I’m sorry to break it to y’all, but this Lost Cause idea is really lost because it just ain’t accurate.
The Glorious Old South wasn’t so glorious.
Why does it seem so today?
Think about looking at things through those proverbial rose colored glasses. For some it used to be “conveniently forgetting” what things were actually like because the truth was that the Civil War and aftermath were heck on Earth.
That not a personal criticism. Who can blame them because in order for them to function with some degree of sanity, the truth needed to be stored in a remote dark corner of the brain?
When I see that battle flag, or any flag from the Confederate States of America
- I’m reminded of more Americans dead than in all our other military conflicts from colonial times through today combined.
- I’m reminded of military occupation being implemented years after that surrender at Appomattox Court House. That federal occupation was by the Republican Party.
- I’m reminded that Democrats regardless of name ran those Republicans out often by using violent means.
- I’m reminded of the freedman, former slave, who was taken advantage of by both political parties.
- I’m reminded of how both the poor white and the freedman in many places worked side by side as both were oppressed by the moneyed interests.
- I’m reminded of land ravaged by battle and depleted by repeatedly planting cash crops over and over.
- I’m reminded that those who worked on shares began a cycle of perpetual debt from which they could not recover.
- I’m reminded that it wasn’t confined to white or black but the reality of the majority of citizens.
- I’m reminded of the nutritional deficient health problems because you weren’t allowed to grow food crops so you lived on that 3M diet.
- I’m reminded of education, the nonexistence of education as the South became like a foreign land depressed? Who can recall the Blair Bill?
- I’m reminded that the South had more industry before the Civil War in 1860 than it had in 1900.
- I’m reminded that disenfranchisement of the freedman had as much to do and actually more to do about the elite class maintaining power as it did about race.
What if that freedman and poor white who shared similar lives joined together politically?
The Southern Farmers Alliance and Negro Farmers Alliance could cooperate and the primary reason why that movement never developed as a combined force nationally was that the Northern Farmers Alliance refused to include the Negro Farmers Alliance and the Southern Farmers Alliance would not abandon their fellow southerners.
Consider that if the Populist Movement had been able to expand into the South it would have changed history.
Those flags, one can argue states’ rights, but one can assert treason against the United States of America.
The bloodshed, the idea that even with all those lives lost that the South in many ways suffered more following the War and Reconstruction, and that those negative effects can still be seen in the South today, and yet it’s patriotic or desirable to celebrate those atrocities?
Whether or not these flags symbolize racism is really dependent upon the individual. I’ve experienced the regional separation as fewer opportunities exist for some in the South. I experienced being overlooked for attending a small country public school. I experienced being turned down because I earned all of my degrees at institutions in the Deep South. Personally I haven’t experienced the racism directed at me, but I know that it exists just as what I experienced exists.
Folks, I’m Southern, I’m a Louisiana boy, I’m from Livingston Parish, I’m a country farm boy at heart, I’ll Ma’am and Sir people enough to drive’m nuts, and honestly the first name of any adult I knew as a kid is either Mr, Ms, Mrs, or Coach unless it’s Uncle or Aunt. Put me near the water, listening to Mr. Jerry Clower, fishing and playing a Dukes of Hazzard good ole boys trivia contest, and I’m happier than a possum chomping persimmons.
That these flags were flown in a time that meant death, destruction, and devastation for that generation and those who followed is a heritage I know but choose not to celebrate.
I recognize the sacrifices and the blood, sweat, and tears spilled, but if those people had wanted future generations to experience what they had then they had ample opportunities to make that happen. For example things worked out just a bit differently in 1877 compared to 1861.
Why would anyone celebrate that type of reality?
Oh, perhaps that’s why history, humanities, and liberal arts are all considered wastes by many education reformers. If the people are unable or unwilling to take the time to read from primary sources, they just might believe what somebody says and not realize that they are being taken.
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