I’m a story teller, not a historian… I’ve had occasion to make this statement a couple of times lately, to explain myself and what I’m saying.
I’m not a moralist either. Things are pretty much the way they are, you know. Hard enough to look after my own moral conscience and peace of mind, much less goin’ons of anyone else. Plus I vacillate.. I’m for abortion one day, against it the next. For capital punishment, then no, that’s crazy.
Be careful taking note of anything I say on moral issues. Might have a different slant tomorrow. Somehow I am what General Patton said about Leadership: ”A leader is a man who can adapt principles to circumstances.” I refine my principles to deal with what’s goin’ on. I don’t believe in the death penalty unless you threaten me or my family…then culpable homicide’s OK.
Add to that inconstant attitude, my passions seem to ebb and flow.
Except my patriotism.
A few years ago I couldn’t sleep out of frustration over Obama. Now – though I still respect the office he holds – I just don’t care about that individual. He’s the results of “affirmative” action and the “entitlement” age launched by wrong-headed Lyndon Johnson, one of the worst Presidents ever… who more than any other person sent the prosperity and strength of purpose of our country to the dumpster.
He wasn’t popular but there was always great media support to his Democrat, give-away “Great Society” programs. There was a push by academia and left over Vietnam protest organizations to socialize gov’t and the America way. Media was there seemly as guide-ons to those initiatives in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Jump to the present and take the riots in Ferguson, Mo. The first 6 days after the incident when the officer killed the man who had just robbed a store and, in resisting arrest, busted his cheek bone – the media said/wrote “people took to the streets to protest police brutality.”
Yet of the 192 arrested for disorderly conduct, only 7 were from Ferguson. The rest were from outside the town, some car-pooled in to participate in the media circus where reporters interviewed anyone who wanted to say anything.
Any acc’ts you read of riots in Ferguson, you will do best to think Al Sharpton… not an oppressive police force. But you have to make that connection yourself, ’cause the media wants you to believe an incendiary untrue version, maybe to sell newspapers, I don’t know. Doesn’t make sense. Except to Al Sharpton, who does this for living.
But yeap, Lyndon Johnson started this slide we’re on to a lawless society, or at least a less lawful and fair society.
Though Clinton and Hillary gives him a run for his money, as does Jimmy Carter. Connect the dots: Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton… then what? You got it.., Obama.
But hey, I’m a story teller, remember. Not a historian. I want to tell a Jimmy Carter story.
In the early 80s we were assigned to a small town very much down-range Southeast Asia (SEA) where I did anti-narcotics work. We joined a group of other ex-pats to form a social club… had a slew of Australians doing multi-national land grant and health work, a Chinese gal from Singapore, plus a Thai lady or two, including Amphai (pls see my Rants and Yarns # 29), a US DIA agent, the local USIA officer, some Brits… and a group of former Rhodesians. This latter group was handsome, hardworking and pleasant, mostly employed by foreign companies responsible for growing core tobacco in the countryside around this small Asian town. Maybe 12 to 20 people in our gatherings on any given Friday, Saturday or Sunday night.
I think the Australians set the informal tone. This getting together with friends was just what they did back in the land down under. Us from the US were used to going to ground in front of the TV on week-ends back home. Aussies wanted to be with “their mates.”
Same with the former Rhodesians. We liked them all. They had bountiful personalities; were good to be with. Laughed and Laughed. Farmers with IQs like you’d find on college campuses.
And this began to happen…. Brenda and I would be at someone’s house, maybe sitting out on the porch watching a sun down with an adult beverage in hand… and I’d be sitting next to one of these hard-working, fun-loving former Rhodesian people and they’d tell me what had happened to their country.
The details changed, but the basic story was the same… the people who were sitting talking with me came from families that worked the rich former Rhodesian land for generations and generations. Five, Six, Seven, Eight Generations… in some cases their families had farmed the same land for a couple hundred years, with the family cemetery up some lonesome hill on the property. They had their own ways to keep the land together so that it wasn’t divided by the children, generation to generation. African natives in the area worked one farm or another mostly. They didn’t work, they didn’t eat and would eventually move on, some to gather outside the country boundaries, some in shanties beside the larger towns. Some made-do living off the land out in the countryside. Not many.
