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He Who TransplantedPosted Sunday, September 7, 2008, at 6:04 PM
Every state in America has a state motto. They tend to be inspirational catchwords, brief yet powerful, no doubt meant to inspire the populace to greatness. They are heavy on truth, justice and the American way -- much like Superman without the blue tights, red cape and the need to masquerade as a mild-mannered reporter.
The most famous state motto is New Hampshire -- "Live free or die." It leaves little doubt where the citizens of the Granite State stand on various issues. Being an outsider in New Hampshire is a lot like being naked in a herd of buffalo -- no matter how much hair you have on your back, you'll never blend in.
The smallest state in the Union, Rhode Island, has the shortest motto -- "Hope."
Massachusetts, the state with the most letters in its name, has the longest motto -- "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty."
Some of the redneck states in the South tend to be high on machismo. Alabama -- "We dare defend our rights." Mississippi -- "By valor and arms." They're still upset by the Civil War way down wonder in the land of cotton, where old times there are not forgotten.
Other southern states are more reflective, such as Georgia -- "Wisdom, justice and moderation." I know a couple of guys from Georgia and the word moderation is not in their vocabulary. Live hard, drive fast and die young is more their style.
The state motto of Arkansas is "The people rule." This seems like a reasonable proposition. If we must be ruled, people would be my first choice as opposed to non-people. I'm not quite sure what the alternatives would be. Perhaps raccoons or possums. Armadillos would also be a possibility but they tend to be illiterate.
Missouri has the only other state motto that contains the word people -- "The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law." Obviously, raccoons or possums could rule Missouri as long as the welfare of people came first.
At least one state hasn't caught up with political correctness yet. Maryland -- "Manly deeds womanly words." Either there are no women in Maryland or they're a bit more docile than most of the women I know.
The most confusing state motto is Connecticut -- "He who transplanted still sustains." In Latin, it reads, "Qui transtulit sustinet." Even though I know nothing about Latin, except that Latin America is somewhere south of Texas, it somehow makes more sense than the English version.
I've asked several reasonably intelligent people to explain this motto but all I get is a look of bewilderment and a request to go away. Then again, I often get that sort of reaction whenever I mingle with real people.
To the good citizens of Connecticut, here are some suggestions on a new state motto.
1) Sustains still transplanted who he
2) Live free or move to New Hampshire
3) Non-people cannot rule
4) The gateway to Rhode Island
5) So close to New York, you can smell it
6) No loitering
7) Size isn't everything
Someone in Connecticut once proclaimed, "He who transplanted still sustains." Apparently, the people of Connecticut understood the deeper meaning, that he who has not transplanted no longer sustains, and adopted it as their state motto.
I live where the people rule. The raccoons and possums find it all very amusing.
Quote for the Day -- "So this is how the world works, all energy flows according to the whims of the great magnet." Hunter S. Thompson
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.