Sunday, April 11, 2010

Virginia's Confederate History Month Sparks Outrage & Admiration


Reaction to Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R-VA)  proclamation designating April as Confederate History Month in Virginia has created consternation both at home and abroad.  Gov. Hayley Barbour of Mississsippi is on record as follows:
Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), said Virginians know slavery is immoral without being reminded.
"I don't really see what to say about slavery, but anybody that thinks you have to explain to people that slavery is a bad thing--I think that goes without saying," he said

Reached by telephone, Bobby Joe  Bootstrap, a tollbooth attendant on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel carried the thought somewhat further.  "The South has apologized for slavery again and again, but I ain't yet to heard no damned Yankee apologize for burning Atlanta.  It's OK, though.  I've been collecting higher tolls from cars with Yankee plates for years now and I'm using all the money to open a Confederate Heritage Museum at my Uncle Orry's farm." When further pressed, Mr. Bootstrap conceded that he had been able to collect little of historical import.  "Mostly what we gots so far is some surplus automatic weapons, but we done embossed "Deo Vindice" on the buttstock of ever damn one of 'em.  They represents a proud heritage and a proud future to come.  Just you wait 'n' see."

Reaction has not been limited to the American South or even the United States.  Babbette Porcherie, reached at her home in Le Havre, France expressed envy at the Confederates' freedom to celebrate their past without the need to disassociate themselves from their treasonous ancestors.  "I am directly descended from Henri Petain and I'm forced to conceal my pride in my Vichy Ancestry", she said.  "People don't seem to be willing to acknowledge that it was only our collaboration which kept French Culture alive throughout the war.  Sure, we had to transport our Jews, but the trains always returned with foodstuffs.  Had the trains not returned with enough Bratwurst for the German High Command, all of our Andouille would have been confiscated."

Babbette Porcherie keeps her head shaved in solidarity with her Collaborationist forebears but is forced to wear a wig to conceal her sympathies in public.

She went on to say, "It is not widely known, but Gros-Grand-Pere Henri held out against the Bosch well past the point of breaking.  Negotiations were fierce, and Monsieur Petain only capitulated when threatened with the loss of his hat.  Many indignities could be borne, but I think you'd agree that the loss of his hat would have been an unacceptable compromise."


In researching this story, we encountered Le Kim Yat in Fenton, MI.  In spite of dubious documentation, Mr. Le claims direct lineage from Pol Pot.  Mr. Le immigrated with this family to America in 1979 from what was Democratic Kampuchea.  He dreams of one day returning to his homeland and "restoring the Khmer Rouge to the glory it sought to achieve".  "The People were not given adequate time to implement the programs envisioned by our glorious leaders.  Certainly, there were excesses", he continued, "but it takes a firm hand to lead a nation from being a primitive agrarian society to being a modern agrarian paradise."  He went on to say, "America's own leaders are beginning to see the light.  I hear much, these days regarding the tyranny of the 'Educated Elite' in America. Pol Pot was merely ahead of his time, as shall be seen in the fullness of time."

Bobby Joe Bootstrap maintains that there is no racism involved in today's Confederate Heritage movement.  "That's all in the past", he said.  "People of all colors are welcome to stand by my side and take up arms as my brother against continued Northern Despotism.  Why, the Sheriff in our county is a colored man and he drops in to visit with Uncle Orry quite regular like.  Sometimes they sit around and jaw for hours about ammo and such.  He's just hopped up as a bead o' water on a hot skillet waitin' for Uncle Orry to let him know when them surface to air missiles finally show up."

10 comments:

Steve Buchheit said...

Well, they were just trying to jump start the tourist season. The tourist season based mostly on "sex on the beach" and "come see where we all killed each other." The "sex on the beach" part doesn't need any help, but you gotta really sell the "where a whole bunch of people died to protect their right to subjugate other people." And if you keep mentioning the slavery part, nobody is going to spend money on that. At least those who have gotten past the who ass-whopping the north made on the south. The ones who haven't gotten over it, well, there's only so many of them.

