Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Southern Problem

I was working on schoolwork for the fall and watching a marathon on the Civil War Untold Stories. And then an episode on "Death and the Civil War: American Experience" came on, talking about the sheer volume of dead in the battles and how death was suddenly different - instead of dying in the home with your family around you, you died thousands of miles from home with strangers, sometimes not identified on your grave.

OK, it sounds like a gruesome topic, but that wasn't the takeaway I had from this.

To paraphrase what one professor said: The South did not go into the war for the care of the dead. They went into the war to create a confederate states of America. Would things be different now if the North had treated the Southern dead with respect? We don't know.

He was talking about how the North created Arlington to honor the Union dead but would do nothing for the Confederate dead.

He quoted Frederick Douglass ". . . whatever else I may forget, I shall never forget the difference between those who fought for liberty and those who fought for slavery, between those who fought to save the Republic and those who fought to destroy it." Decoration Day, 1894

And they talked about how the Southern economy was annihilated in a way no place else in the US has ever had happen to it. (That's Atlanta in 1865)

We all know that holding on to anger festers. And this is somewhat oversimplified. I know that when my family moved into the South, people still talked about when "we lost the War" - and they were serious 100 years after Appomatox.

But I have been thinking about this a lot this week.

The idiot/evil/moron who gunned down people in the Church had nothing to do with the Confederate flag (actually Lee's Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia - And my great great great grandfather was there.). It had everything to do with mental illness.

But, in knee jerk reaction, everyone bans the sale of the flag. Well, I am offended by all the paraphernalia with Che Guevera's likeness and the rap music with the N word, B word, C word, etc. But I don't expect everyone to ban things so that I am not bothered.

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