Tennessee, 1865: Mary-Louise folded the newspaper in half and laid it down and looked at her husband. ‘We should at least give President Johnson a chance. He’s sayin’ he wants to bring the country together. You don’t think that’s a good idea?’
Tennessee, 2020: Roddy turned off the television and looked at his wife. ‘You dirty, lowdown scalawag. He don’t mean bring the country together. He means he’s gonna take it away from us. This is our land, our country. I fought for this country and I ain’t gonna see some immigrants and rich folk steal it away from us.’
Tennessee, 1865: ‘But that ain’t what the new President is sayin’. He wants an end to the fightin’ an’ arguin’. We’re all Americans, no matter what else is goin’ on. Them poor folk deserve just as much of a chance as the rest of us.’
Tennessee, 2020: ‘You watch. They’ll come after our guns. They’ll come after our jobs. Hell, they’ll try and control us with microchips and this miracle vaccine.’
Tennessee, 1865: ‘You’re talkin’ crazy. He ain’t sayin’ any of that. The war is over. Don’t you want life to get back to normality?’
Tennessee, 2020: ‘The fight ain’t over. Me an’ the boys are gonna march on the capital and show this Joe what the United States of America is all about. We ain’t finished makin’ America great again.’
Tennessee, 1865: ‘From where I’m sat, it don’t look so great for a lot of people, and I don’t see the harm in making it better and fair for everyone. You can call me a scalawag if you want, but I reckon he’s just tryin’ to save the country from rippin’ itself apart again.’
Tennessee, 2020: ‘Maybe we need to secede again. Maybe we need another war to sort it out. Hell, he ain’t leading any union I want to be part of.’
Tennessee, 1865: Mary-Louise tutted and stood up. ‘I’m goin’ out for a walk.’ There was no talking to him when he was in this sort of rebellious mood. She hoped it would blow over and the country would simmer down. It was time for peace.
‘Scalawag’ (or ‘Scallywag’) was a derogatory term for a white Southerner who collaborated with the Northern Republicans during the post-civil war reconstruction period in the US, before it’s meaning developed to become a term for a mischievous child.