A Response to a Yankee
Bellow, a recent response of mine to a Yankee. The other side of the conversation is self evident:
"A rational man when faced with situations that have gone terribly wrong, as we in this country unquestionably have, seeks to find out where the mistake that led to the wrong occurred; firstly to try and understand how to fix it; secondly to learn from that mistake so that it can be avoided again.
History, true history and not some myth made up to justify ignoble actions or support some currently peddled ideology, is the primary source of identifying a nation's mistakes as well as it's laudable actions. The purpose is not to "hate" or to accuse the descendants of those who made the mistake of wrong doing.
The term "Yankee" refers to a historical foe of the Southern United States, the Confederacy, and those descendants of the historical Yankees who still feel the action against the Confederacy was appropriate, justified, and led to a better situation for all the people of the once "United" States. (We call Southerners who feel the North's action in the Civil War was appropriate or justified, "scalawags".) Neither term is one of endearment, and in some people, does rise to the level of "hatred".
I, myself, cannot respect the judgment of anyone who feels denying the right of secession to the Southern States was appropriate or laudable, when the very act that formed the "United States" a mere 90 years earlier was secession from Great Britain and claimed as the right of all and any people in the Declaration of Independence:
"— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government."
Nothing of which I am aware could be more hypocritical than the armed invasion of the South to prevent secession from standing. The facts are that the very reason we are where we are today is because of this grievous mistake: the abandonment of the rights of the states to limit the power of their central government and the act of enforcing that denial of rights by force. This also resulted in the murder of 350,000 southern soldiers who were only trying to defend the right or their states to secede, and 50,000 Southern civilians who were "collateral damage" at the hands of people like Sherman and Sheridan (if this latter fact is not too irrelevant for your consideration). The only tools of the states in controlling the central government are 1) secession, 2) threat of secession, and 3) nullification.
You may feel that dwelling on these issues from the past is pointless and you consistently refer to your desire to "live in the present" and deal with the future. But what you fail to realize is that the present as well as the future are the products of the past and its results in the present; and that if the future is to be made a better place, we must understand and correct the path that led us to today's unacceptable governmental situation.
As to your contention that Southerners are not belittled or looked down upon by the Northern United States and the West Coast, are you so accustomed to the belittlement and disparaging characterizations of Southerners that you don't even notice them (particularly since they are not directed at you)? Do you go to movies, do you listen to the news, do you read novels? Tell me the last time in any of these venues have you seen a Southerner, other than a scalawag like Jimmy Carter, portrayed in a positive light? Why are Southerners always portrayed as stupid, racist, red necks, and white trash?
But don't just accept my observations; listen to what a Harvard scholar, Professor Eugene Genovese had to say in the recent Massey Lectures at Harvard:
"Eugene Genovese, a distinguished historian of the South--a northerner and a man of the left--has been a rare voice in criticizing this purge of the Southern tradition from the academy (Academia). In the Massey Lectures given at Harvard, he had this to say: 'Rarely these days, even on southern campuses, is it possible to acknowledge the achievements of the white people of the South...To speak positively about any part of this southern tradition is to invite charges of being a racist and an apologist for slavery and segregation. We are witnessing a cultural and political atrocity--an increasingly successful campaign by the media and an academic elite to strip young white southerners, and arguably black southerners as well, of their heritage, and, therefore, their identity. They are being taught to forget their forebears or to remember them with shame.'
"This condition is not going to change overnight. Those who created it are tenured, and will dominate in higher education for at least a generation-- and even longer since they are disposed to hire and tenure only their own. Even so, there are many scholars in America and abroad who take inspiration from the Southern tradition, and many others who are open to what it has to teach. Students too are open. Many feel they are somehow encountering on campus a profound intellectual and spiritual disorder, but they do not know how to think about it." -- Professor Donald Livingston, Abbeyville Institute, Tenured Professor of Philosophy, Emory University
This process is better known around the world as "cultural genocide" and if you are unaware of its presence in the United States, you are either ill informed, uncaring, or not listening."
SWR's Roy Norris
Conquered but Never Defeated