From Pine View Farm

Myth-Makers: How the South Won the Civil War 0

The North may have won the war, but the South won the peace.

The myth of the nobility of the Lost Cause and of its proponents was part of its winning strategy. The tales of gracious Southern hospitality, of kind masters and happy slaves, were essential to building the myth. Gone with the Wind was the myth-builders’ apotheosis, their master-stroke, myth-making on the grandest scale. Even more corrosively, it was a myth devotedly believed by its proponents in their desire to absolve themselves and their ancestors from the evils they had perpetrated.

I’m sure that my ancestors, many of whom wore the gray and some of whom held slaves, were mostly good people as best they knew how (except for Henry Alexander Wise, who may have been single-handedly the most important individual in convincing Virginia to secede), but Southerners’ romanticizing slave-holders, slavery, and those who fought to perpetuate slavery and “Our Way of Life” must end before the South finds redemption.

A way of life built on blood and torture and rape and theft of labor must be no longer romanticized, no longer admired, no longer remembered with wistful tears nor with misty water-colored memories. It was not romantic when it happened to the sound of whips and the clank of chains; it warrants no wistful tears, no water-colored memories. Until Southerners confront and admit this, their–our–sin will not be purged.

But it’s not going to happen, is it?

Far too many of our countrymen want “those days” back. For sake of economy, we’ll call them “Republicans,” as Nixon’s odious Southern Strategy, by which he expected to entice bigots to support the Republican Party, has come full circle, so that bigots now control the Republican Party.

So long as some of our fellow citizens look wistfully to the Old South as a promised land, America’s original sin of slavery will continue to soil the polity and America’s soul.


If you want to walk back into the myth of genteel racism, try watching Disney’s Song of the South. Except for the cartoon bits, it’s little more than racist propaganda, full of kind masters and smiling happy darkies singing in the fields.

My friend and I watched it a while ago. The “live action” scenes took all the fun out of the cartoons. It was, quite frankly, to gag.

(This post was adapted from an email regarding the worship of Robert E. Lee, which I sent in full “rant mode.” I’ve edited it slightly to remove personal references, but, looking back on it, I find no error in my rant. Robert E. Lee may have been honorable in the sense of adhering to his own personal values, but to support the perpetuation of evil honorably is still to support the perpetuation of evil.)


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