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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/22/09

Rebel Yell: Something Is Wrong

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Message Bill Fangio
Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar; All for the Rebels, stand up and holler!

At least that is what we frequently said when I was cheerleading for the team at Arlington State College in Texas long ago. I know, I should have played football, but those practices were soooo long; and besides the only pads I knew how to get on were the shoulder pads, and then I ran onto the field with my helmet on backwards. Playing on a college team was a little different than the East Grand Thugs playing the Lakewood Rats at White Rock Lake Park in Dallas. The college wouldn't even let us use brass knuckles.

However, the coach never forgot me. The fact that I was in his Algebra class at 8:00 AM six days a week might have accounted for that. But, I digress.

The first problem I see with the cheer is that almost no one knows what a bit is anymore. That little gem is traceable to the days when we had real money. You know; silver and gold. At one time the Spanish Milled Piece of Eight was legal currency here. It was a silver coin minted by the Spanish Empire dating from 1497. It was pretty much a world currency as it was accepted in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The U.S. dollar, the Canadian dollar, and the Chinese Yuan were based on the Piece of Eight. Of course, leave it to Congress to muck up a good thing, so in 1857 the use of the Piece of Eight was discontinued. There was just too much freedom for their taste.

But, a practice had existed of slicing the Piece of Eight into eight bits to facilitate exchange. Therefore the idea of a bit being one eighth of a dollar, two bits would be twenty-five cents, four bits fifty cents, six bits seventy-five cents, and eight bits a dollar. Today we have the Federal Reserve Note. I wonder if I cut one of those into eight pieces if any merchant would take one of those eight pieces in exchange? Hmmm. Well, I'm glad we cleared that up.

Now, the next problem with the cheer is the use of the word "rebel". And, of course we also flew the Confederate Flag. Yes, I was both oblivious and insensitive. I had no idea that these things were offensive to black folks. During college I worked in grocery stores, gas stations, lumber yards, and loading docks along side workers of various ethnicity without ever discussing this issue. To tell you what we did talk about would bore you to tears. And, when we were unloading one hundred pound bags of concrete cement from railroad boxcars onto the flatbed truck, and then driving to the job site and unloading those same bags off the truck, it was one bag apiece for each of us regardless of skin color. There were no concrete trucks in those days and the mixing was done at the delivery point.

My Great Grandfather fought for the Confederacy at the battle of Shiloh and was wounded and captured there. Then, the Northern doctors conveniently amputated his right arm. That pretty well took him out of action. It really put a crimp in his violin playing as well. He wound up a great educator and orator delivering speeches on the evils of inflation of the currency.

But, what happened to him did not make me hate anyone. And, I didn't get offended when the choir sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I sang it myself. I am having second thoughts now.

So, in this age of political correctness the word "rebel" is verboten. But, why? To use that word does not mean that I approve of slavery. And as has been pointed out by others, slavery was eliminated by all other industrial nations without fighting a Civil War. It was a war that cost us some six hundred thousand lives. And, of course it was not a Civil War anyway, as the South was not trying to take over the government. They were just trying to get away from an oppressive government. Sound familiar?

Why did we fight that war? Was that war really about slavery? Slavery was certainly a hotly debated issue of the day. Although, as I remember, Lincoln's primary motive was preservation of the Union. Remember that the victors write the history books. In order to really understand the war between the States I recommend reading some of the modern scholars such as Dr. Thomas J. Dilorenzo. It just may be that what we learned in our public government schools doesn't quite square with the truth.

If our present leader continues to dilute our sovereignty and bring our institutions and businesses under the control of international organizations we may all have to consider being rebels again. This time there will be no question that our cause is just. And, I won't just be cheerleading.

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Company President, BS Mathematics UTA 1961, Author A Time of Transition, C4L Blogger, former City Alderman, long time financial supporter of Dr. Paul from New Mexico.
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