"I feel your pain"
 
From: wildbill4dixie@yahoo.com
To: lind@newamerica.net, readermail@salon.com 
 
Re: http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/127378.html  and
 
http://www.salon.com/news/texas/index.html?story=/opinion/feature/2010/05/31/texas_textbooks_confederacy 
 
So, you’re a Texan? Funny, you don’t sound like any Texan that I’ve ever met. I’m sure you have embarrassed the hell out of your fellow Texans with your Salon magazine story, and I am also sure that if your grandpappy were still alive and heard you speak that he would take you to the woodshed and beat you within an inch of your life. Too bad he’s dead because I’d be willing to buy tickets for the privilege of watching him do it. 
 
I must say that I am having the time of my life watching petty little tyrants like you squirm at the prospect of parents taking charge of their kids’ education instead of turning them over to be brainwashed by know–it-alls like yourself.    
 
Tell me something? Are you so ignorant of how things used to be that you fail to realize that there was a time, and not all that long ago, when parents were actually involved in what their children were taught, and that they actually had a say in what their children were taught? The fact that people like you are so uncomfortable in the face of this surge of parental empowerment gives me joy to no end! Your discomfort and powerlessness in this situation is both gratifying and downright funny. Truly, I love watching you and others like you squirm!  I suppose you can calm yourself by remembering that you still have control of the other 49 states, for now…. But that may change in time! 
 
Oh yes, and would you please be so kind as to not refer to us as Confederate “apologists”? “Neo-Confederates” if you like, “Americans” perhaps, or “Tea Partiers” if you prefer, you can even call us insulting names if it suits you, but please, not “apologists” – because in fact, we apologize for no one or nothing. 
 
Now don’t fret about the words of Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, and Abraham Lincoln. There will, I am sure, be plenty of coverage for the words of all 3 in the new Texas curriculum. And the involvement of slavery as a determining factor in the war will not be ignored either. 
 
Students, for example, will learn that in 1860, Senator Jefferson Davis addressed his Northern colleagues and questioned their true motivations vis a vis their stance on the slavery issue. These words and others like them, usually ignored in contemporary history books, paint a very different picture of the war than the one you like to paint. Students will now realize that the war was not simply a contest between the (alleged) goodness of the free states and the (alleged) evil of the slave states. They will learn that history, as well as life and its problems are not so simple and that there are many levels to a single problem: 
 
“What do you propose, gentlemen of the free soil party? Do you propose to better the condition of the slave? Not at all. What then do you propose? You say you are opposed to the expansion of slavery. Is the slave to be benefited by it? Not at all. What then do you propose? It is not humanity that influences you in the position which you now occupy before the country. It is that you may have an opportunity of cheating us that you want to limit slave territory within circumscribed bounds. It is that you may have a majority in the Congress of the Untied States and convert the government into an engine of Northern aggrandizement. It is that your section may grow in power and prosperity upon treasures unjustly taken from the South, like the vampire bloated and gorged with the blood which it has secretly sucked from its victim. You desire to weaken the political power of the Southern states, – and why? Because you want, by an unjust system of legislation, to promote the industry of the New England States, at the expense of the people of the South and their industry.” – Jefferson Davis.   
 
And there will be more quotes from Alexander Stephens than just his “Cornerstone Speech,” a speech that you and those of your ilk have beaten to death like a dead horse. Students will learn that like Davis, he too had some questions about the pious Yankee’s motives: 
 
“Their philanthropy yields to their interests. Notwithstanding their professions of humanity, they are disinclined to give up the benefits they derive from slave labor…The idea of enforcing the laws, has but one object, and that is collection of the taxes, raised by slave labor to swell the fund necessary to meet their heavy appropriations. The spoils is what they are after – though they come from the labor of the slave.” Alexander Stephens.   
 
And not to worry about the words of Massa Lincoln being ignored – the students will get an earful of his words, including some that you don’t usually hear – like his reply when someone expressed concern to him about the fate of displaced black women and children in Virginia: 
 
“An Illinois farmer boasted that he had found an efficient method of harvesting a food crop for his pigs – grow potatoes and let the pigs harvest them at will. But what would happen when the ground was frozen, a neighbor asked? Let ‘em root, replied the farmer.”  Abe Lincoln 
 
Or his message to Congress in 1862 – When Yankee congressmen expressed fear over a possible black northward migration resulting from an emancipation decree, he put their fears to rest: 
 
“But why should emancipation of the South send free

[black] people North? …And in any event cannot the North decide for itself whether to receive them?”  Abe Lincoln 
 
