Let’s Lose the Lost Cause

Before we can debate history, read something written by an actual historian

A little message I created to focus on factual arguments instead of listening to the same talking points over and over and over again and again.

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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3 thoughts on “Let’s Lose the Lost Cause

  1. Pingback: LAB Louisiana Boy | Rush and the Confederate Flag Furor

  2. Folks let me clarify that my issue is not the battle flag or any flag for that matter. My take is that history with the Old South / New South (a term coined by a newspaperman Henry Grady) and this idea of a Lost Cause has become these distorted myths and pointing out those myths is neither a rewriting of history nor a cancellation of history. People of that time had legitimate reasons to create these myths because they had to persevere and anything was better than what they currently had in the so-called New South. Life wasn’t pleasant for the vast majority both before and after and that did not change with the color of one’s skin.

    My personal opinion is that the United States Flag is the flag which should be flown permanently on the grounds of our government buildings. Individual states can also fly their state flag, but I really do not have a strong opinion about those flags one way or the other. Flags of other groups or causes should be a decision of the people of the state, and the display of such flags should only be in the form of temporary exhibits which change on a consistent basis. While illustrating respect for a heritage, group, or cause, these displays could promote dialogue and education about the things the symbol represents.

    As for personal property and non-government property, a person should have the right to display any flag that he or she wishes. I do feel that one should not display a flag on their private property if the physical size or location of that flag impedes the passage of others on common property. That 50 foot flag on a pole that is 10 feet high is not a respectable display. If one chooses to fly a flag properly, that is their right and as long as that flag is not illegal under existing code in reference to free speech and personal rights of privacy. Others have the right to protest that flag, however, as long as they do not violate existing codes. It’s a two way street.

    If a store chooses to pull products with a rebel flag, that is the store’s choice. I do not, however, feel like anyone aside from those with a vested interest in that store should make the call. It’s not my decision.

    Likewise, I see no call to rename locations just because those locations are named for let’s say Robert E. Lee. Almost a century ago, I could see a legitimate reason to change Berlin Street to General Pershing, but we were at war then. Monuments and statues on government property do not need to be removed or destroyed. Some, however, should be better protected from the elements which might mean moving into a museum. If I feel one is inappropriate, I’ll make an argument with relevant citations. If I find one offensive, I’ll organize people and petition based upon the offensive aspects. If I simply dislike or disagree, I will use it as an educational piece to encourage learning. I may also advocate for another piece to be displayed which would also be an educational piece for those who like and agree with the initial piece.

    We can like something and still find it is inappropriate for that place and time. We can dislike something that is appropriate for that place and time. It’s not about this political correctness garbage. It’s about learning history and not just from secondary sources or from a singular perspective. It’s about communication. It’s about dialogue and respect. The vast majority of us can accomplish that, but we have to avoid one group trying to throw gasoline, other groups striking matches, and even more flapping their arms and gums just to try and fan the flames so even if we don’t get burned all we can see and smell is the smoke.

  3. Here’s the other article. From: LAB Louisiana Boy To: klzan@yahoo.com Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 8:56 PM Subject: [New post] 3544 #yiv2194444045 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2194444045 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2194444045 a.yiv2194444045primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2194444045 a.yiv2194444045primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2194444045 a.yiv2194444045primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2194444045 a.yiv2194444045primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2194444045 WordPress.com | lablouisianaboy posted: “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 ” | |

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