Dixie Outfitters congratulates Chris Sullivan, new Commander-in-Chief of the SCV.
Message from CIC Candidate Chris Sullivan
Winston Churchill once famously said that, “The West is the hope of the world, and America is the hope of the West.”
I’d like to take Mr. Churchill a little farther and say that the hope of America is the South, and that the hope of the South is the SCV.
I think we can all clearly see what kind of trouble America is in. We are engaged in a war for the very life of our culture; and the SCV is the tip of the spear.
Let me explain.
Back in 1999, the South Carolina Baptist Convention took the tragic step of passing (narrowly) a resolution to endorse the so-called compromise to remove the Confederate Battleflag from atop the South Carolina Statehouse dome.
When I had the chance to argue our case with one of the most prominent denominational leaders. Basically, they were willing go soft on the Confederate flag in order to curry favor with certain demographic groups. The case I made to him was that the fight wasn’t really over the flag’s elevation, rather it was over the flag’s meaning. That is, if the flag could not be flown what was next? More importantly, many of those who were attacking the Confederate flag were equally opposed to the open and forthright presentation of the Gospel.
Just four short years later the convention was passing another resolution. Sadly, this time we were resolving to petition the politicians not to let the liberals force the removal of Christian displays such as the Ten Commandants from public places.
There are forces at work in our world which are trying to undermine the very foundation of our society. Their first target has been our Southern symbols.
In my work as editor of Southern Partisan magazine, I see the almost daily reports of attacks on our heritage.
Fortunately, in many cases we are winning, but there remain numerous times when we are overwhelmed.
Since the Special Convention in Concord, I have had the privilege of serving as our Lieutenant Commander-in-Chief. In New Orleans I will stand for election as Commander-in-Chief. I do not undertake this endeavor thoughtlessly or without due consideration for the seriousness of this position.
At this moment, our beloved SCV is at an important crossroads. We have come through some dangerous shoals, and it is now our job to plot a course which will make the SCV a thriving organization speaking with a forceful voice on behalf of Southern heritage.
There are some serious things which we need to do:
Expand our Field Staff program. Everywhere I go, I like to survey the audience about how they joined the SCV. The overwhelming response is because a friend or family member invited them to join. But, we need to do the inviting in a specific way. That’s where the Field Representatives have done an excellent job of helping Camps grow. Where this has been employed we have seen excellent results and it needs to be expanded upon.
Advertise. I know we’ve tried advertising before with mixed results, but we need to apply some savvy to it. Currently, I am working with the Long Range Planning Committee on a demographic survey of our members. Armed with this information, we can make intelligent decisions about how to effectively use our resources.
Train our members. We need to make sure our individual members are adequately trained for every job they are asked to do. We have some good training programs already, but what is also needed is training on things like influencing the local school board, developing a sound financial plan, and proper care of historic sites. Many of our members are more than willing to work if they know what to do.
Education. The SCV is essentially an educational organization. Every meeting we have should have an educational component. When I became Lt. CINC, I went to work with some of the leading scholars in Southern history like Dr. Clyde Wilson to put together the Stephen D. Lee Institute. The SDLI, although just getting started, is already making an enormous impact and I believe we can do great things with this program.
Communications. Part of the SCV’s strength is what I call “Leadership in Depth.” That is, we have an excellent command structure through our Divisions and Camps. But this system works best when everybody knows what’s going on. As Lt. CINC, I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the South meeting with Camp leaders, attending Division meetings, and getting to know our Compatriots. As Commander-in-Chief I want to hold regular conferences with all Division Commanders to be sure that we are all signing off the same sheet.
Money. We have the opportunity to really challenge the enemies of our heritage but, in order to be effective, we need a war chest. Just this last year we’ ve had some very successful fund drives and we must take these efforts to a higher level.
Leadership. For nearly 25 years I have been a member of the SCV. I have served four years as Commander of one of our larger Camps. My Camp has opened its own 2,300 square foot Confederate Museum and we are raising money to build a bigger building. I served four years (1994-1998) as South Carolina Division Commander during some of the hardest fighting to keep the Confederate flag atop the Statehouse dome. I’ve served five years on the General Executive Council first as a Department officer and now as Lt. CINC. Back in January 2000 I was chairman of “Southern Heritage Celebration 2000” in Columbia, SC, the largest pro-Confederate rally in modern times. I have served ten years on the S.C. Hunley Commission (appointed or reappointed by three successive governors). Despite the vicious and untruthful attacks by the South’s leading anti-Confederate newspaper (The State), the Commission has been enormously successful at preserving the Confederate submarine and telling the powerfully true story of her brave crew. Both my father and grandfather were officers in the SCV (my grandfather was Assistant Historian-in-Chief in the 1920s). I have been interviewed by hundreds of media outlets from Minnesota, to Dublin, to Paris about our heritage; I’ve appeared on national news programs including Crossfire with Compatriot Pat Buchanan. I’ve advanced our cause in numerous public forums like the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. I understand our Confederation and I know how to get our message across.
Teamwork. Finally, the most important thing I want to do as Commander-in-Chief is to restore the fraternal aspects of our Confederation. I have attended every national convention since 1986, and from the first to the last there have been plenty of controversies. Most of which counted for very little in the long run. Far too much of our time is spent on foolish arguments and petty insults. The one thing I want to accomplish is to get us focused on the fact that our real enemies are outside and it is our duty to fight them with everything we’ve got.
If the membership of the SCV sees fit to honor me by electing me to serve as Commander-in-Chief for the coming term, my promise to you is that I will do everything in my power to earn the trust that has been placed in me.
P.S. I will never ask you to sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic: ever.