Tuesday, February 03, 2009
SOUTHERN NATIONAL CONGRESS
REPORT FROM THE CHAIRMAN
February 2, 2009
To the SNC Family:
Warm greetings in a cold season from Tom Moore.
With this message I’m inaugurating a regular monthly Report from the Chairman, providing updates on the SNC’s progress and commentary on developments that relate to our important mission. I hope you’ll find it useful as you continue working with your State Delegations and fellow Southerners to build a credible, authoritative, and legitimate forum to defend the interests of the Southern States and People.
UPDATE AND PROGRESS REPORT
While it may not seem this way unless you’ve actually been involved in one of the ongoing projects and committees, we have not been idle since December 7. Far from it. Here are the major projects and initiatives we’ve been working on.
Remonstrances and Petitions for a Redress of Grievances
The Remonstrances have been sent to all State Delegations, twice, in fact, just to make sure. But if any State Chairmen have not received them, please let me know and I’ll make sure you get them. You should have the text file version and the beautiful ‘typeset’ version rendered by Collin Houseal. The reaction I’ve received, both as to content and appearance, has been uniformly favourable. And even on those points where correspondents have disagreed with our positions, we have been credited with a mature and thoughtful effort. Even in cases of dissent, our resolutions have stimulated thought and debate and demonstrated our seriousness of purpose.
State Delegations are responsible for sending the Remonstrances to your own US Congressional Delegations and State and local officials you deem appropriate; likewise any local media you have access to. “Headquarters” will send them to the President and other US Government officials. And yes, I know, I know. Few if any of these wretches are likely to pay attention to them, although we mustn’t rule it out altogether. The point is that we have tried; that we are exhausting all peaceful remedies in the exercise of our citizenship responsibilities. If the politicians who are supposed to be accountable to us the ci tizen, voter, and taxpayer refuse to heed our petitions, then the moral responsibility lies on them for whatever outcomes follow.
The ad hoc Virtual Congress (VC) Committee, composed of Mike Crane (GA), Doc Smith (TN), Jason Waggoner (TX), Paul Vaughn (TN), and Terry Compton (VA), have been working diligently since December to create a secure, online forum in which the Congress can continue to operate – debate and vote on measures – just as if we were in actual session, except that Delegates will be at their keyboards instead of in an assembly hall. The VC team has conducted several tests of the various components, and Committee Chairman Mike Crane predicts we will be ready to launch it sometime in February.
This is an extremely important initiative for the SNC. It will allow us to maintain our momentum, which would be problematical if we were limited to one physical session per year. It will allow us to speak authoritatively on behalf of the Southern States and People in “real time,” responding to the major events that are unfolding around us. Concurrently, it will provide occasions for news stories, allowing us to build our visibility and credibility in the Southern community. We owe a great debt of thanks to Mike Crane and his VC team for applying their highly specialized talents and skills so assiduously. Look for an announcement sometime in February, and for guidance on how to participate if you’re a Delegate.
Information Technology (IT) Committee
The VC Committee has been so successful – or so it appears; we won’t know for sure until we launch – that I asked Mike Crane and his VC team to convert to a standing IT Committee once the Virtual Congress is operational. This effort will rely on the same talent that built the VC, plus Collin Houseal (AR). Their mission is to look at all our IT needs and bring about a comprehensive IT program that gives us the maximum efficiency and effectiveness. For example, one initiative is expanding our e-mail address list (in essence, our membership). After roughly 120 days of sending out invitations, Mike has doubled the size of our confirmed List. This ongoing process is producing a growth in Southerners interested in the SNC in some fashion by about 18% per month. Again, many thanks to the IT Committee for this vital work.
And though this is not, strictly speaking, an IT Committee function, Doc Smith has organized a follow-up contact effort for all those who queried the website recently or applied to become a Delegate. This is an interim measure until the IT Committee perfects an automated response. My deepest thanks to Doc for this extra but vital effort.
Jonathan Ingram (GA) has kindly agreed to serve as Chairman of the Media Committee. If you were at the First Congress, you’ll recall that the Media Committee is one of two standing committees created under the By-Laws, attesting to its importance. (The other is the Finance Committee). Terry Compton will assist, as will Kirkpatrick Sale (SC). But I’m sure Jonathan can use additional volunteers for this essential mission of seeking new and creative ways to tell our story. If you’d like to serve, please let him know, or contact me via e-mail and I’ll pass your name on to him. Thanks to Jonathan and his media team.
