Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2006

For the past few weeks, readers of this newspaper have had the pleasure of reading a running verbal skirmish in the Reader Thumbs Line over the statue on the Bentonville Square.

Entries for the Reader Thumbs Line, which runs each Sunday on Page 3 B, are submitted anonymously by readers — via e-mail, handwritten notes, phone calls, even verbally.

After the latest volley, I decided it is time — once and for all — for the United States to get over the Civil War.

For gosh sakes, we quit shooting each other 141 years ago.

To finally close the wound, there’s only one action: Eliminate all references to the South.

First up, bulldoze the soldier on our quaint square. Crush the old solider into gravel for concrete. Put the splash pad and ice rink there. Heck, kids already drink the water in the fountain around the statue; we might as well make it so they can play in the water, too.

Second up, Pea Ridge National Military Park. Its presence serves only as a reminder of what’s in the past. Land in Benton County is valuable. The federal deficit is big. We can quit spending tax money on the park. And we can sell it. Such a beautiful, large tract of land should fetch a pretty penny. Help pay down the debt.

Third up: Prairie Grove State Park. The state doesn’t need to spend money on a state park glorifying a Civil War battle. Save the cash, sell the land and use the money for education.

The step three list continues with each and every Civil War site in the nation. Many of them are in growth areas: Gettsyburg, Bull Run, Chickamauga, Antietam, the Spotsylvania Court House, Manassas — they’re all a big waste of money and time. Dump them.

Fourth up: All sorts of buildings, starting with the University of Arkansas’ Old Main, which is the oldest building on the Fayetteville campus. Yep, the south tower HAS GOT TO GO. The north tower is significantly taller than the south one, so — clearly — the architect was making the political statement that the North would always rise above the South. Thanks to air conditioning, the South’s been beaten, so simply put the wrecking ball to the south tower.

Fifth up: Why keep using the word “ south ? ” Sure, it’s a direction, but doesn’t it also bring up the fact that it means so much more to so many people ? Better to replace it with a new word. I suggest antinorth. So it’s north, antinorth, east and west. Has a nice ring, doesn’t it ?

Sixth up: The Arkansas flag. How the state has so far escaped the your-flag-has-a-racist-symbol-on-it debate escapes me. Whether Miss Willie K. Hocker of Wabbaseka, Ark., intended it, the Old South lives on in the state’s banner. Clearly, it’s a racist symbol. You scoff ? Better not.

Try this: Find the image (not a real flag, unless you really want to ) of an Arkansas flag. Cut it in half. Put the top half on the bottom, trim it a bit. Doubt me now ?

These are simply the starting points that I’ve identified. Certainly there are others that are just as insidious and sneaky as the towers on Old Main and the Arkansas flag.

For this reconstruction to succeed, we must create a government agency empowered with investigation and prosecution of violations to a code of conduct it will set forth. For instance, we can expect the august body to outlaw the use of flags it deems Confederate in nature. Anyone with one will be fined; repeated offenses will result in jail time. But we can’t stop at flags. After all, we’re trying to root out all portrayal that casts the villain in a positive light. The terms “ War Between the States” and “ War of Northern Aggression” will be banned. Violators will be jailed on first usage because speaking about it is the worst kind of offense to the approved way of life.

Government must act, now. The longer this goes on, the more ingrained it becomes.

In fact, it may be time to reopen Reconstruction, the period after the Civil War in which the United States struggled with how to rebuild the South. Oops, the Antinorth. For the United States to remain free, it is the duty of each and every American to join together to report to the Federal Emergency Antinorth Control Agency Liaison (FEACAL ) information on everyone around them. Spot someone with a Stars-and-Bars tattoo on the ankle ? Report the person so FEACAL can have it removed. Hear someone whistling a tune reminiscent of Dixie ? Report them. Someone going on the South Beach diet ? Report them for refusing to use the mandated word. We must do this, for the future of our grandchildren, for the safety of tomorrow. All things Antinorthern MUST be erased from our collective memories.

Copyright © 2001-2006 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc

On The Web: