The Hullabaloo over Great Americans Day

You may or may not have seen that a coastal town in Mississippi tweeted that they were excited to be celebrating Great Americans Day.  There a lot of things to consider with this revelation, that it appears most tweeting about it do not understand.  No, they just wanted to say, “Delete your twitter” and one New Yorker had the audacity to try and be quippy and witty by retorting with “Y’all spelled Martin Luther King wrong.  “Bless your hearts.”   You can’t use any of that; our southern sayings. You’re not amusing and are just a jerk.

Now, here’s the deal.  Of course I, at first, was concerned about this “Great Americans Day”.  Biloxi… would you do this?  But, like a normal, logical person, I decided it was important to get more information.  Obviously, I can garner the information quickly as it’s in an article.  But, I am the type of person, who just seeing the statement on Twitter, would have set out immediately for more information instead of being a prat about it.

Basically, in the eighties, their city council made the decision to change the holiday name.  From Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to this Great Americans Day, so that it would also include General Robert E. Lee.  If you aren’t familiar, he was a Confederate general in the Civil War.  They may have put it on the books, but also didn’t really announce it as a thing.  I completely believe that because I am from Mississippi.  There’s a lot of things that were put on books and then never discussed or thought of again; falling into history so that it becomes some weird and absurd alternate reality.

I can also attest to the fact, that while I’m not from Biloxi, I have known quite a bit of people from there, or other regions of the Gulf Coast.  They’ve always celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, at least since it became a national holiday.  Or the times that we would day or weekend trip to the coast, everyone along the coast, including Biloxi, was closed for or celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day.  So, it’s not surprising in the least that no one in Biloxi has heard of this Great Americans Day.  I do think they should figure out who is in charge of that twitter though, and perhaps give them a list of holidays from this reality and not that alternate one from 1985.

Also, this whole business about General Robert E. Lee is unsurprising as well.  I’m not a “southern sympathizer” though I’d be considered one by non southern people just because I’m from the south.  But, I like historic wars, so I’ve done a lot of research.  He was a great general.  Even the Union wanted him for his side because he was just an excellent strategist.  He did get sloppy towards the end and there are varying theories as to why.  But, most historical war experts can agree that he was great at war.

However, even though Lee was a pretty bad ass war general, it does not make him a Great American.  Not to me; and not to a lot of southerners.  Why I’m unsurprised is because a tiny little town five minutes from me celebrates Robert E. Lee’s birthday.  No, that’s it.  Only his birthday.  They conveniently don’t celebrate anything to do with Dr. King.  I didn’t even know this until I was nineteen.  I didn’t know a world in which Lee was a hero and Dr. King wasn’t even mentioned until I was almost twenty.  I’m sure there are other places in Mississippi, or in the south, that operate the same way, or either include both for whatever reasons.

I’m sure the entire nation is complicated, but I know that the south is complicated.  I also know that things aren’t always as they seem.  Like the fact that the tiny town next to me, could be part of my city, and yet they feel completely different about two historical figures than the vast majority of my town.  These are the people you think of when you think of Mississippi, hateful people who do not like black people; I say this considering that friends from this town (after my realization) had no qualms discussing their lack of education on certain matters or that non-white people were never hero’s in school.  Or the fact that some uppity white people during the Reagan era can secretly make a holiday and no one cares that there has been a change because no one really realizes that said change has legally occurred.

I’ve also realized that most people don’t really want to dig deeper and understand something or to find the truth, no matter what issue it is about.  They tend to just take up the torches and pitchforks and make a witch hunt out of it.  This goes for a lot of people, whether they’re in the for or against category, and it doesn’t even matter which issue.

Reading and learning are excellent things to have in your arsenal.  But so to is logic.  They go hand in hand.  You can read about something all day long but if you don’t implement logic over emotion, then you’ve really done more harm than good.

Also, that while it might not be the status quo, a lot of people, just in my home state, do not like the current Governor or his cronie friends; they don’t see people as people, they only see White-Christian-Straight and the disgusting other.  They moved to make April National Confederate Month or something ridiculous like that just last year.  Now they wish to force businesses and universities to fly a state flag.  A state flag that, by the law in this state since forever, no one has to fly if they don’t wish to; a flag that a lot of people don’t like nor agree with.  A flag that was taken down on purpose because the people of the state want a new flag.

But, people see the state government trying to or successfully applying these measures and their mind automatically sets to, “all of Mississippi is this way.  We hate Mississippi.  Well, it’s your fault you voted him in.”

All are wrong.  I’m not talking voter fraud or anything.  I’m talking about the people who dislike the state government, did not vote for this person.  And that the republican voters do vote.  The democratic voters either aren’t voting, or they can’t make it to the polls.  Or perhaps are being turned away.  There was some “hiccups” during the presidential election this past November with people (democratic voters) being turned away, being told they could not vote, that they had been taken off the rolls for inactivity, though they had voted in the primaries.  So, there’s no telling how many were allowed to vote, how many of their votes counted, or how many votes actually saw a tally and not the dark side of a closet or whatever.

There are always grey area’s people.  Those people screaming ridiculous things, they know there are grey area’s, but they refuse to see them for anything that doesn’t fit in with their “perfect” view.

So, read, learn, be objective and logical, and yes there are most certainly grey area’s.  Use them, find them, seek them.

Anyways, my family had never and will never celebrate Robert E. Lee’s birthday.  We’re very in to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day.  We’re very into him.  What he stood for, everything he accomplished, what he said.  He was an extremely important man for everyone, for all Americans.  While he was a black man fighting for black people, he ended up bringing everyone together; so many different groups of people.  So many people love him.  So many people cherish his words and want the same things that he wanted.  To me, that’s what America should be about.


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