On Saturday night, I had the surprisingly pleasurable experience of seeing Hank Williams, Jr. in concert in Camden, New Jersey. He opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd who I can take or leave, but wife is a huge fan. I confess to knowing only that he is a country singer, his father was very influential in the music industry lending songs to the early days of rock while maintaining his country roots. I also know that Hank Williams, Jr. had made some controversial statements in the past forcing ESPN to part ways with him in a fit of political correctness. In my humble opinion, his performance blew Lynyrd Skynyrd off the stage and I had my money’s worth before the headliner strummed a note.
But, this is not a review of a concert. Instead, two things were evident that night. Despite the southern pride of these acts, I noticed a shortage of Confederate flags. Maybe some people were apt not to display them given recent events, maybe it was because New Jersey is not a Southern state, or maybe people just came to hear some good music with a Southern country or rock sound. In all, I saw three confederate flags- one on a hat, one on a t-shirt, and one flying in the crowd on the lawn.
The second observation was the crowd reaction to the opening of one song.
Again, I confess to not really knowing his songs that well. But one song opened with the line, “I’m gonna keep my freedom; I’m gonna keep my guns.” Almost instinctively, some 19,000 people rose in unison in a standing ovation before he could get the next line out. I literally felt a chill go down my spine that such a line would elicit such a reaction out of a crowd. For a few seconds, it felt especially good to be an American and it gave me hope for this Republic.
Mind you- we are not talking about a bunch of rednecks sipping on Budweiser with a hound dog waiting in the car in the parking lot with a gun rack in the rear window of their 1990’s model pick up truck. That is the Left’s portrayal of your average Southerner redneck. Yes- there were lots of beards and biker tattoos and such, but there were also many young people in their 20’s and 30’s. It gave me hope for the future of this country.
In an age where the Leftist elite on the coasts and some liberal oases in between are trying to dictate to real America what America should be, some 19,000 people in a single moment encapsulated that which made this country great and continue to make this country great. It made these silly debates over Confederate statues seem trivial- almost an afterthought.
To this writer, I am quite tired of elitists in both parties telling me and others where our morals must lie. Our morals and national character lie in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution!
I am getting tired of the hand-wringing, self-flagellation, and virtue signaling in an attempt to one-up the previous comment and denounce people while slowly drifting into Leftist thought until before they realize it, the very freedoms that made this country great will be but quaint words in the Bill of Rights.
What good is a First Amendment when we stifle speech which the elite labels “hate speech?” What good is the First Amendment when one cannot practice their religious beliefs except behind the closed doors of their house or a church? What good is a First Amendment when an unlawfully assembled band of thugs can shout down, intimidate, threaten and fight a lawfully assembled group despite their abhorrent beliefs, words and thoughts?
What good is a Second Amendment when states deny the right to bear arms to lawful citizens in the name of “public safety”? What good is a Fourth and Fifth Amendment when the government, without obtaining a jury determination of guilt, can confiscate one’s property and money? Or can take one’s property because the proposed development will improve the tax base?
What good is a Constitution- an outline of limited government- when the federal government can run roughshod over the laws enacted by states and intrude on almost every aspect of American life and business from the healthcare policy you should have to the type of food you send to school with your child?
Some 19,000 people in Camden, New Jersey on a warm August Saturday night seem to have gotten it right through ten words in a song. I’d like to think they are the representatives of real America. As long as the Left, the Democratic Party and the elite in the GOP maintain their beliefs and ignore, denigrate and attack real Americans, it is good to know that at least 19,000 people from the greater Philadelphia region think otherwise.