A Sincere View of the Public Relations War
Commentary by J. A. Davis
"Duty is the sublimest word in the language. You can never do more than your duty. You should never wish to do less." –Robert E. Lee
"Remember…it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations." –Gen. Stephen Dill Lee, from his remarks to the 1906 assembly of UCV/SCV known as "The Charge."
Several have asked me to comment on what is really going on in a real war to capture the minds of Americans which has evidenced itself as we begin a five year program to commemorate the 150th anniversary of what detractors call the Civil War and we call "The War Between the States." Some have expressed sincere pessimism that the Sesquicentennial will devolve into "four years of south-bashing."
Let me empathize with the Southerners who are regularly angered by ill contrived propaganda they see, read and hear every day. We need to methodically analyze what is taking place.
First, within just the past decade the field of public information has drastically changed. It is now possible for some deranged hate bigots (e.g. SPLC) to access the public channels of opinion with little or no restriction on veracity or civility. Look at all the new forms of communication that have arrived on the scene.
Then, consider the fact that there are small groups which make big noise that would seem to dominate the public view when in truth their total following may be in the hundreds, or in some cases, even less. Once in a while some of these diatribes make the search engines resulting in more agitation.
These small groups are well coordinated and have a mutual agenda. They include a large percentage of academia, a equally large percentage of the metropolitan media along with some dedicated groups of certified left wingers with goals of destroying the Constitution for fun and profit.
Sometimes we patriots get so aggravated we want to strike back with the quantity of venom spewed by our assailants. Many do if for no reason more than to relieve a frustration while at the same time utilizing the same sources to express righteous indignation.
Let’s understand what we’re dealing with. During the Sesquicentennial observances please note that the only objective of these cults is to sidetrack any historical observance of the true history of the War Between the States by replacing it with Southern guilt for slavery. They do this by suggesting that the war was solely about slavery with the South defending it and the North seeking abolition. In so doing, they are also smearing the vision of the Founders with their principles that call for smaller, less expensive and LIMITED central government. They will characterize the Sesqui observer’s motivation as primarily racial hatred and/or anti-government extremism. That smear will carry over to discussion of any conservative or founding principle, such as secession, nullification, the Constitution, states rights, smaller government, lower taxes, etc. Their play does NOT include any events of their own but rather seeks to piggyback on, smear and distort everything being done or recognized by those who have observances and events virtually every week.
To discredit and distort our common American heritage and founding principles, the main target of these malcontents is to discredit them by attempting to discredit the recognized leading organization that speaks for Southern heritage and the heroic Confederate military… the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
This is not to say there are not others who are equally engaged and in most cases working for the same goals as the SCV.
Major changes have taken place in the public information aspect of the SCV in the past decade. More changes are coming under the current commander, Michael Givens. The work of all international committees, particularly those dealing with public perception such as Heritage Defense, Confederate History and Heritage, Sesquicentennial are being centered on a common theme with coordination from the International Public Relations and Media Committee. Each committee retains its own authority. The purpose of closer coordination is the centralize a common theme.
Each SCV Division has or is setting up its own PR officer and staff. Commander-in-Chief Michael Givens has asked every camp, however small, to activate its own Public Relations Officer. All will operate on their own autonomy, with simple coordination with each level. This includes the development of a media contact list at each level.
The international PR staff will continue to handle all national and worldwide public relations utilizing international officers, committee chairmen, division leaders, past and present.
The streamlined SCV program has attained some successes that shouldn’t be overlooked. Among these are:
* Personal appearances on virtually every national radio and television network during the past year. This included more than two dozen appearances.
* At least ten times more participation in news interviews of all media than anytime in the past.
* A breakthrough with noted anti-Confederate major newspapers such as the Washington Post where a past SCV international officer writes a blog on a regular basis.
* Linkage with other organizations such as Veterans Today resulting in much broader coverage for the SCV basic plan.
* Local news coverage by camps on the local level which highlight activities on the home front. This has resulted in much more lineage and broadcast impressions, all leading to more new recruiting interests.
Thanks to the Confederate History and Heritage Committee, the number of proclamations by localities throughout America increases every year. This year, their goal is one thousand.
The international SCV Sesquicentennial Committee has scheduled specific historic events in diverse locations during the Sesquicentennial. These events will attract thousands of people who want to see the authentic presentations of the real history of the nation with all its beauty and all its warts.
Virtually every camp in the SCV actively involves its local community in events such as Confederate History and Heritage, birthday celebrations of various Confederate leaders. Add to this the various events such as parades, living history courses at schools and libraries, participation in historical events including battlefield reenactments and cemetery restorations. Many camps work in unison with other community organizations to improve the quality of living in their home place.
One of the major changes taking place is more emphasis on electronic monuments and memorials without in any way diminishing the continuing progress on existing programs. At very little cost almost every historic event we want to memorialize can be done with an effective audio/video production available universally on the Internet.
More emphasis is taking place on the growth of the SCV in overseas nations. Who would have thought just a few years ago that media crews from Germany, Switzerland and the British Isles would cover events such as the recent Montgomery inauguration reenactment?
While some of our leftist cult detractors continue to try to frame us as something other than who we really are, we will continue to promote the kind hearts and gentle people who have made up the United Confederate Veterans which became the SCV. Every day they besmirch us we gain new members. If you think about it, that in itself is a major accomplishment when you recognize that almost every civic or fraternal organization in America has suffered severe diminishing membership.
Kind hearts and gentle people can fight when needed and we have shown we can do that quite effectively in a whole new media atmosphere. That same atmosphere needs to know more about the goodness of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the good work we do. Our adversaries would like to take us off our track. We can handle them when and where necessary and still remain loyal to the legacy of our ancestors and their good name.
Allow me to finish by saying that eight decades of presence on this earth as personal witness to the events which represent about one third of everything that has happened since those days in Philadelphia when the greatest Republic in the history of the world was established.
All the more reason to continue with vigor our dedication to the principles of a small federal government with renewed emphasis on governance at the local and state level where the consent of the governed can once again reign supreme.
"Help me to be, to think, to act what is right because it is right; make me truthful, honest, and honorable in all things; make me intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to me."
–Robert E. Lee, from the Truman Library. This Robert E. Lee prayer was memorized by President Harry S. Truman, and used by Truman throughout his life. Truman was the grandson of a Confederate soldier and an SCV member.
"…Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of [Robert E. Lee] this great American on my office wall." –President Dwight D. Eisenhower, from a letter to Dr.Leon Scott, 8/1/1960
"Although young George was named ‘Junior,’ he was actually the third to bear the name George Smith Patton. The first Patton was killed in the Civil War at the Battle of Winchester at the age of 26. He was commanding the 22nd Virginia Regiment in the Shenandoah Valley. Walter Taswell Patton, a brother of the first George Patton was killed at Gettysburg while leading a regiment under the command of Major General George E. Pickett." –The Patton Society, The Unknown Patton, The Early Years, Part I
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