An Address given on the Occasion of the Observance of Confederate Flag Day
Raleigh, North Carolina | 03 March 2017

SEVEN SCORE AND SIXTEEN YEARS AGO, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new union, freely chosen and legally adopted by eleven Southern States with the consent of the people, and expressed through their chosen delegates in solemn assembly; and being dedicated to the principles handed down to them from their own fathers as a birth right and as an inheritance, namely:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of the stated purposes for which it was expressly created; that it is the right, indeed, it is the duty, of the people of the states to alter or to abolish the existing order, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them and them alone shall seem the most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.

Beginning with the earliest intercourse between the colonies, through the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, the ratification of the United States Constitution, and compromises and concessions too numerous to count, the social, economic, ideological, and cultural differences between the Northern and Southern sections of the Union—which had always existed—became a situation that could no longer be ignored or “fixed.”

The election of a strictly sectional president in 1860 confirmed what most in the South already knew, namely, that if they wished to preserve the form of government bequeathed to them by their fathers, it could not be with the more numerous and increasingly aggressive Northern political factions who continued to gather more power unto themselves and would eventually render them a politically impotent minority in their own country.

Thus began, one by one, the reclamation of the delegated powers of the several Southern States through the same method employed by their fathers in 1776: Independence.

Despite repeated attempts to negotiate a peaceful and equitable separation, this newly elected sectional president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, would not receive the agents of this new Southern Union and through secret machination and rank duplicity, breached the status quo that had prevented the effusion of blood for over four months, and opted to invade Charleston Harbour, thus occasioning the reduction of Fort Sumter.

In this final act, he inaugurated the so-called “Civil War.” It was a war of aggression and conquest even though it was repeatedly professed that its only purpose was to preserve the union.
[For those who holler “first shot,” let us remember that the “reinforcement” ships were not only trespassing, but came with arms. They did not come for the purpose of protecting the people of Charleston (the purpose for which the fort was erected), but to coerce them. They did not come with an olive branch, but with the implements of war and spent 587 days wooing the wayward city back into their loving embrace with a sustained campaign of bombardment.]

Like the man who beats his wife to maintain their marital union, it was ultimately preserved in form, but not in substance. It became something altogether different—a deformed and grotesque shadow of its former magnificence—and although the people of the South have tried to make the best of it since our fathers laid down their arms and returned to face the devastation of what was left of their county, we have never been a union proper since.

Given the destruction and devastation endured by our Southern fathers (and mothers), it is easy to question the advisability of their pursuit of independence. Perhaps, we think, a better solution could have been pursued. Perhaps, after all, the sections could have worked together for a mutually beneficial solution to the problems they faced as Americans. Perhaps… OR, perhaps they knew their foe better than we do and knew beyond any reasonable doubt that there was no compromise or mutually beneficial solution to be had.

There was a time in the early to mid-20th century when it looked as though the breach would be healed and we could be reconciled—even happily reconciled—to our domestic partnership within the union, based on a national unity that included mutual respect for one-another and a belief in the sincerity of conviction of both sides of the conflict, but that time has passed!

We are now an object of ridicule in our own county and forces have gathered who are determined to efface any lasting vestige of our fathers—and, by implication, our identity as Southerners—from the face of the earth.

What began as a move in the direction of socialism under the guise of social justice and egalitarianism in the 1960s—what we now call “political correctness”—has now reached new levels of audaciousness and absurdity, especially since the great Confederate purge which began at Columbia, South Carolina in the summer of 2015 with the removal of the Confederate Battle flag from the South Carolina Capitol Grounds and has spread without rhyme or reason—from sea to shining sea— ever since.

Sadly, we have moved well beyond banning Confederate Flag sales at Amazon or Walmart or cancelling re-runs of The Dukes of Hazard. There is hardly a day that passes that another Orwellian outrage is committed against the memory of our fathers, and by implication, against us!

We can no longer reason with the spiritual and intellectual heirs of the Yankee foes from which our Confederate fathers tried to separate. They are in the streets, they are violent and unpredictable, and have almost complete control of the educational institutions, entertainment industry, and mainstream news media outlets.

The presidential election of 2016 has only exacerbated the divide that already existed between traditional and progressive factions in these united States. The South, as you know, best represents all that these neo-Yankees despise; what they deplore, what they have every intention to destroy. This is not paranoia.

I fully expect displays such as was recently witnessed in Berkeley, California, to eventually make its way to Dixie unless some drastic changes are realised. Mr. Milo Yinannopoulos, were it not for his political views, would have been welcomed with open arms at Berkeley.

