Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War 80 Percent of Republicans Admire the Leaders of the Confederacy

Time to cue up Glory on yee old DVD player as today is the 150th anniversary of the war between the states. Apparently, treasonous secession still echoes as a fond memory of a noble Lost Cause in the eyes of many Americans. As highlighted by a new CNN poll some 25 percent of Americans say they sympathize more with the Confederacy than the Union. 40 percent of Southerners (quite predictably) hold this view as well.

Moreover, in a telling inversion of their party's historical role in the war to save the Union, 80 percent of Republicans idolize the leaders of the Confederacy. This is doubly ironic given that approximately the same percentage of Republicans admired Northern leaders during the Civil War.

The neo-secessionist longings of the contemporary Tea Party GOP are on naked display with their flippant use of the language of nullification, secession, States' Rights, and "Second Amendment remedies." The Lost Cause ideology and the neo-Confederacy movement have always been a type of white identity politics. Sometimes these appeals are transparently about race. At other times they are coded as dog whistle politics laced with moronic screams of "limited government" and/or "personal responsibility."

In the Age of Obama there are few Conservatives who are courageous enough to own that their ideological disagreements are grounded in a deep racial hostility and antipathy to America's first black President: apparently, the White racial frame can tolerate no such upset to its equilibrium. By comparison, the treasonous Confederate ilk who contemporary Republicans have so much admiration for--the former being a lot which should have been strung up by every lamp post and in every town square (as opposed to the gentlemanly peace offered by Grant to Lee at Appomattox)--were much more honest about the nature of their bigotry, and sense of what a right and correct racial order would look like.

For those who still believe that the Civil War and the South's rebellion were not first and foremost about the maintenance of white supremacy and the slaveocracy need to look no farther than the immortal words of the Confederacy's Vice President, Alexander Stephens:

Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition.
[Applause.] This, our new Government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

These are the leaders that the 21st century Tea Party GOP admire. I would like to say that I am shocked and amazed. But given how Barack Obama's election has led the Republican Party off the cliff and into the mouth of madness, I am not at all surprised by their hopeful dreams of a bygone Confederate yesteryear.


Plane Ideas said...

None of this is a surprise ..We are Black folks in a society with a legacy of 2 domestic holocausts..

The curve of this inhumanity has a long trajectory...

Mrs. Chili said...

And yet, all I hear are vehement denials from all sides that the Tea Party and its ilk are in any way hypocritical or racist. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Shady_Grady said...

The problem is that although the South was defeated, they weren't BEATEN. This would have required that all of the leaders of the revolt were hanged or imprisoned after speedy trials while those who financed the revolt were also dealth with-impoverished, imprisoned, executed, etc. That's how wars are supposed to end. In post-war 1945 Germany you couldn't find a single admitted Nazi (rolls eyes)

For a variety of reasons this wasn't the case in postbellum America and outside of a few abortive attempts at Reconstruction, not only was the South not made to repent, it also got to write the story as it saw it. Combined with Northern racism and the removal of Federal troops from the South, this led us to what we see today. People that argue that the Civil War wasn't really about slavery, but that even so slavery wasn't really that bad anyway...

Abstentus said...

With out the element of the current political divide and Reb sentiments being embraced by the GOP, I have been saying for years, the South got off easy, at the end of the Civil War. Just the other night I was discussing the matter on line with a self described (and a Dem) "Southern Gentleman." He took offense to my equation of the current GOP to the Rebs of 150 years ago, and the part about how the South got off easy.

But here is my main point in mentioning that. I finally boiled down my argument to the point that the mistake at the end of war was that they only defeated the Reb Army. They did not defeat Reb Culture. (And politics follows culture -- that sometimes weird, sometimes mean sort of perceived self interest that binds people together under emotion and ideology.)

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of these Confederate-flag waving morons. I say let's duke it out again, and show these mouth breathers that once again, a bunch of 'effete' Northern whites, colored folks and immigrants (it was Irish then, I'll take the Mexicans now) can thrash their backwards butts. And this time, they don't get to rejoin the Union- they can be tax-paying, non-voting colonies.

chaunceydevega said...

@Thrasher. You know there is nothing new in this game.

@Mrs. Chili. Don't you be doing that reverse racism stuff. You don't know that the Confederacy was about state's rights!

@Shady--The shadow of Reconstruction not finished. You know I feel like we should have shot the lot of them.

@Abstentus--The History Channel had a great feature on the ending days of the Civil War that talks about that bargain--a gentlemanly one between the North and the South--that would rest eventually on the backs of black people in Jim Crow.

@Anon--Given how the Red States are on the federal tit I say let the secede and cut them off from the gov't monies. Let's see how long they last.

Voluminously Yours said...

Where's Cobb on this one?