by Nathan Lee
To dwell on the rape, murder, and pillaging of the South in the 1860s is to deny half of Southern history. The resiliency of Southern culture might just be the more important story. As a matter of fact, it is.
It is difficult, if not virtually impossible, to separate Southern heritage from sorrow. There are visible reminders of our Confederacy are everywhere. The emotional scars of Reconstruction have been passed down through generations of Southerners with the greatest of ease. So inseparable have been sadness and Southern history that I am convinced many Southerners choose not to value their heritage simply because it is depressive.
In actuality, we should attempt the impossible: we should separate Southern heritage from its sorrowful aura. There is no need to view our history as a drawn out tragedy: on the contrary, we are a people of survival.
When the last Confederate officer took his troops home in 1865, it marked the beginning of our 140-year period of mourning. This somber wake has continued, largely unabated, to the present day.
I simply refuse. I see no reason to mourn for the past, mainly because we are still here.
The Southern way of life survived. We are still here, waving our battle flags in the face of stuffy aristocrats who don’t understand the Constitution. We are still here, loudly fighting for our right to bear arms. We are still here, consistently foiling the socialist whims of the coastal elites. Our ancestors survived the genocide, and passed down the ideals that so threatened Washington some 140 years ago. The South, as a region, stands as the conscience of a nation gone morally awry.
Yes, I said genocide. The War Between the States was not a glorified field exercise between two armies of men. It was total war against a civilian population. I agree that the South was not victimized to the same degree that the Holocaust brutalized the Jewish nation or that Communism wiped tens of millions off of Europe and Asia behind the Iron Curtain. However, when non-strategic towns are pillaged and burnt to the ground and civilians are summarily executed, I can’t call it anything other than genocide.
Washington sought to break our ancestors to the degree that anything Confederate would be a black mark for future generations. The callous few northern thinkers who actually knew what the War was really about were hoping that ideas of self-government would die in the flames of southern homes. In their brave new world of pious humanism, they thought that they could lay John Calvin, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert E. Lee all to rest with one foul swoop.
It didn’t work.
The South survives. Christian campuses in the South such as Bryan College and Patrick Henry College teach unreconstructed, unrevised American history. The South has once again become a political bloc, and has derailed several liberal attempts for the Presidency. Now that the South has very little visible racial tension, the northern elites have been left without their sense of cultural superiority, leaving them to instead criticize things like the Southern economy (a condition that was created, in large part, to northern Reconstruction).
Out of the ashes of genocide, our people have risen vibrantly. With each new Southron we create, the flag of liberty moves ever closer to Washington’s gates. And that, to me, was the real enemy of the Yankees all along.