Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Secession Day!

Photo detail

Actually, it was yesterday, but why quibble? This is the time of year when all real Americans come together to celebrate the folks who went to war against the United States largely to preserve the institution of slavery!

Charleston, SC is the hub of secession celebrating activity. Oh, wait, did I say celebrating? No, of course they aren't really celebrating!
(from the Charleston Post & Courier)
The organizers of the South Carolina Secession Gala — the biggest event of the day — said they were merely remembering history, not celebrating the controversial aspects of the Civil War and the role of slavery in the conflict.

Right, because everyone knows that there is nothing celebratory about a gala! I still tear up a little when I remember my grandfather's funeral gala. Oh, the dancing, the music, the ball gowns. . . so somber.

Although, this account from the Guardian of London seems to indicate that maybe there might have been just a teensy bit of celebration:

More than 600,000 men lost their lives during four years of carnage. In South Carolina, almost a quarter of the men who fought died.
For the 300 or so who assembled for the "secession ball", the tone was one of pride and resilience rather than regret. The guests were exclusively white; the only black people present were security guards wearing uniforms in navy blue, the colour of the union army.
The evening began with a theatrical re-enactment of the signing that culminated in a rousing oration. Those southerners who died did so, the narrator said "not to preserve the institution of slavery, not for glory or riches or honour, but for freedom alone. The spirit of the south still stands!"
"Yeah!" "All right!" came shouts from the audience. Then the auditorium stood in unison to sing Dixie, the anthem of the south. "Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land."

Michael Givens, commander in chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said the Secession Gala honored the bravery and resolve of people willing to defend their homes, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported.
"These people are to be honored, whether you agree with their politics or not," Givens said. "We're very happy that there's no slavery today. If there's one thing we can celebrate, we can celebrate the demise of that dark part of our history -- that there is no slavery in America."

Yes, let's celebrate that. Let's celebrate the end of slavery in America, on this the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation!  Oh, but wait! This isn't that anniversary! This is the anniversary of secession! The day that the people of the Confederate States decided to risk their lives, limbs and fortunes in order to KEEP slavery! I got a little mixed up there. If there's one thing we can celebrate, it's that there is no more slavery. If there are two things, I would think we could celebrate the end of slavery and, um, slavery!

. . . one spokesman called the secession movement in S.C. “a demonstration of freedom” and denied that secession had anything to do with slavery. 
Just like the World Series has nothing to do with baseball.
Of course, the Declarations of Secession would seem to disagree with that.

From South Carolina's:
. . . an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations
. . .the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals
. . . A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. 
 From Georgia's:

For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery.
 . . . We had acquired a large territory by successful war with Mexico; Congress had to govern it; how, in relation to slavery, was the question then demanding solution. This state of facts gave form and shape to the anti-slavery sentiment throughout the North and the conflict began. Northern anti-slavery men of all parties asserted the right to exclude slavery from the territory by Congressional legislation
 From Mississippi's:
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. . . and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union

 And of course, Texas:
In all the non-slave-holding States. . . the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color-- a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States.
Because when there's a who can be the biggest ass contest, always bet on Texas! ( I know there are many wonderful Texans - Jim Hightower, The late great Molly Ivins, Blueberry, etc.)

Aaaaaanyway, the driving force behind the treason day parties seems to be the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who are just a swell bunch of guys. Really, just, what a fun group!

The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the Second American Revolution
Liberty, freedom, slavery. . . hmmm. One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong. Come on, you know the words, sing along!

Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preserving the history and legacy of these heroes, so future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause.

If by "heroes" you mean "traitors" and by "understand the motives"  you mean "pretend that slavery had nothing to do with it," then yeah. 

If you are interested in perpetuating the ideals that motivated your Confederate ancestor,[racism] the SCV needs you. The memory and reputation of the Confederate soldier, as well as the motives for his suffering and sacrifice, are being consciously distorted by some [mainly us] in an attempt to alter history. 
Let's give one of these fine gentlemen the last word:

Mark Simpson, commander of the South Carolina branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which sponsored the ball, said the line that the war was fought over slavery was spin, used by detractors of the south to discredit them. "Slavery was an issue, yes, but only because it was the economic lifeblood of the south."

Wow. Just, wow.