04 January 2020

[Ellis Millsaps] - A Paean to White Boys

*updated 9:43pm | 1/4/2020

    “You gotta dance with the one that brung you.” Popular wisdom

    “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

 I'm not trying on this day to address the audience at large. I'm not writing from one of my alternate personas. I'm not writing as the lawyer or the preacher’s boy. I address myself here solely to my ancestral brothers, white boys.

 We get dissed a lot and sometimes I do the dissing, but I like to think that on my better days I do so out of affection. We share a  common history. Most of us are here because one day one of our ancestors back in Europe said for whatever reason--poverty, social immobility, religious persecution-- “I can't cut it here. Things are so wrong in my life that I will take the wife and young'uns and venture across a vast ocean to God knows what.” Then we found ourselves landed by the grace of God or pure dumb luck ( I vacillate about whether those two things are the same) in a fertile American wilderness.

 And we have done very well for ourselves here. We are the heroes who in large part made this country the shining light on the hill. We are Daniel Boone, Sergeant York, Lou Gehrig and Frank Capra. We are William Jennings Bryan and Lenny Bruce.  (And I do think that technically Jews are white boys. We want Jesus in the club, right?)

 We tamed the frontier, struck gold in California and built the Hoover Dam. (I'm not totally sure about who did the yeoman’s work on the Hoover Dam but I am sure we at least supervised it.) 

But yes we have a lot of blood on our hands. We virtually eliminated a mass of people who were rightfully here before us, not initially by superior cunning or military might but by bringing diseases they could not resist. We helped or at least were acquiescent in kidnapping and enslaving Africans to do our dirty work. We wouldn't let the little ladies vote, much less the Africans or Native Americans.

These are certainly not things to be swept under the rug but they do not define us. We also made most of the good that America is. Most of us usually leaned in the right direction. When the chips were down we went to Europe, Africa and the Pacific to save the world as we knew it or die trying.

 So let’s pause a moment and give ourselves a pat on the back, not with the bloody hand but the other one. There were others who greatly aided the cause and whose contributions we certainly can’t dismiss, but let's face it, for most of the way it was we who did the heavy lifting. I praise us not from the outside but because as another white boy who strove to be an American said, “I am you as you are me as you are he and we are all together.” You are my people, the boys dead or alive who inhabit the front porch of my brain. We go back a long way. One of the last few to die with Crockett and Bowie at the Alamo was a Tennessean named Millsaps. Look it up. A Millsaps was there at the founding of the Jack Daniel's Distillery.( Some years back I found this info in a little blurb tied around the neck of a bottle of Gentleman Jack.)

 We are the stormers of Normandy Beach; we are The Lost Boys Of Wiffleball; but we are also responsible for electing a vain, rich boy buffoon to steer our ship of state. We are the ones  responsible for this debacle. We can’t blame brown people, women or homosexuals. Take our voting bloc out of the last election and it ain't even close. We wouldn't be in this mess, perhaps another one I admit, but not this constitutional crisis. As a sapient half white boy recently observed, we’d be a lot better off if women ran things.

 It is often said of late that there is more that unites us than divides us and this I choose to believe. I believe that if the situation were different, if Marshall and Perrin and Fred and I were called upon and were able-bodied Americans at the right time we would have been shoulder to shoulder in the English Channel sloshing toward Omaha Beach. Two of us would not likely reach shore but if called upon we would make that decision again. We wouldn't be in the surf debating who decides the future of embryos, whether the Second Amendment is responsible for the slaughter of school children, or who is printing up fake money for whom. Our focus would be on staying alive, keeping each other alive and defeating the people on shore who were endangering our children’s future.

Our time of running things is about over. I hope we can cede power with the grace and dignity that our better angels advise. 

So let's see if we are able to settle on a few core principles which white boys can accept and from there try to start a rational discussion of other matters. I see these as at least three.

- Number one: Olive Oyl is the worst girlfriend ever. She has no tits, no ass and she complains constantly (emphasis added by TPC Ed. MB McCart)

- Number two: Sugar has no place in cornbread. I realize I may lose a few of you here but if so you were latte drinkers who had no business in the club to begin with.

- Number three: Baseball been berry, berry good to me. No argument needed.. Some truths are self-evident. 

- Ellis Millsaps

Ellis "Da" Millsaps is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved...