Many on the right like to toss around the term “patriot” and stake claim to the idea that it is their vision of this country that is truly “patriotic.” So we should expect then a significant amount of disdain toward groups or people who celebrate efforts, either historical or contemporary, to unwind the fabric of our nation.
Instead, as we mark the 150 year anniversary of the Civil War the right is once again celebrating secession and applauding the old Confederacy. This celebration of national dis-union includes a “secession ball” in the former slave port of Charleston which will be replicated on a smaller scale in other cities. Montgomery, Alabama plans a parade, and there will even be a mock swearing-in of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederacy.
And, as to be expected, all of this joyous celebration of the Old South neglects to mention the role slavery played in the Civil War. Once again, the revisionists are on the march.
Make no mistake about it, slavery, and the South’s desire (and economic need in many regards) to keep the practice alive was the reason for secession. The Sons of Confederacy claim they want to celebrate “state’s rights” in these events, but the only issue of “state’s rights” that drove the secession debate was the right to buy and sell human beings as chattel. This of course has evolved somewhat to the right to discriminate against citizens on the basis of race, gender, national origin, sexuality, and other non-mutable characteristics.
Some might believe that getting outraged over the “secession ball” and similar celebrations is simply a waste of time, that these events represent a small and fringe element of the right. But when incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) suggests he’d support a constitutional amendment that would allow states to nullify acts of Congress with a 2/3 vote (essentially returning this country to the days of the Articles of Confederation), I’d ask you to think again.
photo courtesy of pablo sanchez via Flickr