Anyone these days can learn a language, hop a plane, dress up, and appear from the outside to be quite worldly.  But how many people do you know who can repair the truck, plow the field, and help birth a colt, all before her lunch hour?

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy defines a redneck as a glorious lack of sophistication that we are all guilty of at one time or another.  Now that’s just plain honest.  To me it is this good-natured, fun-loving, and lively self-satirizing that has been the hallmark of the redneck since Hee Haw first aired.  Whether the work you do is considered remedial labor or intellectually complex, if you think you’ve never committed a faux pas, then you need to step down from your high horse.

Leave it to a redneck to take a word originally coined as indisputably derogatory–meaning an uneducated, bigoted, poor rural farm worker–and redefine it with a positive connotation–meaning strong, independent, and worthy of an entirely new era of comedy and song lyrics.  This is just the kind of attitude I find inspiring.  It demonstrates that for every negative characteristic, there’s a positive one to balance it out, and that a word is just a word and within our power, like everything else, to change.

Like me, you might not agree with the notoriously selective values of the redneck, who ironically, in Texas at least, more often than not call themselves conservative Republicans.  For example, why does the government need to stay out of his pocket but not out of her womb?  Or why is conservation so low on the conservative agenda when they not only are so semantically similar, but seem logically to go together.  Now I can’t quote the Bible, but surely it includes something in there about not exploiting others and respecting the Earth?  Around here, unquestionably, that kind of morality makes you a liberal.  Luckily politics and religion have always been last on my list of chosen conversational topics.

Still, I do on occasion listen to Rush Limbaugh.  Or rather scream at the car radio while Rush is on.  I find this enlightening:  This type of intellectual stimulation is typically more educational than talking to like-minded thinkers.  After all, I’ve long ago mastered their ideologies.

Rednecks are far more interesting and authentic conversational company than they’re given credit for.  While you might not share their religious and political convictions, at least you can be sure they have them, and that’s a hefty helpin’ more than I can say for the last east coast suburban folks I’ve met.

Most importantly, there is a real can-do attitude in this very Republican state that reflects a pioneering spirit worth emulating.   It is not only a quality I respect, but one I feel I might even share:  Over the course of the last week I have moved about 6000 pounds of dirt, and it has been a far more rewarding endeavor than I’ve ever felt after a day of intellectual activity.  Just lil’ ole me and my shovel.  Guess it shows that these days this educated mid-westerner is feelin’ as proud as a Texas redneck, not to mention fabulously fit.