Wednesday, July 13, 2005

News on the Internet races faster than Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 8 car.

In a Monday column about my first experience at a NASCAR Nextel Cup race, I wrote one paragraph about seeing only four Confederate flags there. The graph ended with this sentence: "I’m not sure this proves anything except there are bound to be a couple of idiots in every crowd."

Well! The column scooted full-throttle through cyberspace, and a link to it is posted on the "Southern Heritage News and Views" Web page. My picture is there, too, displayed over the caption, "The Idiot." Ergo, I’ve been getting lots of e-mail. Here is a sampling, carefully edited only for space and spelling considerations:

If I don’t agree with your beliefs does that give me a right to call you an idiot? My family is from the South, and being raised under the Confederate Flag is an honor I cherish. We are a proud group who will defend our way of life without Hate, Name-calling, or prejudice against someone because of skin color. Our Confederate Flag is not a sybmol of racism, and if you choose to believe that it is, (that) just proves you have not done your homework. – Jimmy Sutherland (

Stock car racing was born in the South; Dawsonville, Ga., to be exact. Did you know that, Mr. Expert? People such as yourself are ruining the sport due to your politically correct bigotry; that’s why I’ve gotten out of the sport. History and heritage has no place in the Northern mindset, does it? The North has no character and if they find it, it’s usually stolen from the South; like NASCAR! – Glenn Lacy, Scott City, Mo.

Concerning the Confederate flags you saw in Chicagoland, there was only one RACIST IDIOT there and it was YOU. – Richard B. Dunn (

You are right about idiots in every crowd. You proved that point by showing up. – Paul E. Sojka, New Jersey.

You would be better placed in employment with the Jerry Springer Show … as a writer. – Tommy "PoP" Aaron, Chattanooga, Tenn.

You would be wise to bone up on the history of that beautiful BATTLE flag. The race pimps and extortionists have blinded you to the truth!! The attacks and lies against the Confederate Battle Flag, "Dixie," Confederate history and Confederate heritage have ALWAYS been about MONEY. To believe the lies told without doing any research is to prove that YOU are one of the "idiots in every crowd!" The more people like you stir the pot, the more money the race baiters and race pimps can put into their own personal coffers. – Linda Sewell, Mobile, Ala.

Yes sir, I fly my Confederate battle flag to identify with my Southern country, not region. Most of all I fly it as a rebellious statement to the rest of the world that in spite of everything, we Southerners have not been stamped out by all the forces the Unholy Yankee Empire has thrown at us since 1865. Brute force and unfair punishment of the South through crooked Supreme Court judges who pervert the original intent of the U.S. Constitution only temporarily set us back from the goal of finally being an independent nation of Southern states totally free of meddling and manipulation by liberal New Englanders. We know that (the Constitution) was intended by the Founding Fathers to protect our GOD-GIVEN RIGHTS, freedom of speech, right to bear arms and the right to secede from a government which turned its back on these initial agreements. When I see a Confederate battle flag flying, it gives me hope that someday Southerners as a people will once again have a rudder to guide us on a good and straight course through life. All we are doing right now is floating adrift on a yankee ship of the damned and headed right straight for hell. This is a trip we would rather you yankees take by yourselves. – Billy E. Price, Ashville, Ala.

Per my personal policy, I replied to everybody who wrote me on this subject, as long as the letter was signed and not profane.

The reason I wrote the paragraph about Confederate flags was due to the Peoria area readership. While we have lots of NASCAR fans around here, we have lots who avoid the sport because they’ve stereotyped it as a haven for rednecked, rebel-yelling, racist bigots. I thought it worth noting this was not what I observed.

As for my "idiots in every crowd" remark … well, there are. I probably should have left out that line because 1) I didn’t sit down with the flag-bearers and get to know them, and 2) this flag issue requires at least a whole column, if not a library.

But there it is. One fellow who wrote me suggested I utter my "idiot" comment in the mountains of northern Georgia. I wrote back that I would be happy to – if one of those folk from northern Georgia would agree to carry the Confederate flag through the West Side of Chicago, or even the South Side of Peoria.

Anyway, I really did enjoy the race. Even if that means I am now an idiot.

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