Drove ol’ Dixie down? Not here
Organizers say Civil War event in Hanover went fine, despite Northern aggression
http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD/MGArticle/RTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149188406829 12 June 2006

Dear Editor:

It is amazing that Hanover County’s officials and those of the other cities in the Richmond-Petersburg area failed to support and promote such a colorful, significant to the locality and State, historic remembrance as “Dixie Days” at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, Virginia. It demonstrates the popular PC notion of a publicly acceptable and ongoing anti-Southern racist prejudice especially practiced by northerners and some “reconstructed” Southerners. This same prejudice is usually linked to the allergic reactions by today’s media against orthodox Christian denominations and other targeted victim-of-the-press religious groups.

Objecting to this kind of event, in the past some have asked, “Don’t you know the war is over? You lost!” I respond, “The war will be over when the federal government and State and local officials stop attempts to suppress our culture and our freedom of speech that does not actually exist for us in government sponsored schools, in local governments and some communities.”

We are not a truly free people so long as the government and some in the general population continue to suppress minorities such as “Southerners” who increasingly consider themselves a distinctive “racial” group composed of individuals from many races who share their common culture. Disagree with Southern concepts, O.K. Suppress their public expression, no. This is having a part in generating a new sense of separateness by many Southerners. There are now independence movements and or bills of secession in 37 of our 50 States, mostly in the west and the South.

In the last census thousands of Southerners listed their race as “Southern” or “Southern Confederate.” Most Christian Southern whites have more in common with Southern blacks and Native Americans than they do people from the liberal socialist and agnostic Deep North.

Last weeks issue of U.S. News and World Report ran an article titled “Ugly Americans, in Black and White” in which Hess, their reporter, noted the observation so often made by people from other nations who visit the United States. He said a Latin foreign correspondent operating in the United States told him “It’s very difficult to accommodate yourself to American life. I cannot say culture, because obviously there is no culture in this country; (just as) there is no (sense of) history.” The only part of this country that does continue to have a distinctive “culture” is delightfully found in the Southern States. Other media correspondents and journalists who work in the South often mention this.

Five years ago a CBS reporter interviewed an actor who had spent two and a half years making a movie in Europe who cited his frustration with Europeans who told him, “Americans have no culture.” They described “America,” meaning the United States of America, as an “industrialized, technocratic, welfare-warfare modern empire” who has “not learned from her past and her past mistakes.” To learn from the past one must have an accurate knowledge of the past, not the revisionist view of a militaristic victor; hence, we celebrate Dixie Days. Dixie Days is both a cultural and educational event staffed by many people who know as much or more about history than 98% of university professors I have worked with.

My Canadian, Mexican, Brazilian, etc. friends remind me that their countries are also “American” and view us as arrogant and racist in thinking we can use the term to refer just to ourselves as “America(n).” In response, I proudly refer to my national background as being a “native Virginian,” especially now that the majority of those living in Virginia were not born in Virginia. Only 44.3% of those living in Virginia were born here. And more than half of those born here were born to immigrants (foreigners) from other States, mostly to politicians and bureaucrats in northern Virginia and to transient military stationed in southeastern Virginia. (Note: In the 17th-20th centuries the word “foreigner” was someone from another State and a “stranger” was someone from another country.)

Europe has thousands of such battle reenactments (including battle reenactments of Mr. Lincoln’s war) between their various countries and cities. It is part of what enriches their culture and keeps “both sides” of their great tragedies remembered, understood and “freely expressed.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is one of the very few groups in the United States who remain intellectually capable and open to an honest investigation of U.S. history and maintain a generous openness to a truly multicultural and diverse sense of community without an overwhelming desire to remake the culture of everyone else. The pressure to conform to a commonly understood “political correctness” is strongest in totalitarian States and so-called democratic countries that require conformity in just about every area of their public and private lives.

