FORBIDDEN PHRASES, HIDDEN HISTORY:
War of the Words
By Olaf Childress
When Black Rep. Alvin Holmes said he would not retire from the State House until “Heart of Dixie” was completely removed from Alabama’s new auto license plates – even the tiny heart! – one citizen observed: “Just like in South Carolina. Compromise with ‘cultural bigots’ only emboldens them and leads to further demands.’”
That was in reference, of course, to the NAACP’s refusal to be pacified on having forced the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s capitol dome, bringing instead more conditions. Many feel the National Association has Advanced Colored People to the limits of their capabilities; and, with its purpose accomplished, is unwittingly alienating Whites who’ve empathized with its once legitimate cause. Having shown patience and tolerance for Black History Month, Head Start, Kwanza, Affirmative Action and other media events, Whites are now “Retaking America.” No, not from Blacks; anybody that’s interested is urged to join this fight. Real progress means removing the blinders and booting from public office such freeloading phonies as have used Black people to their detriment.
This War of the Words has turned your tax dollars and mine against our interests long enough. We’re tired of it.
For instance, that arrogantly sneaky and contemptuous license plate motto change that the peecee crowd came up with awhile back was too much. They think we’ll just keep backing up? Those sorry hustlers who use the Black community wouldn’t stop at removing every one of our Confederate monuments, all flags and symbols including the word “Dixie.” Next, whoever’s pulling their strings would send them agitating to have “Alabama” changed into “autonomous region” or “soviet” of the “united nations.” How are we gonna retake the word Dixie?
The “Stars fell on” was simply a way to begin removing “Dixie” from Alabamians’ car tags. Who could guess what words or phrases would next be the targets of those terminally politically correct? We started issuing the Alabama car tag retrofit kit. Those “Heart of Dixie” stickers were high quality vinyl with ultraviolet resistant ink that would last as long as the tag.
Our very own NAACP, this Nation of Aryans Against Commie Putrefaction, began seeking legislators who would place a bill in the legislature giving people a vote, or at least a choice, between “Heart of Dixie” and “Stars fell on.” We felt the legality was OK, but those with concerns could place them on their bumpers or a license plate frame directly over “Stars fell on.” We prayed for distributors to help out in all 67 counties of our great State.
Other printers also started offering “Heart of Dixie” decals, this “Retaking” obviously turning out to be no isolated, but rather a genuine Southern, “thang.” A vast, right wing conspiracy? Maybe. It depends; which side in this War of the Words are you on? Stickers being sold by vendors at the League of the South’s State conference in Montgomery introduced the one we were also offering. It had a heart beside the still official motto.
Along with auto-owning concerned citizens, “internal security” too found itself divided on this issue which the “regular” media remained reluctant to discuss: how best to handle “terrorists” who loved Dixie more than they feared the ZOG. As the Alabama Coalition weighed in, Bob Bentley of Mussel Shoals opened up to his compatriots on March 4, 2002 with this query: “Y’all, I was just told by our Colbert County Judge of Probate that one could ‘possibly’ be ticketed for putting ‘Heart of Dixie’ over ‘stars fell on’ Alabama. So I proceeded directly to the sheriff, who called the Tri-Cities Post of the Alabama State Troopers. The Post Commander said that I could and would be ticketed for putting anything on the tag. Now, what am I going to do with this envelope full of stickers?”
“You need to read the law and determine if your trooper is telling the truth,” replied Bill Beckham. “If not, put the stickers on anyway. Confusion to the Enemy!”
Bill Cox of Montgomery also looked for solidarity in this “retaking” of “Dixie”: “I thought we were assured the ‘Heart of Dixie’ retro-fit strip was legal. Certainly would like to know where we stand. I’ve already taken orders for 18 of them. Need a heads-up, please.”
