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Labels create division rather than inspiring positive change

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

As I exited the McDonald’s drive-thru last week in my early morning sub-human (pre-coffee) form, I noticed something amidst the school of political signs that line the banks of the entrance to Pioneer Village. As first pre-coffee glance I thought, “That’s an odd political sign.” But as I sipped my newly purchased iced coffee my sub-human self began to morph and it dawned on me, “That’s not a political sign at all.”
The imposter, carefully tucked between local government hopefuls, read “Keep the south beautiful, put a Yankee back on the bus.” Though I was in the initial phases of caffeine metamorphosis I still blamed the catastrophe in front of me on morning haze. What other explanation is there for such a rude awakening? So I quickly snapped a picture with my trusty iPhone for further review. Much to my dismay my lack of caffeine betrayed me not.

I’m not all together surprised. I’ve seen bumper stickers in the past telling “Yankees” in not so subtle terms to return where they came from without passing go or collecting $200. But this blatant lack of respect for fellow human beings so early in the morning was a simply uncalled for assault.
I’ve heard all of the arguments. Yankees move here and drive up real estate prices. Yankees try to come in and force their beliefs upon others. Yankees are brash and impatient. These labels and accusations are certainly not wholly untrue but do they fit every person?

And what’s with all the labels anyway? It’s not that I mind being lumped into the category of “Yankee” even if it isn’t all together accurate. If I had been alive in the days when Yankee and Rebel troops crossed muskets I would like to think I would have fought with the North. The first consideration in my line of reasoning is the obvious – the Yankees won. The second has something to do with being against slavery and standing up for civil rights, blah, blah, blah. But I digress. If one were to accurately label me I would be a Western (born in Colorado), Rebel (I’ve spent over half my life in the south), Yankee (the rest was spent in New York).

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