Monday, June 18, 2007

The Right Thing and Wrong Thing

You have no doubt seen the "fight" in the Alabama Senate. It was more of a smack-down. The sort of man who insults another in public, relying on the character of the target to temper the response, generally has little stomach for actual fight.

Didn't really think much about it, but then I noticed this kind of response. Look: It's a simple can insult me. But if you insult my mom, there is going to be a fight. You don't want the fight, don't rock the insult. And for those of you unfortunate enough to be born outside the South (including Angus, now a Southerner by importation), if you don't get this, you are likely to get punched.

I was moved to send a letter to Senator Bishop. Here it is:

Senator Charles Bishop
Room 733-D
State House
11 South Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130

Dear Senator Bishop:

You have recently been at the center of some controversy.

I write in support of your position.

It is perfectly true, as you have said repeatedly, that grown men do not settle differences with fists. This is even more true on the floor of the Senate chamber.

But there is a higher truth. In the South, a heritage you and I share, one man does not attack the character or memory of another man’s mother. There are some insults so infamous that they demand action, regardless of the consequences.

Sometimes, the wrong thing is precisely the right thing to do.

I am sorry to have heard of the criticism you have suffered, and appreciate your attempts to explain. But I don’t see that you had any choice, under the circumstances. One cannot accept such a public affront to she who gave him life.

With all best wishes,
Michael C. Munger