And we’ll still be teaching students the Gettysburg address. We’ll be contrasting what Lincoln said to what he actually did. Students will be taught to ask how a government can be described as being “of by and for the people” when that government ignores perhaps one of the most important of all amendments (the first amendment) and jails tens of thousands of its own citizens for speaking out against the war or on behalf of constitutionality. Or how it is that a chief executive of such a government can utter such beautiful words, yet see fit to curtail freedom of the press by closing down hundreds of newspapers and jailing their editors. Or, how it is that this Chief Executive’s Secretary of State can boast to an English visitor that with one ring of the bell on his desk, he can have anyone he chooses tossed into prison without so much as a by-your-leave, and in full violation of the writ of habeas corpus. 
 
And as regards England, students will learn that despite being rabid abolitionists themselves, the Brits were perfectly capable of seeing through the hypocritical behavior of the Northerner. In fact, throughout the war, the Brits displayed an uncanny ability to sniff out B.S., as evidenced by this quote from a wartime English journal. Too bad that so many modern day boards of education don’t have the same sense of smell. 
 
“They (the Northern white men) do not love the Negro as a fellow-man; they pity him as a victim of wrong. They will plead his cause; they will not tolerate his company.” 
 
The English penchant for sniffing out cow dung wasn’t just limited to the North’s alleged love of the black man however. That keen sense also noted the similarity between Lincoln’s “new nation” and other already existing nations – nations that only a despot could love: 
 
“… but when Republicans put empire above liberty, and resorted to political oppression and war rather than suffer any abatement of national power, it was clear that nature at Washington was precisely the same as nature at St. Petersburg. There was not, in fact, a single argument advanced in defense of the war against the South which might not have been advanced with exactly the same force for the subjugation of Hungary or Poland. Democracy broke down, not when the Union ceased to be agreeable to all its constituent States, but when it was upheld, like any other Empire, by force of arms.”   
 
And students will learn that much of the nonsense pushed by people like you about the extent of Confederate desertions and poor morale is a lot of horse-hockey, that too much is made of it, and that the extent to which you claim it existed is easily disproved. Can I disprove it? I sure as hell can! I can give you 360,000 instances of proof that the Confederate soldier was motivated enough to put up one hell of a fight and that he did put up such a fight. Each one of those instances is a dead Yankee. Numbers don’t lie. Only people like you do. The Southern people put up a struggle that, until the last 25-30 years had always garnered the admiration of the world. The courage and devotion of the Confederate soldier were legendary, as was his struggle for freedom. Steel yourself, because that old belief is going to make a comeback in at least one state. 
 
Students will learn that on the subject of the Southerner’s desire to fight for his freedom, there are other opinions out there besides yours and Bruce Levine’s, opinions like this one, one of many from English publications written during and just after the war: 
 
“Are we to be told that it was a desire to defend slavery that aroused this enthusiasm in the human breast? Could any other than a lofty motive or noble aspiration thus impel a whole people to encounter suffering or face death without fear?……The armies brought into the field by the South exceed in their ratio to its numbers anything on record. The genius displayed for war astounded all those who were not aware that throughout the history of the Union every general of renown has been a Southerner.”   
 
And please don’t fret about the Constitution, not the Constitution of 1787 or the one from 1861. Students will learn that the words “nation” did not appear at all in the final draft of the 1787 document and that the word “national,” which appeared over 20 times in the original draft, was removed by the delegates, who felt that the correct description of the new government was a “federal” one and not a “national” one. They will also learn that it was James Madison who defined the Constitution as a federal one created by “sovereign states” and not a national one. Students will learn that while the Founders certainly hoped that what they created would be lasting, that they did not mandate that it be so, and that the idea of forming a “nation”, as we today define the word, never entered into their heads. And from this, students will learn that when the Confederate Constitution opened with the words “We the people of the Confederate states, each state acting in its sovereign and independent character,” that it was simply carrying on the tradition handed down by the Founders themselves. 
 
I know that all this must stick in your craw. Heaven forbid that states and communities should have a say so in the management of their own lives. How dare they raise their children without your consent and advice? How dare they give you the heave-ho? After all, people like you know what’s best for them, don’t you? This belief has been poured into the heads of parents for several generations now. But all that’s going to change, thanks to Texas. 
 
Yes, all this really does stick in your craw, doesn’t it? Am I repeating myself? My apologies. I am overjoyed and I just can’t seem to help myself. 
 
Truly, “I feel your pain,” and I am loving every minute of it! 
 
Bill Vallante
Commack NY
Sons of Confederate Veterans, Associate Member
Camp 3000, Camp 1506