Nathan said...

Well, sure. But they're an awfully noisy bunch, aren't they?

Eric said...

Well played, sir!

ben said...

A national study conducted by Mediacurves.com explored opinions of 600 Americans regarding Virginia’s reinstatement of Confederate History Month. Results found that Among political parties, the majority of Republicans (62%) indicated that confederate history should be honored, while the same proportion of Democrats (62%) reported that confederate history should not be honored. In addition, nearly half of the respondents (48%) reported that celebrating Confederate History Month promotes racist ideals.
More results can be seen at http://www.mediacurves.com/NationalMediaFocus/J7798-ConfederateHistoryMonth/Index.cfm

Nathan said...

ben,

I'm not familiar with Mediacurves (other than having looked at your link). I'm a bit ambivalent about polls in general, and even more so in the cases of polls taken "on-site" as Mediacurves methodology seems to indicate. In elections, I don't think people necessarily respond to polls the way they actually end up voting and I dislike the idea that some people are actually influenced by polls when they vote. (This applies both when polls come to conclusions I like and conclusions I don't like.)

Also, if you look at the charts on that link, they seem to indicate that ___% of people felt one way "after video" and then ____% of people felt that way "after video". I assume one of those numbers should have indicated how they felt before the video and then showed how many altered their opinions after seeing the video, but the tables are labeled how they're labeled.

Lastly, I'm not even sure that racism has to be the focus of opposing Confederate History remembrances. That's a hot button issue and people circle the wagons when it's brought up. The fact that secession was an act of treason is enough for me. And the fact that you can surf around and find that many of these "Southern Pride" websites are still promoting secession just sends the point home.

WendyB_09 said...

Well, trust me...the native Southerners will be more than happy to explain to you just exactly why the war never ended.

Now they have a holiday to do it.

Nathan said...

Wendy,

I am a native southerner, born and raised in Jacksonville, Fl (and if you don't believe that's the south, you've never been there). Granted, I don't think my family got to America until the end of the 19th Century, but parts of the family were in Florida almost immediately.

I grew up surrounded by all of that nonsense.

WendyB_09 said...

Nathan, I used to live in Orlando, which at the time was more an annex of Michigan or Ohio.

If we wanted the South we went to Jacksonville. If we wanted Cuban or Jamacian we went to Miami.

And I've now lived in Georgia over half my life. Many years were spent in NW GA and some of my dearest friends to this day are rednecks...they'll be the first to tell you that too! Kinda fun, we just agree to disagree on the political stuff and who won the war!

ben said...

Nathan,
I wanted to respond to some of your comments on our study.
First I would like to say that you were correct, we had mislabeled one of the columns in the chart. This error was caught and corrected last night, but thank you as well for letting us know.
Regarding your skepticism towards our poll results, I would just like to inform you a little bit about our methodology: this study reflects a randomly selected sample that came from a large national panel. This panel is matched to the demographics and characteristics of the US population. With the current sample size used for this study we are operating on a 95% confidence level, which is standard for the research industry. As such, our results are valid, statistically relevant, and generalizable the US population.
Thank you for taking interest to our study and giving such good feedback. If you would like any more information on our studies, it can be found at www.mediacurves.com
Best,
Ben

Nathan said...

ben,

I'm sure you guys are have well conducted and valid polls...within the constraints of polling itself, but I maintain my ambivalence about polls. On the one hand, I think polls influence the "non-polled" public who either want to "vote correctly" or, at least, be on the winning side. You'd be hard=pressed to convince me that there isn't a herd mentality that's quite strong in a significant number of people.

Also, as I mentioned, I think that "on-site" polls can be influenced by the same thing...by the polled individual's wish to get the "right" answer. I don't doubt that you guys are conscientious as all git-out...but that won't cure my ambivalence about polls. Sorry.