The South was noted for its strong sense of tolerance and diversity by well-traveled English and European writers and journalist during the 18th and 19th centuries. During this period, the Deep North (New England) was giving birth to “American Nativism” which developed a political correctness that demonstrated intolerance and hatred for Jews, Roman Catholics, Irish, all non-whites, Southerners, and other selected victims. This followed decades of their lynching Quakers and people who had seizures whom they claimed were witches or devil worshippers. These were not witches but were people only guilty of eating rye bread which during especially damp years which contained a fungus called “ergot” (a base from which LSD may be made). Ergot caused severe seizures and hallucinations. These deep north New Englanders had laws that prevented such people from permanently settling in areas under their control. They shunned, politically disenfranchised and often persecuted or killed others who disagreed with their religio-political notions. This practice stands in dark contrast to the other States who also had a problem with ergot but who did not behave violently toward such victims of the drug.

The same Yankee spirit was later demonstrated by the demanding, dominating and all-controlling Radical Republicans, who gained control of national U.S. politics, developed their Jim Crow laws, laws requiring the segregation of the races, and then forced and enforced these on the former States of the Southern Confederacy during the twelve years (1865-1877) of “Reconstruction” that followed their war to subjugate the Southern States and prevent Southern independence.

The growing distain by the liberal (socialist) media for all things Southern (such as the names of counties, schools, roads, festivals and highways – the use of words like “Dixie” – the flying of Southern national flags or the Christian Southern Cross on the Confederate Battle flags – the wearing of traditional Southern symbols on the clothing of our school children and adults) demonstrates a growing Orwellian totalitarian paranoia rather than the generous sense of liberty and freedom promoted in the original Virginia and U.S. Constitutions written and adopted by our Founding Fathers.

Liberals hostility to traditional orthodox Christianity stems from liberalism itself attaining a position in the U.S. society as a “religion” — a godless one. The liberals, who dominate our courts, our government bureaucracies, our schools, and our media, have now established the state as the religion of our country. The State is now attributed with the authority and power of a divinity in the same manner the Romans considered their emperor and the Egyptians their Pharaohs. They make concerted efforts to keep orthodox Christian voices out of the political, entertainment and social arenas.

Men like Grayson Jennings and his Sons of Confederate Veterans “Edmund Ruffin Fire-eaters” have successfully seceded from the bland malaise of the current political correctness and are willing to look at primary historical sources for themselves and without feeling burdened to reflect the now commonly promoted Marxists views required in U.S. state-funded universities and state controlled “public” schools and by the media.

The most reporters present at this event could do was to roll their eyes, shake their heads, and completely fail to get the point the Dixie Days staff were exhibiting. However, your news article was much less hostile than some may have expected.

Dixie Days music was great and much of it was purist in its presentation even presenting the world’s oldest banjo, owned by Wade Harris of Youngsville, North Carolina who had won the New Album of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, and Single of the Year awarded by Dixie Broadcasting’s Beacon Awards in 2005. On Saturday night Joe Ayers played songs on the fragile old banjo in the same manner that they were played on it during the 1800’s by Wade Harris’ great grandfather who was held as a political prisoner in the Point Lookout Prison.

What a wonderful evening with Wade Harris and Joe Ayers who literally rewrote the history books regarding the development of the banjo in America. His five-volume audio recording series, “Early Banjo Classics,” which covers the period of 1851-1868, is considered by many to be the most comprehensive anthology of early banjo music ever produced. Joe’s rediscovery of mid-nineteenth century banjo instructional books shook up the banjo world and has provided the most accurate depiction of the true sound of early banjo, in particular the down-stroke “Classic Banjo Style” of the Virginia Tidewater (now called “Hampton Roads” by Yankees). This style, deeply rooted in Africa, preceded the more familiar “clawhammer” style of the Appalachian region.

Grayson Jennings was right when he said, “I could draw 10,000 re-enactors and 50,000 spectators for an anniversary re-enactment of Cold Harbor.” What reenactment could be more central to the South and others who study the war than one right here so close to the Confederate capital city of Richmond? Our area could be getting the kind of tourist dollars received by Gettysburg and at the same time perform a valuable educational service.

It is local city, county and State government officials who have no tolerance, no sense of diversity, no accurate knowledge of history and gave Jennings and the Edmund Ruffin SCV Fire-eaters no support in their worthy effort. In this totalitarian structure it is amazing that the clarion voice of the old South and history still speaks and is still being heard.

Tim D. Manning
Executive Director
Virginia Heritage Foundation
Institute for the Study of Virginia History and Government
160 Longbridge Drive
Kernersville, North Carolina 27284-6333
(336) 420-5355
TManning1@triad.rr.com