How many times have we seen movies about the old West in which a fire is being fought by folks carrying water to the conflagration in everything from drinking cups to water buckets? And we all know that the result of such efforts were blackened remains and a lot of tired, dirty, frustrated people. Indeed, it wasn’t until we had the ability to bring large quantities of water to the scene of the fire that there was any hope that lives would be saved and property spared the flames.
Today there are continual outbreaks—large and small—of heritage firestorms and, like our ancestors, those of us trying to douse the flames of cultural genocide are running to and fro attempting to pour a little water on endless verbal, print and internet infernos with, of course, little or no success. Once in a while we put out a few flames of falsehood, but more often than not, the victory goes to the establishment arsonists. Yet, despite our poor record of success, we continue to fight on in ways that have proven inefficient at best and ruinous at worst. Clearly, another strategy is required before the cultural conflagration reaches a point at which Southern heritage is consumed completely.
Having given the matter some considerable thought, I decided to look at the means of communication—their strengths and weaknesses—to determine which one constituted the biggest return on our investment of time, effort and money. All had their strengths and all had their weaknesses as illustrated below:
1. E-mail pro: e-mail has the power of ease and ubiquity. It can be created fairly easily and sent in a relatively short period of time to a number of contact points. This is not only useful for a single incident but it essential when there are multiple issues occurring in diverse places.
E-mail con: e-mails are easily diverted into spam folders rendering them useless. Once an individual’s name becomes known, the usefulness of that individual’s e-mail—aside from contacting and informing allies—is pretty much over. E-mails need to be succinct. Lengthy e-mails soon lose the interest of the reader and their value is lost. E-mails require accurate contact information. Notifications of “delivery failure” are annoying in the extreme.
2. Letters pro: “snail mail” is always a good way to deal with establishment entities such as government, corporations, agencies and organizations. They permit a more detailed rendering of one’s viewpoint including quotes and source material and have the benefit of being culturally acceptable. Often letter writers are cut more slack than the senders of e-mails.
Letters con: letters are useless when dealing with internet issues. Even where they are appropriate, they are time consuming and require the effort and cost of creating, printing and mailing as many as are required. If one is in the middle of three or four heritage assaults, that can be a daunting task so many folks limit themselves to one problem or simply walk away. Sadly, two of the least available resources in the heritage struggle are patience and perseverance.
3. Petitions: petitions are easy to do in today’s internet world. Sadly, however, their usefulness is limited not the least because they are “easy to do.” If the cause for which you are petitioning is unpopular, the recipient(s) of the petition are liable to count the number of petitions rather than the number of signatories on each petition. This is what happened in Lexington in which there were two petitions given equal importance though one had less than 350 signature and the other hand almost 2,000! Because as noted, it is easy to create and forward a petition (as opposed to the old days when you had to go door to door), much of the value of this particular method has been lost as a means of influencing policy and action.
4. Telephone calls: phone calls are always a good thing simply because a voice on the phone is harder to ignore than a piece of paper or an e-mail. On the other hand, most government and corporate agencies have “gatekeepers” hired to take phone calls, listen to complaints and say something soothing—“…there, there!”—and then hang up. Whether intended recipient is ever informed is questionable and, even so, whether your call had any influence is even more questionable. Furthermore, making phone calls can be far more inconvenient than sending letters and e-mails. If it is a hot topic, one’s chance of getting through are small to none—unless one is lucky. And in fact, most of us don’t have the time to spend trying to get through to someone only to find out that he’s out to lunch or gone home!
5. The Facsimile Transmission (FAX) pro: of all the means of communication available, the FAX is the most useful. Like the e-mail it is a rapid means of communication. However, unlike an e-mail, the FAX is a physical sheet of paper which cannot just be e-filed in some spam folder. And like the letter, it can be read by the person to whom it is addressed as well as by others who may have an interest in the matter under discussion. Frankly, it is very hard to present a credible argument that a FAX has been “lost.” Finally, a thousand e-mails may be re-routed or crash an inbox and a thousand letters will probably not be written much less sent—but a thousand FAXes will come through a FAX machine as long as there is paper and ink available to print them out.
The FAX con: the lack of universal FAX capability is the greatest limitation to this excellent method of communication. Very few individuals have FAX capability and even if it is part of their computer system, not everyone knows how to use it. If this limitation could be overcome, then certainly Facsimile Transmission (FAX) has the biggest bang for the heritage buck available.
Having considered the above and determined that the FAX is probably the most useful tool in communicating about heritage matters, I remembered that I have received offers from various faxing sites to send FAXes (especially to Congress) on many different issues. Usually there is a (nominal) fee involved. Given that the site includes everything necessary to send the FAX including recipient information, a prepared text on the subject offered for the convenience of the user and the electronic deliverance of the message, the charge is more than acceptable. Sadly, I have not seen any such site address our issues, a matter which I find most unfortunate. Therefore, the best way to proceed would be to create such a site for our use. As I looked around for one that might serve at least as an example for us if we were to go forward and create such a thing, I found NumbersUSA which is involved with immigration issues. The site’s simplicity and low cost makes it perfect as a blueprint for a Southern Heritage FAX site. I recommend that everyone go to the site and see what is being offered there and consider the consequences of such a site with our issues being offered for comment.
I firmly believe that the Southern heritage movement—from the SCV and the UDC to the League of the South and the myriad other individuals and groups—should form a means of disseminating FAXes to any and every site, group, business, agency and government involved in an assault upon Southern culture or who have openly supported same. Such an instrument would strengthen our hand by permitting us to respond quickly whenever and wherever a response is required and in a way that I believe to be far superior to the other ways listed above. I don’t know how NumbersUSA was (is) set up or what it costs to set up and maintain but the fact that it can be supported by donations rather than fees seems to indicate reasonable maintenance. Surely someone familiar with such technologies can find out what is needful and if we all work together, I cannot imagine failure. I also cannot imagine a better way of ending our impotence in addressing cultural brushfires (individual cups and buckets) than by setting up a real “heritage fire department” which enables us to bring a lot more of the water of facts and truth to the flames of mendacity and iniquity.
SWR & SHNV ©1994-2011