As many of you may have heard liberal, Democrat, Reverand Al Sharpton recently discovered he is a descendant of one of former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond’s ancestors. In an interview on National Public Radio, Sharpton stated that he was conflicted concerning this revelation. He was honored by the plight of his enslaved ancestors and appauled by his connection to the one-time, staunchly segregationist, Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond. Many conservative Southerners may be equally distraught over the news that, yes, Al Sharpton is a Southerner by blood.
I welcome Reverand Sharpton as a newly ordained Southerner. Hopefully Reverand Sharpton will embrace his new found Southern roots and seek to honestly understand why the South is such a special place. Perhaps he will learn that Southerners invented Jazz, the Blues, and gospel music; wrote many of America’s great literary works; has provided much of America’s military leadership; and birthed many great statesmen. Yes, Reverand Sharpton, you have many new reasons to be proud!
Perhaps Sharpton will seek to understand the South, not simply hold it up as an example of everything that went wrong in America — slavery, poverty, racism, etc. (You knew the South was the soul environment for those afflictions, didn’t you?) Maybe Sharpton will discover the simple joys of fishing in a pond with a cane pole; the joy of a Moon Pie and RC Cola on a hot summer’s day; the sound of cicadas in the trees at night or bob whites calling in the morning; the thick scent of gardenias; the wonderful taste of collard greens seasoned just right; and the smell of a freshly tilled field. I hope Reverand Sharpton will take this opportunity to embrace his heritage — He should, he has a great deal to enjoy and even more to learn.