Pledge Allegiance is out!

It took longer than I expected to get this book out. No good reason, except I kept editing and re-editing it. It’s a book that matters to me. One that takes some risks. Good things.

Pledge Allegiance is based on a true incident. Years ago, when I was an editor in Texas — much like the protagonist in the Texas series — a young football player refused to play for the varsity team because it carried the confederate flag.

His momma taught him that he shouldn’t fight for any flag but the American flag. Like his father had. His father died in Vietnam, fighting for that flag. So he stood up and forced a compromise. And yes, the KKK marched to support the flag.

He’s one of my heroes. I don’t remember his name and I don’t know what happened to him after that. But Texans take their football seriously and what he did took courage. This book is dedicated to young people like him and to the mothers who teach them right from wrong.

Of course, this book is fiction. What happens to Clay Peabody is made up. The situation escalates. People die. People learn some hard leasons. Katy Williams, the protagonist, carries a heavy burden of guilt.

In case people think this is just old news, it wouldn’t happen today, think again. The confederate flag still flies over the capital in South Carolina. When Tea Party supporters cheered the closing of the government a year ago, they waived confederate flags. Racism isn’t dead.

There are some who will tell you that the confederate flag isn’t about race. It’s about rebellion, and fighting spirit and regional pride. And maybe it is about those things too. But don’t be fooled — it’s about race. I never saw a black person with a confederate flag on his bumper. It’s about white people who think there was a past time when life was idyllic, and that blacks knew their place. Well that past time is a fantasy, and it only existed for a very priviledged few. And they weren’t black, or brown, or yellow. They weren’t women. Hell, they weren’t even most of the whites who were kept poor and ignorant right along with the blacks and others, so that a few, rich, white men could have the benefits of privilege and power.

Huh. Sounds like now doesn’t it?