Thursday, May 5, 2011

Confederate Memorial Day

By Alan Caruba

It seems odd, even to me, that a northerner, born and bred, should join in the celebration of Confederate Memorial Day on May 7th. Odder still because I saw the worst of the South with its Jim Crow laws that so cruelly oppressed the Blacks that lived there, but I spent enough years in the South to love its people, its music, its culture, and its history.

It is said that the winner of wars gets to write the history of those conflicts and that is true, but there is ample history of the Confederacy to gain a much-needed understanding of why, on February 4, 1861, the representatives of seven States, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas, would meet to formally secede from the Union to form a new republic. On February 8, the convention announced the establishment of the Confederate States of America and declared itself its provisional Congress.

State's Rights Versus the Federal Government

The Confederacy was always a paradox. The central issue for the South was states’ rights, not slavery, though slavery was the stain that shaped elements of the U.S. Constitution, an issue that the Founders had concluded must await the judgment of a later time.

It was about the South’s interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In his inaugural address, Jefferson Davis said, “The constitution formed by our fathers is the constitution of the (newly formed) Confederate States." The Civil War was a war against the federal government in 1861 and the years leading up to it that had led the South to conclude it could no longer remain in the Union.

The Confederacy lasted from 1861 to 1885 and its history constituted the first modern war in which the awful technologies of war left the South with an estimated 94,000 battle deaths, and 164,000 dead from disease. Fully 258,000 men fought under its flag. The North lost a total of 360,222 to death and disease. Along with the Reconstruction, the South paid a fearsome price for its integrity and beliefs.

It is a little known fact that there is a monument to the Confederate dead at Arlington National Cemetery. Its inscription says, “Not for fame or reward, Not for place or for rank, Not lured by ambition, Or goaded by necessity, But in Simple Obedience to Duty as they understood it, These men suffered all, Sacrificed all, Dared all—and died.”

Confederate Memorial Day will be celebrated throughout the South. On May 7th in North Carolina, the Sons of Confederate Veterans will gather at the Columbus County Courthouse and the Whiteville Memorial Cemetery.

Here’s where the past and present meet. The featured speaker will be H.K, Edgerton, a man who had spoken last year. “At times the audience was laughing, uproariously, and at others weeping. His presentation is knowledgeable, perceptive, sensitive, politically incorrect, historically correct, humor, and serious—all rolled into a professional presentation of Confederate history that will leave you wanting more.” Edgerton is a Black American of southern heritage, a former president of the NAACP’s Ashville, North Carolina branch.

He has said of his ancestors, they “went to war with their masters”, serving as cooks or farriers, even taking up arms. “There was a love that existed between black and white in the South that transcended the bonds of slavery. We were family.”

That’s something those raised in the North and other regions are not taught and do not understand. It would take, however, another hundred years for the wrongs of slavery to be fully set right in the era of the civil rights movement. It takes more than a Constitutional Amendment to change the human heart.

The sharp political divide that present-day America is experiencing is every bit related to the issue of state’s rights as any that preceded it.

The fear that the federal government has grown too large and is too intrusive in the affairs of the States and of all Americans is a legitimate one. The Union is being severely tested and it is an irony of history that the source of much of that fear and anger is the nation’s first Black President.

It is common parlance these days that “In 2008 we voted for Obama to prove we were not racists. In 2012 we must vote for someone else to prove we are not idiots.”

© Alan Caruba, 2011


Ronbo said...


You must be reading my blog.

I've predicted a Second Civil War (revolution) since 2005.

Above all one fact stand out: The Left hates their opposition with a passion not seen since those hot headed Johnny Rebs fired on the "Damn Yankees" in 1861.

Alan Caruba said...

@Ronbo: It is not impossible that this nation could break apart at some point and the issue would be states rights.

Buckeye Copperhead said...

Mr. Caruba, thank you for this great post. I enjoyed reading it.

Gustav said...

States rights. What are those? I can't say I've noticed many state legislators demanding more power vis a vis the feds.

The lines of cleavage seem to be between--as some have been calling them--the ruling class and the rest of us. But I agree, the left/right division is intense. There's enough hatred for a civil war.

Honestly I wish that divisions could be as clean as some states versus the other states. Instead, socialists are everywhere, and they're feeling emboldened.

Guy in Ohio said...

The difference, the way I see it, is that this time, the split won't be geographical. It will be philosophical. Since the two sides are completely and thoroughly mixed throughout the country, this time, things could be far more devastating ...

