Dr. Paul Gottfried’s speech at the annual Confederate Flag Day commemoration in the historic 1840 North Carolina State Capitol House of Representatives chamber on March 3, 2007 is remarkably prescient and topical for us today.
Much history has passed in the last fourteen years, much of it very damaging and destructive of those Southern and Confederate traditions and inheritance we once cherished and considered normative and part of our lives as Southern folk. We have witnessed in recent years the virtual stripping away of our heritage handed down to us faithfully by our fathers and their fathers, the banning of our revered flags and symbols, the vicious destruction of our monuments, the expulsion of our literature and the rewriting of our history, and the attempt to extinguish our very memory, both publicly and privately in our schools and in the environment in which we live.
It is no exaggeration to say that these efforts by crazed fanatics, enabled and often supported by weak-willed and, even more, weak-minded “conservatives” and many Republicans is a form of cultural genocide. No, not in the literal sense where physical violence is used (although increasingly violence—unrestrained and mostly unpunished by the authorities—is employed). But in a progressive sense, using largely our educational system, our schools and colleges, our entertainment industry, and the media. Mostly we have sat by while this has happened, this gradual infection with a fatal venom which will, if not thwarted, finally destroy its intended target.
How many of us have children or grandchildren…how many of us know friends with children or grandchildren…where those offspring, our progeny, thanks to the imposed environment around us, have no true knowledge of their heritage, or consider it “racist” and bigoted. When history is even taught these days, or viewed on the television screen, the message drilled into them and us is that we must disavow our past. Such noble heroes as Lee, Jackson and Jefferson Davis, once revered by every school boy, not just in the South but throughout the nation, are now labeled “racists” and evil champions of slavery and white supremacy. Their monuments come down in many cases in the most ignominious manner. In Congress the so-called “conservative” political party, the GOP, joins with the rabidly radical Democrats to vote overwhelmingly to re-name all the US Army military forts named for Confederate generals; the memory of those once highly-respected and honorable soldiers is now consigned to the dust bin of history.
And across the South prominent Republicans—think here, for example, of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Lindsey Graham—call for and get the take-down of Confederate symbols. These are our defenders? Give me a break. They are, rather, cowardly enablers.
This rot…this fatal infection…did not happen all it once. No, it was not just Dylann Roof’s senseless and criminal act back in 2015, it was not the mass media effort to turn the Charlottesville incident into “racist violence,” nor was it the media-driven attempt to convert the death of convicted felon and drug abuser George Floyd into some sort of modern saint. Of course, they served as opportunities for the lunatic post-Marxists to tighten the screws and control they have over our defecated society. But the contagion must be traced back to our own ignorance and our own incapacity or unwillingness to see and understand what was happening more than fifty years ago.
When I was in graduate school at the University of Virginia in the early 1970s, I met and knew other grad students there who carried with them the kernel of revolution and anti-Southern hatred. At first it seemed just an academic affair we would debate in some of our graduate courses. Indeed, their views would be considered fairly conservative today.
But many of my former classmates became professors and teachers, some at prestigious universities, and they carried with them that bacillus which continues to metastasize and expand its tentacles. And now their students also teach a new generation, a generation almost completely unhinged and “woke,” of deranged post-Marxists whose fanaticism knows no limits, whose hatred knows no boundaries.
Not to mention Hollywood and the anti-Confederate control of the “conservative movement,” as exemplified by the staunch anti-Confederate animus consistently displayed at Fox News. (Was anyone able to watch Bret Baier’s recent puff piece on President Ulysses Grant? He was, according to Baier, our nation’s greatest
“civil rights” president who stared down those evil Southern racists and, of course, a Republican whom we all should admire.)
Noted author Dr. Anthony Esolen, in a feature article in the November issue of Chronicles magazine [“Hope for America”], distinguishes between hope and optimism, and rightly writes that he is not optimistic for the future of the country, but he continues to have the God-given Virtue of Hope…and that, in the end, will trump all else.
Likewise, as we view our situation and circumstances in the historic South, it is very difficult to be optimistic. Yet, Hope is something else, something vouchsafed to us by our Creator, something that no one can take from us. Only we can despoil or renounce it.
Reading again Dr. Gottfried’s clarion call, his vision, let us then recall our solemn obligations and our duty. Let us recall the words of President Davis in 1873 that “truth crushed to earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again.” But only if we do our part, only if we assume our solemn duty and obligations, in whatever station of life in which we find ourselves.