Letters To The Editor

Tuesday, June 24, 2003 at 1:00am

Colonel Reb not a racist symbol


Many people think Colonel Rebel, the ill-fated University of Mississippi mascot, is a long-standing Ole Miss tradition.

Wrong. Jeff Hubbard was the original Colonel Rebel mascot. Hubbard first donned that huge, mustachioed head, with the wide-brimmed hat, all the way back in 1979.

In other words, it was late 20th century. Old traditions are said to die hard. How about relatively new ones?

The Ole Miss chancellor and the athletic director want to put the Confederacy and the 19th century behind them and move forward into the 21st century. Ole Miss coaches have said for years that Old South symbols - such as the Confederate battle flag, the song "Dixie" and Colonel Rebel - have hurt them in the recruitment of African-American athletes.

But, get this: The model for the original Colonel Rebel emblem was a black man, Blind Jim Ivy, a campus fixture for years until he died in 1955. Ivy attended most Ole Miss athletic events and was fond of saying, "I've never seen Ole Miss lose."

Ivy was very much a part of the Ole Miss scene in 1936. That was the year Billy Gates, editor of the school newspaper, proposed a contest to produce a new nickname for Ole Miss teams, which were then known as "The Flood."

"Rebels" was one of five entries submitted to a panel of sports writers. Of 42 newsmen contacted, 21 responded, and Rebels was the choice of 18. That's how The Flood became the Rebels. Two years later, Colonel Rebel appeared for the first time as an illustration in the university yearbook. It would be 41 more years before Colonel Rebel appeared on the sidelines.

So those who want to be revisionist historians need to get their facts straight before accusing Colonel Reb of being a racist symbol.



Both unborn, born need our protection


When I started Nashville Right to Life, we valued all human life. But I'm bewildered to see that many "pro-lifers" who promoted state-administered funding for anti-abortion counseling also led the anti-tax movement, which will cause an increase in child deaths.

While tax protesters and conservatives cut funding for vital services to children, Tennessee already ranks 43rd for child deaths and among the four worst states for infant mortality (largely attributed to deprivation) at a rate that equals Puerto Rico and Chile. Tennessee ranks 50th in taxes as percentage of income with a state median income of $25,878. The median income of Williamson County, headquarters of the anti-tax movement, is $66,335. The median income of Chile, $1,740.

The anti-tax movement caused thousands of children to lose life-sustaining medical services, children nutrition services, Families First grants, child abuse prevention services, children's preventative health and support services. The consequential suffering and deaths of children will be as tragic as aborted embryos - perhaps more so.

The Bible attributes less worth to embryos while the theme with the most Scriptures supporting it is God's command to care for children, the "afflicted" and the poor. The Bible that compelled me to protect embryos led me to stand among the horn-honkers begging them not to deprive children of services (including adoption assistance) that require millions of dollars that churches won't provide.

As more budget cuts are made, more children will die. "Pro-life Christians" who campaigned for painful cuts should perhaps re-examine who is really killing babies.



Let state statutes cure federal fraud


Throughout its history, Washington, D.C., has been a colorful and often turbulent place. Yet no president, representative, senator or foreign policy can impede certain inalienable rights of states.

Among those rights are the rights to levy essential taxes and to enact and enforce anti-racketeering or anti-fraud statutes. A tax paid to federal government and returned to its state of origin, once cut, can be levied by such state. Unhappiness over federal handling of fraud could be cured by reviving long-repealed state statutes or creating new ones in relevant states.

Sadly, many let these pragmatic rights of states get lost through such protracted debate as "does WMD trump genocide?" or "isn't a $1 trillion trade in illegal U.S. immigration part of the service economy?"



Where's Whitney?


For the past several months this California native has been logging on to the Nashville City Paper Web site to track the progress of the "Thoughtful Fool," Whitney Kemper. However, I have not been able to find Whitney's weekly journal entry. What gives? Where's Whitney?

Whitney's journal is my favorite among many that I have been tracking this spring and summer as I gain confidence toward taking a similar journey in the near future. "Journal of a Thoughtful Fool" has provided insights not given in other journals.

Please, find Whitney along the trail and get the latest scoop on what's happening with him.



Editor's note: Whitney Kemper's journal of his trek along the Appalachian Trail runs in The City Paper almost every Monday. Archives of his previous columns and an interactive map of his travels can be seen at http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/kemper.cfm

To comment on a City Paper story or local issue, send us a typed letter 100 words or less (with zip code and a daytime phone number for verification) to: letters@nashvillecitypaper.com, or Editor, The City Paper, P.O. Box 158434, Nashville, TN 37215. Letters may be edited to fit. There is no guarantee letters received will be printed.

Filed under: City Voices