The letter below was written by me to one “Reverend” Joe Darby of South Carolina in response to a column he wrote in February. It elicited an initial response from Mr. Darby in which he made several points. He –
**accused me of hurling insults, something which, according to him, his “very southern mother” always warned him against.
**suggested that the 10th amendment is open to interpretation
**reiterated his position that Confederate personages should not be included in “Patriot’s Point” because they “made war on the United States” instead of defending it
**claimed that he had nothing against our celebrating Southern heritage as long as it was not done with his tax dollars
**suggested I spend more time defending against the misuse of my symbol by hate groups instead of criticizing the NAACP
**said he was “not going back to the plantation…”
My response to his letter included reminders that the South made war on no one, since “all we ask is to be let alone” is a well documented cry of many wartime Southerners, that public law 85-425, passed in 1958 officially declares the Confederate soldier to be an American Veteran, and that the SCV and other organizations do not have a copyright on the Battle Flag and as such cannot prevent its use or misuse by any group or individual. I reminded him that these organizations have repeatedly made public statements decrying the flag’s misuse, and for their efforts they have been scorned and ridiculed by the NAACP and similar organizations. Further, there is nothing to interpret in the 10th Amendment. It says what it says and that’s it.
And as far as the hurling of insults is concerned, I told him that my parents too taught me to mind my manners, but they also taught me not to allow myself to be pushed around. Besides, prominent naacp officials have referred to the flag as “the confederate swastika,” and that organization’s 1991 resolution declares that all “decent people” recognize it as “an odious blight.” According to those words, I am not a "decent" person and perhaps a nazi as well. The insults were hurled a while ago and it wasn’t me that was doing the hurling.
Maybe it was my refusal to give ground, or maybe it was my suggestion that South Carolina have a flag referendum the way Mississippi did in 2001 so that we could all watch the NAACP get its butt kicked again, because his second response to me was rather terse and accused me of having a "closed mind." My final short response was that I was the one advocating “live and let live,” a philosophy that is hardly associated with closed minds.
The point of this story, as well as in having Chuck post the initial letter, is to remind y’all that your history is as good as anyone else’s. You have a right to have it included in the public domain of your state or states. There is room enough for everyone’s history, and there is no good reason why yours needs to be tossed onto the trash heap while temples are erected with public dollars to celebrate someone else’s.
You are not second class citizens. As I told Darby in my final response, "I have no wish to see you go ‘back to the plantation’ as you so colorfully put it, but, I also have no intention of going there myself."
Regarding the recent charge of treason that you leveled against those who fought for the Confederacy:
You must be aware of something in the Constitution as it stood in 1860 that I am unaware of, because as I look at that Constitution, I see no prohibition of secession whatsoever. Instead I see the 10th amendment, which clearly reserves to the states all rights not expressly surrendered by them and all rights not specifically granted to the Federal government. What part of “all rights” confuses you?
And if you are still lost, then perhaps the words of one of “The Founders” and authors of the Constitution might enlighten you, since to gauge whether or not secession was a legal and viable option for the states under the Constitution, we first need to gauge the intent of the men who wrote and framed it:
“The future inhabitants of
I will not spend time trying to argue history with you – we both know that your real motive has nothing to do with making a historical argument. Therefore I will skip the history lecture and get right to the point:
Regardless of what you think of Confederate History, Confederate symbols or Confederates themselves, the people whose ancestors fought for the Confederate States of America and who hold that heritage dear, are tax-paying citizens of South Carolina. They have as much right to the inclusion and display of their history, their symbols, their monuments, into and in the public domain as you do when it comes to your history and those things which you deem important to yourself. They are not second class citizens, and the concept of “inclusion,” a word which you and the NAACP have battered to death over the last 20 years, applies to them as much as it does to you.
Next, allow me to refresh your memory on some recent history, specifically, the history of 40-50 years ago, a time that both you and I are old enough to remember. Back then, a lot of white folks felt that it was unfair to restrict or marginalize others based solely on the color of their skin. Many felt that you and those of your race should be included in the American dream, and that restrictions which impeded the opportunity for you to become all that you could be should be removed.
Our intent was to open up opportunities for you and make it so that you could play the game of life along with the rest of us and indeed, take your place alongside us. However, while we were willing to accept you as our brothers, we did not intend for you to become our masters. We wanted you to be able to sit in the front of the bus if you so chose. We did not, however, intend to relegate ourselves to the back of that bus. We did not intend to trade white supremacy for black supremacy, we did not intend to relegate ourselves to a position where we have to ask your permission to simply be who we are, and we did not intend to replace “government of, by and for the people,” with “government of, by, and for the NAACP.”
A reality check – you do not get to decide for us what we may honor and what we may not honor, what parts of our heritage may be included in the public domain and what parts need to go into a “museum,” or indeed, a closet. You do not get to decide what our symbols and our heritage mean or do not mean. Many of us have told you that our history and its symbols are not intended as a slap in the face to you. If you choose not to believe or accept this, then that is your choice. Just don’t expect us to go away or go sit humbly in a corner.
Your opinion is just that, an opinion and nothing more. It is not law and we are not compelled to yield to it no matter how much you jump up and down and threaten to hold your breath or break your toys. We do not need to ask your permission to be included in the public domain, nor are we under any obligation to assuage your phony and publicly overplayed angst. In fact, your entire act is growing old and tired and we ourselves are weary of it. The question is, when are you going to grow weary of it?
And as a side note, I should point out that the black friends and associates I have had in my life have ever dared lecture me with the same kind of temerity that you display in your public lectures. In fact, they never lectured me at all, despite being aware of my “Confederate” proclivities. They and I have had a very nice arrangement. It’s called “live and let live.” We celebrate together those things that we share, we celebrate separately those things that we do not share, and each respects the other’s choices in these matters. “Live and let live” – I suggest you try it on for size. It beats the hell out of trying to ram your agenda down other peoples’ throats, which, by the way, is something that y’all complained mightily about some 40-50 years ago when other people tried to do it to you, but, which you frequently do now.
In closing, I leave you with one of my dad’s favorite sayings, a saying which I believe you and others like you may profit from – “The world does not revolve around you!”
Remember it, learn it, live it! – because we are not going into a closet to make you happy.
Sons of Confederate Veterans, Associate Member, Camp 3000
Sons of Confederate Veterans, Associate Member, Camp 1506