“Bill, I think the true question here is, was it legal for them to do what they did to our tag?” replied the Wizardess of Selma, Patricia Godwin. She answered herself: “Yes, I guess; – in the sense that the 1951 legislature didn’t fathom someone wouldn’t feel proud to be from the heart of Dixie – they failed to specify the size of that logo and its location on the tag. They didn’t realize that, just 25 years later, the White legislators would be mollycoddling to a 25% Black caucus… What they have done to the tag now is sleazy, even though it slid through on a technicality: that lack of defining, descriptive language in the act.”
Wild Wyatt Willis of Prattville had this advice: “If you are scared, just go right above your tag and stick it on! Better yet, get you a battle flag on there and don’t worry about the small stuff. But call the Sheriff and see if he knows that you can put a battle flag on your Alabama tag. When he says you cannot, bet him $50, then go get an SCV tag and win enough to pay for it!”
Battle flag waver Tim Meadows of Chunchula: “Send ’em to me. I don’t mind paying a few tickets.”
Fellow conspirator Cecil Williamson of Selma: “I believe someone in authority told one of our group that the tag belonged to the person, and you could do it.”
That afternoon, Patricia Godwin had the answer: “Bob, John Reynolds of the Thomas Goode Jones SCV camp sent me a sticker today. It has a blue background with white heart on the left-hand side and reads in all caps: HEART OF DIXIE. He explained regarding the sticker’s legality, ‘The Motor Vehicle Division of the Revenue Department says all that is needed for the tag to be legal is that it display two stickers: month and year, current of course, and the numbers or letters; and that, by a 1951 Alabama Code, have Heart of Dixie (size not specified) on it. I asked, if I did not like the stars fell on Alabama could I cover it with blue tape? and was assured, Of course! I then asked if I could cover it with blue tape reading Heart of Dixie, and was told, That might be better.
“So, Bob, go for it! Put the stickers on your cars/trucks, and give the rest to friends! Alan Parker told me today that, since the article ran in the Montgomery Agonizer, his phone has rung off the hook! He just had 1,000 more printed, and they’ve already sold 500! When and if a cop stops you, give him a sticker and say, ‘You have a Dixie Day, now, ya heah!’”
Charles Bodenheimer of Tallassee may have settled all doubts with this timely dispatch: “Section 40-12-265 – Mutilation or alteration of tags; replacement tags; use of improper tags.
“(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to mutilate or alter, for the purpose of deception, any motor vehicle tag, plate, or validation stamp or to use upon any motor vehicle any tags, plates, or validation stamps in imitation of or substitution for authorized issued tags, plates, or validation stamps. It shall be the duty of all sheriffs, police officers, state troopers, license inspectors, deputy license inspectors, and field agents of the Department of Revenue to arrest any person violating the provisions of this section, and upon conviction of any such person a fine of not less than $25 nor exceeding $100 shall be imposed for each offense. The license inspector shall receive a fee of $1.50 for making such arrest, which arrest fee shall be collected as a part of the costs in any such action before a court of competent jurisdiction.”
Cecil Williamson: “We would not do this ‘for the purpose of deception,’ nor would we be using the stickers ‘in imitation of or substitution for.’ Let’s put them on and see what happens. I’ll help pay someone’s ticket to test the law.” Charles Bodenheimer: “Bob, It is not illegal to put anything on your tag as long as it doesn’t cover the month sticker, the number sticker, the state name, and the large numbers. If they ticket you, appeal it and tell them to ticket everyone who has an FOP, OES or Masonic thingy on their tag!” Section 32-6-54 reads: ‘Tag to show heart and words Heart of Dixie. Every license tag or license plate issued by the State of Alabama for use on motor vehicles, in addition to any letters and figures prescribed by the Commissioner of Revenue, shall also have imprinted thereon a conventionalized representation of a heart and the words Heart of Dixie. The design of license tags or license plates shall be approved by the Commissioner of Revenue. (Acts 1951, No. 675, p. 1168, §1.)’”
So we just told Black Rep Heartless Holmes to get himself a vanity tag matching his personality and leave the rest of us out of his problems; we have won this War of the Words!
The First Freedom