Topic: Politics
The Rebel flag, a failed lesson in citizenship!

In Texas, a small group of patriots lost the fight for a license plate without firing shot!
by Mark Vogl
Sunday, November 13, 2011

13 states ( Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky and Missouri) and two territories (the Indian territory which was Oklahoma, and Arizona) composed the Confederate States of America.  Nine of those states have specialty license plates honoring the Sons of Confederate Veterans (S.C.V.).  In some of those states it was the Courts who decided in favor of freedom of speech and equal treatment under the law for the granting of the license plates.



But, this week the Texas Department of Transportation decided to refuse the license plate to the Texas Division of the S.C.V.  The timing of this issue combined with the Civil War Sesquicentennial (150th ) Remembrance, the presidential aspiration of Texas Governor Rick Perry, and a United States as divided over issues as it was back in 1860!

This is not the first defeat for the S.C.V. in Texas.  When George Bush was governor, in the dark of the night, he sent government agents to remove plaques honoring the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the South from Texas government buildings!  The S.C.V. took Texas to court in a lawsuit, and after years of deliberation, and what could be about 200,000 dollars in legal fees, the Court decided that Governor Bush operated outside the law, but refused to order the plaques returned to their locations.  The S.C.V. lost.

Also in Texas, the same Texas Department of Transportation has blocked S.C.V. efforts to use a billboard on the public roads!

Florida has also been the site of a recent S.C.V. Court defeat…this one concerning their application for specialty license plates in that state.

When you are a politically incorrect group, you don’t get the fairness that politically correct groups like ethnic minorities or homosexuals get.  You just kinda get urinated on by the Courts, who tell you it’s raining.  Though, to be fair, ethnic minority groups and gays have learned and used all the tools of civil disobedience and political participation.

For the members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Texas, their effort to secure the plates was conducted as "inside baseball" by their state leadership.  A strategy decision was made to NOT engage in the normal political "rules of engagement."  Normally, a group attempts to influence government policy.  However, the S.C.V. did not do a letter writing campaign to their state’s elected representatives, or a phone bank to those same representatives.  The "rebels" did not hold rallies or parades to garner public support for their effort to secure the license plates.  The Division did not hold Press Conferences, or go on the offense to offer their spokesmen for prime television or radio interviews.  The division did not raise or allocate money for an advertising campaign.  No effort was made to discuss the issue with the governor, or approach colleges and universities to hold discussions or debates between S.C.V. spokesmen and college professors or students.  None of the normal efforts to petition government were attempted.  The Commander had decided the course, and no amount of internal debate within the division would change his mind.  He had settled on silence, and silence from the 2,500 men of the Texas Division was to be the course.

The commander was so sure that the efforts before the Texas Transportation Committee would fail, that in June he got the approval of the Division board of directors to go ahead with a lawsuit when Texas turned down their application.

A recent estimate indicates that somewhere between fifty and eighty million Americans are descendants of Confederate grey.  Yet, only thirty thousand men belong to the Sons of Confederate Veterans!  Why is that?    

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a fraternal ancestral organization charged with vindicating the Cause for which almost one million Southern men fought.  Each year at their national reunion, the S.C.V. condemns white supremacist groups.  Many within the S.C.V. condemn slavery, and tell of the battles within the South, exclusive of Yankee interference, to end the institution before 1860.  In addition, many in the S.C.V. are interested in the black support for the southern nation which came in the form of serving in the military, and maintaining the Southern economy during the war.  3.5 million Slaves were more than a third of the almost nine million southerners who left the Union.  No slave revolts occurred during the war.  No actions which could have paralyzed the South occurred. 

The Sons of Confederate Veterans argues that the war was not about slavery, but about the preservation of the original Constitution.  Few Americans realize that the Lincoln Administration followed very shortly after the creation of the Republican Party.  Northerners were looking for a stronger federal government and they used the war as a means to that end.  Following the war the XIV Amendment to the Constitution would be rammed down the Southern states. To re-enter the Union the Southern states were required to pass this Amendment which expanded and centralized federal power.  Expansion of the federal government which led a Federal Department of Education, Obama Health care, the income tax, social security, and the overwhelming assortment of federal rules and reguations all began at Appomattox.

The Confederate Constitution of 1861, modified to better reflect the original Constitution made several major changes including;

a. Calling on the protection and guidance of Almighty God (Christian) in the Preamble.

b. Term limiting the President to one six year term.

c. Reasserting the sovereignty of the states.

d. Severely limiting the power of Congress to spend money vis a vis the President.

e. Prohibiting industry bail outs and Congressional earmarks.

f. Toughening rules of citizenship, voting and holding office.

In many respects the Sons of Confederate Veterans are the forerunners of today’s Tea Party!  The membership of the S.C.V. embrace a deep belief in the original Constitution and the concept of "consent of the governed."  But unfortunately, unlike other not-for-profit organizations, like the NRA, the veterans’ organizations, minority groups, Kiwanis, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, AARP AMAC, etc., the S.C.V. membership has not been organized and trained to participate in the American political system.

When one considers that fifty to eighty million Americans are descendants of Confederate soldiers and sailors, one would think that organizing politically would be an excellent means for growing the organization.  Today’s America suffers from many of the problems identified by Southern statesmen back in the mid-19th century.  The Sons of Confederate Veterans with approximately 1,000 local organizations across the nation routinely hold presentations discussing aspects of American history ignored in America’s classrooms.

Local S.C.V. organizations are called camps, and they do a tremendous amount of civic work each year.  The men from these camps participate in living history demonstrations, and re-enactments.  They participate in local parades across the South and are invited into public schools during the school year to tell the children about the Confederate soldier, and the stories of the South which are seldom told in school books.  The local camps routinely host authors and story tellers at their monthly meetings.  So the men of the S.C.V. are already pretty busy.

But, in Texas, they may have learned that the responsibilities of citizenship require that they must learn the business of governing and how to participate in order to influence the decisions of their government.  Citizenship is work, lot’s of it.  When one realizes that only about 60% of Americans are registered to vote, and only half of the registered voters vote, it demonstrates that many, if not most, Americans don’t participate in citizenship at all.  This might explain why 98% of incumbents are re-elected, and why America is rapidly headed towards 17,000,000,000,000 dollars in debt!  

©2011 Mark Vogl

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