As an elder statesman, born in Louisiana, I have always been conscious of the fact that my progenitors were hip deep in the Old South’s “Peculiar Institution” which is lame code for an unforgivable lapse of moral compass—Owning humans and regularly beating them mercilessly to remind them that they ought to be grateful for not being left in Africa.
I know….”That was then and this is now” and I never personally owned anyone in my life so why should I feel guilty after all these years?
I have a surprise for you. This is not an apologia for my family tree but, rather, the rediscovery of an ancient solution to a modern problem. In fact many of my progenitors were praiseworthy adepts, as “Cavaliers”, in all sorts of manly skills besides horsemanship. One particular skill has, unfortunately, fallen into disfavor and, indeed, has been criminalized in what can only be called a colossal error.
The skill of which I speak, if cleaned up and brought back to center stage could go a long way toward solving the goddawful political morass (with the accent on the second syllable) which we now face. In fact, it is precisely the state of current politics which reminded me of those horrible years from 1848 when we stole Texas from Mexico to 1865 when we tried to begin something called “Reconstruction”. That period was marked by Brother Against Brother, South Versus North, Abolitionists Versus just about everyone. Each side claimed exclusivity of the magical concept we have long forgotten in our modern hurry to screw the poor and enrich the wealthy.
Southern Cavaliers and Northern Gentlefolk had all suckled at the breast of the Code of Honor. And what was the core value in that code? One’s good name. One’s reputation and one’s name were sanctified to the point where a breech of honor called for a singularly marvelous solution.
THE DUEL OF HONOR.
This may sound like an Immodest Proposal, but I can envision a new and wonderful political arena (literally) in which immutable beliefs can be wrestled to the ground (literally) and differences of political philosophy settled unambiguously.
It is a truism that Gentlemen, Southern and Northern, eschewed compromise as a loss of face. (President Lincoln learned this the hard way when he suggested leaving slavery alone in the existing states where it was legal and forbidding it in the new territories north and west.) The same kind of dumb appears to be going on today between the likes of Lindsay Graham and Harry Reid, John Boehner and Barack Obama, Michelle Bachman and Anyone Else, Anne Coulter and Rachel Maddow (my money is on the Divine Ms. M) .
Let’s cut the shit. This stagnation is wrecking our country.
I am thrilled by the vision of Lindsay Graham, our poster child for bringing back Dueling because South Carolina was, historically, a hotbed of Gentlemen slipping each other the quietus over real and imagined insults. He may call out Harry Reid and challenge him to a duel of honor to settle the question once and for all whether we shall take care of and feed our impoverished. Reid gets to choose the weapon (sorry, no drones allowed) from the following: 1) Pistol, 2) Rapier, 3) Crossbow, 4) Broadsword.
If, as I imagine, the Democrat wins the duel, we can quit snarking and raise the minimum wage, boost Food Stamps, make school funding fairer, do a lot of single payer health plans and stop sequestering whatever we don’t approve of.
Slick, hunh? Oh, well, I know some of you Tea Party types might be against this plan, but it is historically justifiable…after all, our forefathers dueled each other at the drop of a sleight. The same men who wrote and signed the Constitution and The Bill of Rights had no problems justifying disagreements that were settled at dawn under the “Dueling Oaks”. (So, if their Second Amendment is sacred, why not go back to why everybody might have needed a gun in the first place? It wasn’t until 1839 that Congress outlawed dueling in D.C. and most of the states followed suit in a lame attempt to make our society more civil. Many men still fought duels after 1839 and Heaven help the punk who used the new law as a reason for not accepting a duly-offered challenge.)
Were we to reinstitute Duels of Honor the film rights and live TV broadcasts would give the whole field of Reality Entertainment a major boost, resulting in increased profits for the corporations who, after all, make most of the decisions in Washington for us after we go through the charade of “popular” elections.
I see this as a win-win.
What do you say? What if Lindsay Graham or Nancy Pelosi wimped out and refused to accept a sanctioned challenge? In that case the new law would be very simple. Whoever refuses a challenge must shut the hell up and leave government.
If you have a better solution I’d like to hear it because right now we appear to have lost all sense of honor and civility and are headed into the land of Failed Super Powers.
(Apologies to Jonathan Swift.)