should have a controlling interest in the company bearing his name. Second, he is an awesome public figure. He has no superpowers, except his uncanny ability to manipulate people by using their fear as a weapon, but he is definitely one bad dude, probably on the level of Chuck Norris. The man is be-awesome, to borrow Rhino’s phrase from Bolt. The clincher for me on this one is Batman’s stance on evil and corruption…he can’t stand it. And let’s be honest for a moment, entrenched corruption is always in need of a good swift kick in the pants, wherever it may be found.

It’s not that I have anything against Leslie Knope. I just don’t know who she is. Sound familiar? (My political bias obtrudes…forgive me.)

Question: Identify and describe your very favorite dessert.

Well, Death by Chocolate, as some call it. BUUUUT…huge qualifier: it has to be homemade. With real chocolate pudding, made from scratch. Real whipped cream. There’s a certain kind of cookie we make, chocolate with peanut butter chips in them? Yessss…homemade cookies, mind. And when it’s all layered into the bowl, over the final layer of whipped cream we sprinkle the super-tiny chocolate chips by Nestle. Oh yes, brother, I did…I went there. Try it…you will return to the norm reluctantly.

Question: In what outfit do you feel most confident and why?

A suit, shirt and tie, with dress shoes that are well-shined. Why that? Because I like looking my best; and, even after years of dissenting theory and indoctrination, people really DO let your clothes say it for you. Perhaps that will turn into a post sometime?

Question: What “good” movie do you hate and why?

Ummm…well. <——- This one stumped me for a while, so that sentence can be taken to represent the sum total of my tortured musings on this subject. However, I would have to say that I hate Gone with the Wind. Stone me if you must, I’ve lived in the South my entire life, but I just cannot get past that movie. Scarlett is so impossible, and yet such a vivid reminder of some people with whom I am “acquainted,” that it ruins it for me.  And Rhett (all due respect to Clark Gable) is a little stuck on himself. So yeah, Gone with the Wind needs to…well, get  gone. 😀

Ok, now I am called upon to nominate my fellow bloggers for this award, because passing it on is part of accepting your nomination. Great!

The Wordslinger — this guy is going somewhere in life, and having fun doing it, from all accounts (the beauty of having your own blog where you are solely responsible for all content there…you control the message and image you present). 🙂

Necessary and Proper Government — Jeff, the owner of this blog, has come to my attention recently through an interesting discussion surrounding my post about the Vice-Presidential Debate (You Give It to Biden? Really Now…). Really enjoy talking to, and reading behind, this gentleman who does his homework and always presents the facts logically with no spin. One of my favorite blogs. Ever.

Things We Make — Now here’s an awesome concept: take 2 writers, talented in many other respects as well; add generous cup of curiosity, heaping cup of creativity, pinch of wit, dash of run-and-find-out, and voila! Things We Make…a great blog about things to eat, brighten up your home, or make the day of someone special to you. Nice. 😀

Since this post is 50 years long already, please, my nominees, feel free to share 6, 7, 0r 11 wonderful, exciting, fun, unusual, interesting, strange, or disturbing facts about yourself. 🙂 Irony is welcome, humor is a great idea, but don’t drop the unqualified, “I have a boring life.” Really? If you do that, I’ll nominate your blog for the brand-new Kill-Joy Award, which you will have had the honor of minting. LOL. All kidding aside, I’m looking forward to learning more about you all. 🙂

Once again, I’m overjoyed to be welcomed to the community in this way. It almost feels like a meet-and-greet where you’re a nervous guest, and suddenly someone walks up to you and says, “Hey man, great to see you here tonight,” as he gives you a hundred-dollar “green handshake.” Bam! Confusion vanishes; confidence emerges.

Thanks again, Alexandra, for nominating me for this award!