Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Taking a hit for one's ancestry, Senator Jim Webb

Here in the Diaspora it is the silly season; politics, lads and lassies. One son of Ulster is taking a few hits. Senator James Webb has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate for Barack Obama. A few Republicans bloggers have already jumped to attack James Webb for what they see as his pro Confederate sentiments. This means he acknowledges real history, always dangerous. One Republican blogger stated he had the blood of an ancestor that had died in Andersonville! I assume he thinks James Webb should apologise? But perhaps we should then make the Blogger apologise as more Southerners died in Northern prison during the 1861-65 War. This could get confusing. Is there an etiquette we should observe?

I wonder about the wisdom of this type of attack given the fact that it will further alienate the Southern vote as the South is a place where heritage is still alive and well.

And from the opposite direction we have leftist academic Edward Sebesta with the University of Texas who sees Senator Webb’s views as racist somehow, even suggesting that members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are by definition racists. While this inflammatory rhetoric sells books, I suppose, does it really mean anything? It seems people are lining up on both sides to attack Senator Webb. Just a casual observation, but many times that is a sign you are doing something right in life.

Senator Webb is known to many as the author of the book Born fighting: how the Scots-Irish shaped America. The book is a good read and is a history of the Scots-Irish in American as told by a descendant. The book breaks out of the old Victorian paradigm and places the Scots-Irish in a more realistic Irish Sea context. Senator Webb is a friend of another Ulster descendant, Senator John McCain, who was good enough to write a nice review of Webb’s book. I think Senator Webb deserves much better than to have his ankles nipped at by wee dogs, but that’s politics, I guess.

Politics is entertaining if nothing else when it is all said and one, and I like very much what Will Rogers said, Don’t vote, it only encourages them!

Now I have an idea, how about a presidential ticket of Senator John McCain and Senator James Webb! Sounds like a winner to me. On a more serious note, it is good to see two men of Ulster ancestry active in presidential politics.

Barry R McCain © 2008

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