Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rebel Yell

I'm amazed and disturbed not only by today's decision by eBay and Amazon to stop selling images of the Confederate flag, but also by most of the media's editorial comment following. A prime example: "Yes, You're a Racist -- And a Traitor," which appeared today on the Huffington Post website (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-e-price/yes-youre-a-racist----and-a-traitor_b_7640654.html).

The first "argument" the author of the article made:

"In America today, the most prominent, prevalent and pernicious of these revisionist movements is the Lost Cause narrative: the idea that the Civil War was a romantic struggle for freedom against an oppressive government trying to enforce cultural change. There are scores of books on this topic, and you should check those out at your local library. But probably the most famous popular culture Lost Cause text is Gone With The Wind (both book and movie).

I hate Gone With the Wind. I hate everything about it. I hate its portrayal of the Civil War. I hate its portrayal of Southern aristocrats. I hate its popularity. I hate that it's become an i
conic movie. I hate that it was ever made in the first place."

The writer (I'm guessing he's a 19-year-old intern) goes on to dismiss facts such as that the Civil War might have been, from the agrarian Southern States' point of view, more about economics and states' rights than about any "hatred" of the race they'd enslaved for corrupt economic purposes. Ken Burns' Civil War epic on PBS included a quote from a Confederate private captured by the Union; when his interrogators asked him why in the world he was fighting --- he was poor, only the rich owned slaves --- he responded: "Because y'all are down here."

This particular ignorant writer also dismisses the fact that the original 13 colonies of the United States very much included Southern states -- Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia, which would all secede from the United States (i.e., the Federal government) at the outset of the Civil War. Not because they were "traitors" but because they felt their rights to govern themselves were being usurped -- a principle very dear to the founders of our country and Constitution, who had all-too-recently just argued over and fought for the same points with England. In their minds, who was traitorous?

Right or wrong, there was a principle involved. One that Southern states originally fought for in the founding of our country, and continued to fight for in the Civil War. For this principle to be dismissed as simplistic "racism" is ludicrous. For eBay, Amazon, and Walmart to cave into this moment's trend is equally ludicrous -- and frightening in its historical ignorance.

I understand and honor the battle fought by residents of the Southern states. And I refuse to be called either a "Racist" or a "Traitor" by those ignorant of United States history and of the history of the Confederate flag.

1 comment:

Erik Bartlam said...

You are the boss. I had no idea about Ebay. I've heard the Confederacy described as imperialist and plundering in the last few days...people have lost their fucking minds.
I'm going to link this post on my own blog if you don't mind.