Finance and Banking
On January 16 I met with Dr. John Cook (SC), Finance Committee Chairman, in Aiken, SC to discuss the all-important task of raising funds, and I spoke at another event in Columbia, SC where some funds were actually pledged. John has taken on perhaps the hardest and most critical mission of all and will need all our help. We are all in his debt for assuming this responsibility. I urge y’all with relevant experience to volunteer to join him and his other Committee members, including Peter Gemma (FL) and Treasurer Dennis Blanton (SC) to help raise funds. Our expenses are not enormous, but we do have some recurring costs and they will grow as the SNC continues to grow.
Treasurer Dennis Blanton is moving forward to set up an SNC bank account, presumably done by the time you read this. We’re now in position to receive and disburse funds.
Vice Chairman Mark Thomey (LA) has agreed to put his considerable management and organisational skills to work on our behalf to plan the next actual Congress in the fall of 2009. Cordial thanks to Mark and to the Site Selection Committee, Steve Betsill (AL), George Crockett (NC), Mike Hicks (VA), and Pam Baker (VA). Initially it looked like the Site Selection folks had settled on Guntersville State Park and Resort in northeast Alabama. Our Board of Governors has approved that choice. But subsequently new information has emerged that caused the Site Selection team to re-visit this decision.
In any case, there does appear to be a consensus to hold the next event in Alabama. Mark Thomey also recommends that we aim at an earlier date than December (as in 2008) so that we avoid conflicting with folks’ Thanksgiving and Christmas plans.
More later; stay tuned.
‘WE ARE THE SEED CORN.’
I deeply appreciate all the e-mails that followed the First Congress. Y’all are a high-spirited as well as public-spirited bunch of folks, and I’m always glad to hear from you, especially with news or media links to events that have a bearing on our work in the SNC. (email@example.com).
Many of you have asked me to post the opening remarks at Kanuga, the “Chairman’s Charge to the Delegates.” I’m chagrined to report that the Charge was not written down. In fact, I almost never speak from a prepared text. But the issues I raised are of vital importance not just to us in the SNC, but to all Southerners. Consequently, I feel I owe y’all a written commentary that can be posted on the SNC website. I decided to expand, illustrate, and better support these themes in what will be in effect a Second SNC Manifesto called “Remonstrance, Resistance, and Restoration.” In this manifesto I’m developing the ideas on the sources of legitimacy and moral authority, the exercise of individual and collective sovereignty, the doctrine of the interposition of the middle magistrate; moral and lawful (and Biblical) resistance to tyranny, and the restoration of liberty and justice in a society that has fallen under tyranny. This is a major undertaking, and so far the pure management responsibilities of the Chairman have taken precedence. This is why I’m so grateful to our fine Vice Chairman and leaders of the various key committees for assuming much of this burden, both now and in the future. Please be patient with me. When I said from the podium in Hendersonville that my flaws and deficiencies weigh heavily upon me, I spoke only the truth.
In that connection, here’s the kind of leadership that I hope all of us in SNC positions can provide – servant leadership. A vignette that says it all, far better than I ever could, came to me on Robert E. Lee’s birthday, which we just celebrated on January 19. It’s my practice to read something about Lee on his day, and I thought I was intimately acquainted with the details of his life. But here’s something new I learned (or had forgotten) from Douglas Southall Freeman’s splendid biography.
As you may recall, after the War Lee accepted the presidency of struggling Washington College in Lexington, VA. Like all other Southern institutions, it was impoverished by four years of conflict and enemy depredation. Lee took the job (though he could have earned far more elsewhere) because he believed his duty was to help re-build the shattered country by educating its young men. The most idolized man in the South, he often hosted overnight visitors – prominent businessmen, civic leaders, and former Confederate officers. These unthinking gentlemen, after arriving through Lexington’s unpaved and muddy streets, would often leave their footwear outside the bedroom door to be cleaned, as had been the custom in pre-War days when servants were plentiful and hospitality was expansive. But the Lee family lived a simple life and had no servants. Quietly, without a word, the South’s greatest hero would gather up the muddy boots after his guests had retired, clean them thoroughly, and replace them by the door.
I can think of no conduct that displays the nobility of the man better than this. And I can think of no better example of servant leadership that Robert E. Lee. This is the spirit we need to cultivate in ourselves if we are to earn the respect and trust of the Southern people. It’s not enough just to be right and to speak truthfully about current affairs, important as that is. Many of our fellow Southerners, people all around us and maybe even some of us in the SNC, are suffering – from foreclosures, layoffs, loss of value in retirement pensions. Many of our Kentucky brethren are without electricity during an unprecedented ice storm. We need to pray for them in particular, and we need to show genuine concern for those in our community who are struggling and hurting. Maybe this is trite, but it’s true: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If we are to lead our People through the dark times ahead, we have to be willing to clean their muddy boots.
For more information, SouthernNationalCongress.org