The gov’t in Salisbury was formed by younger sons from large farm families. They were held responsible to their elders – their older brothers especially – for administering a fair and effective gov’t, that looked after everyone who was born in former Rhodesia. Hospitalization, banking, schooling. Didn’t matter who you were. Employers or the gov’t provided for and regulated basic community services. No one was denied. You were a Rhodesian, black, white or green, you bought into the work ethic, you and your family were provided for and protected. No exception. No corruption. No stupid policies. Balanced budget? Nope, the gov’t made money.
Check the records these good friends of mine would say. Just check the records. It wasn’t a utopia, but it worked and made sense. In that place in southern Africa, for five and six and seven generations, it worked and prospered.
Then “Apartheid” became a very bad word in not only the international media but in other gov’ts. Taken completely out of context. Outsiders flooded into former Rhodesia and began to organize workers and spreading malcontent with the general population, especial those without jobs.
Enter Jimmy Carter.
He took up the chant, “end Apartheid… Stop that over bearing Salisbury gov’t… stop the farming… stop the businesses… stop the peace. Majority rules.”
Just every week, there was another Jimmy Carter thing in their lives. Around the supper table of these former Rhodesian farms people, they tried to make sense of it. Tried to reconcile how they had become such bad people. How majority rule might possibly work in Rhodesia under the way it was structured.
But In fact they couldn’t make sense of it. Majority rule – driven by agitators and people who didn’t work – was incompatible with the Rhodesian culture they had known for five, six and seven generations.
Carter never let up in forcing his administration to do something to end Apartheid Rhodesia – to bring change – to this small land locked country that had absolutely no bearing on anything US. Sanctions were imposed. Carter traveled the world spreading the meanness and ugliness of “Apartheid.” What he said had almost no linkage to things Rhodesian, these good people told me sitting on the front porch in Bumcluck SEA.
What were they to do? Some of the Rhodesian began to look at moving out of the country and… as impossible as it might seem – sell the family farm lands, leaving behind the cemeteries under shade trees and the rich land their families had cultivated for years. Most felt – in their minds and hearts – that they were being evicted by Jimmy Carter. Maybe there was more to it, they’d allow. It was just the way it seemed. Carter’s name was attached to “change” in their country. But no matter what he said, they sure didn’t look on themselves as racist or Nazis… they were farmers. Farmers they’d say and show me their calloused hands.
It’s Zimbabwe now. Not Rhodesia. Mugabe has been in power since Jimmy Carter led the ouster of the whites. His gov’t doesn’t work, it’s among the world’s worst. Hospitals/schools/civic centers – all third world. Corruption everywhere. AIDS is prevalent. Life expectancy is around 37 for men, 34 for women… in 2006, the lowest in the world. 99.7 % of the population is of African origin. Many came into the country after the capital’s name was changed from Salisbury to Harare. Country’s coffers are empty, yet Mugabe is one of the world’s richest men.
That’s it. More details out there if you’re interested in googling the net. They’re along the same lines as above.
The former white Rhodesian farmers are scattered around the world now. A generation separates them from former Rhodesia. No going back. Tombstones from family cemeteries have been dug up and put to other use. The farmland’s fallow, returning to jungle.
While this may not be the whole story, it’s true. But then truth and fairness depends on your point of view I reckon.
Media’s gone on to other stories… no longer interested in the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. It’s ancient history.
But wait a minute, maybe as a story it’s not. You remember someone recently campaigning for “change” in the USA, the best country in recorded history at the time?
Doesn’t make sense, but then Ferguson doesn’t make sense.
Here’s a final thought. If you ever run across someone from former Rhodesia… anyone. Black, White, Asian. Ask them if it was good back then. I guarantee you they’ll say it was as good as it can get.
Ask them what happened, and they’ll say, “Jimmy Carter.”