Monday, April 06, 2015


At The New Republic, Brian Beutler proposes this:
... April 9 is the 150th anniversary of the Union’s victory in the Civil War.... the federal government should make two modest changes: It should make April 9 a federal holiday; and it should commit to disavowing or renaming monuments to the Confederacy, and its leaders, that receive direct federal support.

... the Union’s victory, and the abolition of slavery, both merit celebration as exemplars of American improvement and renewal... These twin accomplishments are as worthy of a federal holiday as any holiday we already celebrate. So let's name April 9 New Birth of Freedom Day.
In a better country, I'd agree with this. In a better country, by now, a majority of Southerners would reject the Confederacy, some because they had no familial ties to it, others because they're descended from its victims, still others because they recognize the wrongness of the Cause.

But that's not how things are. In the real America, Southern whites have persuaded themselves that the flag of the Confederacy is about "heritage" rather than slavery or treason, and the defense of "heritage" in the modern world is part of a noble resistance to anti-white racism, which manifests itself in affirmative action and excessive social spending on Those People. I'm not arguing that this a valid way of looking at America -- I'm just saying that a large percentage of Americans see the country this way, and not just in the South. They feel put upon. They feel victimized. And they dig in their heels in resistance to all kinds of reasonable change, some having nothing to do with race, out of this sense of self-righteous outrage.

To them, it's not about racism, or even about race. They see everything as a culture war in which their culture is not accorded respect, as Mike Huckabee puts it in his most recent book:
In Huckabee’s world, America’s political divide isn’t red versus blue. It’s “Bubba-ville” versus “Bubble-ville.” Huckabee makes it crystal clear that Bubble-ville’s inhabitants are America’s self-aggrandizing, out-of-touch coastal elitists who share President Obama’s notion that those who inhabit Bubba-ville are to be viewed as little more than “bitter clingers” for daring to enjoy their guns and their God as well as a down-home, family-oriented lifestyle that includes fried foods (gasp!) and the sharing of simple truths that more often than not elude the highly educated Ivy League types Huckabee takes exception with.

According to Huckabee, the principal divide between the two groups is the difference between a secular and religion-based approach to the world. “But as much as there is a great divide in this country between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots,’ there is also a great chasm between the ‘believes and the believe- nots,’” Huckabee writes. “And increasingly the ‘believes’ in America have come to feel like cultural lepers --untouchable and undesirable -- and an embarrassment to their fellow Americans who equate the holding of traditional views on marriage, religion, family, patriotism, and even the rule of law and the Constitution with ignorance and superstition.” He further posits the “snobbery and bold bigotry” of the believe-nots is further amplified by their self-designation as ‘mainstream.’”
To white Southerners, there's no clear point where this "Bubba" culture ends and Southern "heritage" begins -- it's all part of the same "traditional" worldview, which, they believe "elitists" hold in contempt.

If there were a lot more of us than there were of them, I wouldn't care about this -- I'd say they have to suck it up and accept a world that needs to change, and that should have changed a lot faster. But their numbers are too big, and their level of resentment is too high already. This resentment already drives our politics -- what good will it do to inflame it even more?

So, yes, Beutler's idea is a good one -- but we're not ready for it. In the near term, it would only make things worse.


Greg Hao said...

And it's not even just the south. Not two weeks ago, I heard the Civil War being referred to as the War of Yankee Aggression in Southern California!

Of course, it was in Temecula from a bunch of Tea Party types but I agree with you completely. Give it another 200 years.

Steve M. said...

Sorry, Roger, I think I deleted one of your comments. My mistake.

Victor said...

Sorry, but during this "Cold Civil War," we need to remind the Old South and their allies who are mostly in rural areas throughout the country - but, sadly, not completely - who it was that actually won the real Civil War!

Enough of romanticizing "The Glorious Lost Cause!"

I know it will inflame the conservatives, but, after all, what the hell doesn't?

Also, set-up a 50 year plan,so that by the 200th anniversary of the end of the treasonous and traitorous Civil War against the Union and the Us Constitution, there is nothing left anywhere, named after any treasonous and traitorous Secesh Confederate leader or General!
Rename everything after Union leaders and military personnel, and Civil Rights leaders.

Enough of giving respect for any treasonous and traitorous Secesh Confedrates!

Belvoir said...

The New Republic really has gone to dumb hell, hasn't it?

Blackstone said...

As a white southern male, I have to agree with Victor. We have to stop molly coddling them sometime. Might as well start today.

They are already inflamed, they really can't get much worse short of firing on Ft Sumter again.

Philo Vaihinger said...

You're kidding, right?

The left's single, fundamental propaganda thing is its endless, furious, even insane war on white men, from retirees to Republican governors to frat boys at southern universities.

What do you suppose Donna Brazile was talking about when she said this time Hillary would run "as a woman"?

Fasten your seat belt, Bubba.