If they are willing to riot, lute, and burn down a city because they disagreed with the views of an open and flamboyant Jewish homosexual with a preference for black lovers, what do you think they would do if you showed up?

How do you think those people would respond to our gathering today; if they were positioned outside of this building?

Better yet, what do you think would happen if we had attempted to have this observance on the campus of any college or university in the State of North Carolina?
Let that sink in.

Berkeley is the future and it is coming. [Note: New Orleans, et al. has since proven this point.] Our only hope is to change course right now and throw the old battleplans in the trash.

It is time to stop pretending that we can scrape, bow, and beg our elected officials with hat in hand and persuade them to stop the cultural genocide that is no longer the exception, but the rule.

They neither want nor need a history lesson.

They want the flags and monuments gone—gone so that they no longer have to deal with them and so they no longer have to deal with us.

They would like nothing better than to have an excuse, any excuse, to give them what they need to finish the job. Eventually they will find one… or make one. You may count on it.

We must begin today to prepare to take the monuments, flags, and other Confederate relics into our own charge—their current caretakers are unworthy of the privilege and cannot be trusted.
There can be no more compromises. From here on, I propose three simple options from which the new cultural imperialists may choose:

(1) They can leave the flags, memorials, and monuments to our fathers alone; or

(2) pay to have them removed to our care; or

(3) they can have their cities blanketed with Confederate Flags as was done in Danville, Virginian, and is beginning to be done all across the South by private hands on private lands.

Why does it matter, folks may ask? Why all the fuss over the dead?

Isn’t it time to pull down the flags, demolish the monuments, and plough up the markers? Isn’t it time to get with the programme? Isn’t it time to go along to get along?

Oh, if it were only that simple…

That fact is that our Southern identity, our family and communal ties, and the symbols of the South stand or fall together.

This is because the symbols of the South do not point to abstract propositions or utopian schemes. They do not represent any silly ism or ology—racism, classism, or sexism, for example—or any ideology that attempts to put the complexities of human life into a tidy little academic box.

The symbols of the South point to things (as opposed to ideas) that are real and enduring.

They remind us that we are a people, not solitary creatures to whom family, faith, and community are incidental or accidental—they are fundamental to who and what we are…

They remind us that we did not spring forth ex nihilo—out of nothing—but are participants in a larger, unfolding human drama that began before we arrived and, God willing, will continue to unfold in its own unique way long after we are gone.

They remind us that while we are not perfect, we can and must press on—our obligations extend beyond the present. We have a duty to preserve and protect the traditions entrusted to our care and the responsibility to see that they are transmitted to future generations.

They remind us that we are descended from men (and women) who did not shrink from hardship, nor shirk responsibility when all seemed to be lost—that material ruin and political subjugation did not rob them of their humanity, but made them better appreciate the things that really matter— kith and kin, blood and soil, hearth stones, head stones, and the faith of their fathers.

They teach us that we can and must endure and overcome our own challenges, whatever they may be, with our dignity and honour intact just as they did. They teach us to be better people. They give us an example to follow.

The sentinels, equestrians, and flags—in many cases at great cost and at great personal sacrifice— were erected to watch over us and help us remember who we are, where we came from, and what we can and should be—both as individuals and as a people.

Most of all—at least today—they remind us that we have a right to exist. That we have a right to be who and what we are and to be so without molestation, apology, or shame.

We are, of course, more than happy to live and let live and want nothing more than to live in peace with our neighbours and those who may not care for our peculiarities, but we are under no obligation to participate in our own destruction, or sit quietly while the memory of our kith and kin are slandered and insulted.

Of course, we are perfectly free to do nothing as well—hide in the shadows; stay in the closet; sell our birth right; to go gently into that dark, dark night …

That could happen. I, for one, do not think it likely.

Why? Because like our fathers, we long to be free!

We cannot help it. It’s in our blood; it’s part of our genetic make-up… It’s who we are and that can’t be changed.

We can try to cover it up, tamp it down, burn it, bury it, have it exorcised, or, if all else fails, give ourselves over with reckless abandonment to the American educational establishment, but sooner or later it will resurface.

It is my deepest hope and most fervent prayer, my dear friends, that it will not be too late when it finally does.

The grey riders are gone, but yet they remain. Asleep in our soil, and alive in our veins. Untouched by fire, untouched by frost, they whisper within us, “Our cause is not lost.” –Unknown

Paul C. Graham

Paul C Graham he holds a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Philosophy from the University of South Carolina. He is past president of the SC Masonic Research Society and the current editor of The Palmetto Partisan, the official journal of the SC Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Mr. Graham is a member of several organizations including The Society of Independent Southern Historians and The William Gilmore Simms Society.

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