Ronbo said...

Blogger Guy in Ohio said...

The difference, the way I see it, is that this time, the split won't be geographical. It will be philosophical. Since the two sides are completely and thoroughly mixed throughout the country, this time, things could be far more devastating ...

@Guy in Ohio:

I agree.

A Second U.S. Civil War - if it happens - will be horrible beyond belief! Twice in the short history of this nation (The American Revolution was also a civil war between the Tory supporters of King George and the Patriots) Americans have killed Americans, seized their property, looted, raped, murdered, etc. War is hell on earth, but civil war the worst type of conflict.

However, the USA is headed once more for civil conflict, as the hatred of the Left for their opposition is building beneath the ground like a volcano getting ready to blow. Don't believe me? Look at the Leftist hate speech and death threats directed at Sarah Palin. This politician is simply the latest object (It used to be Bush)for the Leftist hate directed against ALL members of their opposition.

Yes, this includes me, you and Alan! The Left hates us all with white hot rage and wants us all silent and dead!

We patriots tend to think of our main enemy as foreign Islamic terrorists like the late Bin Laden.

Please be advised that the American Left's main enemies are their own fellow countrymen.

This hatred can only end in violence. The creation of the TPM (Tea Party Movement) in 2009 was the signal that the age of compromise is over. So far the second civil war has been a bloodless affair. I think this is about to change in 2012 when the TPM sweeps the Left out of power on a national level.

Will Harmon said...

For all of the criticism that has been made of the Libyian and Syrian and other goverhments who order their military to fire upon and kill protesting citizens in the streets, does anyone really believe it would be any different here if states actually tried to secede from the Union? Remember, the fight in the Civil War was states rights for the South; it was about preserving the Union for the North. The Fed won't go down without a fight.

Gustav said...

It's a failure to preserve federalism. All the great debates have been nationalized. There's nowhere for dissenters to go.

We are wasting the benefit of our geography. With 50 great states, there should be 50 models of government to choose from. Instead, people are subjected to forced homogenization, and pressure is building. Is it building fast enough to create a civil war? I'm not sure it is. But perhaps we'll see a Taiwan-like breakaway state.

TexasFred said...

Deo vindice...

Conway said...


Seems that many folks here think the way I do, I only hope I live to see the retribution.

Bob Mack said...

it is an irony of history that the source of much of that fear and anger is the nation’s first Black President.

I would say that it is because he is the nation's first Marxist president.

Guy in Ohio said...

Ronbo, I often comment on another blog I like, The Coffee Shop, which is right-leaning, but by no means hard right blog, hosted by a woman in California. It's always been a good place to go for news of the day, and reasonable commentary and discussion of current events.

Lately, some lefty with an axe to grind linked his blog to hers, targeting her as a racist and a hater, just because she has posted things that are critical of Obama and his administration. Now, the leftists that frequent his blog troll her blog on a daily basis.

They come there and spew their vulgarity, hatred, bitterness, and accusations of bigotry and racism indiscriminately throughout the comment sections, blindly attacking anyone who dares to voice any opinion they don't agree with.

It's gotten to the point where I often wonder if these people are mentally stable. I've pulled back on my comments of late, for fear that one of these morons might lose it and wind up hurting someone. I'm not worried about myself. I can take care of myself. But, I'd hate to think that their wives or children might wind up bearing the brunt of their anger, so when I wind up in a discussion with someone that I think is becoming irrational to the point of possible violence, I just drop it.

I guess my point is that, as you say, tensions between left and right seem to be approaching a flash point. The divide between left and right is slowly evolving into a solid hatred. If something doesn't happen soon to unite us, it's pretty obvious what's going to happen ...

Ronbo said...

@Guy In Ohio:

Once again, you hit the nail on the head!

Please feel free to comment on my blog, which does not post comments from the insane and the Left.

As I said before, I was mugged years ago by the reality that Leftists did not want a dialogue, they simply wanted to do character assassination and spew their hate against the rational and sane for high crime of being the rational and sane.

Cheers, Ronbo

Ronbo said...

@Alan and Guy:

I published a post on my blog here that references this article and discussion.

I hope this meets with the approval from the parties concerned.

Cheers, Ronbo

Alan Caruba said...

Ronbo's blog can be found at

Ronbo said...


Thanks for posting the link!

Cheers, Ronbo

Guy in Ohio said...

Thanks. I'll check it out!