Southern Pride

I don't know who this is, but what he said and how he said it resonated in me so strong that I can't help but to repeat it.

So at the risk of hearing, 'I told you so' from my Yankee family and 'how could you' from my southern family, here are some of the wisest words I have heard in a long time.

From Chris Young via Facebook on August 13, 2017...

No one would ever mistake me for anything other than Southern. My voice is thicker than morning dew on the honeysuckle. I am a grown man, and I still call my parents, "Mama" and "Daddy." I use "ain't" and "y'all" and "these'uns" without blinking an eye. And I'd rather have grits to eat more than just about anything else.

I'm as proud of my roots as I can be.

But for the life of me, I cannot understand how or why folks in the South continue to perpetuate myths of nobility around a rebellion rooted in sin. When you see folks in a bucolic, historic part of your country walking down the street in some sort of armor, a few with Confederate battle flags and even more with Nazi flags, something isn't right. Something has gone horribly wrong. People just don't arrive at such beliefs when they wake up one morning. And people just don't decide to become a domestic terrorist and plow a car into a crowd.

All I can figure is that folks in my part of the country are enablers. We continue to sustain this idea that the Civil War was somehow a dignified fight over the rights of states, a tacit nod to those who believe in racial superiority and conveniently overlook the fact that the Confederate Constitution conspicuously noted that "the right of property in... slaves shall not be thereby impaired."

Let's be clear: the war had a dignity about it, but not on the South's side: only on the side that set out to preserve the Union and ultimately fought to set other men free.

I cannot think of any side that has ever lost a war anywhere in the world, yet receives a pass to celebrate that defeat as something worthy of merit.

Hitler's Germany ravaged and raped a continent and massacred millions of innocents because their religion, race, disability, orientation, or brains marked them as subhuman or different or a threat. Germany lost. You don't see monuments in courthouse squares and parades to honor their vanquished cause.

Hirohito's Japan ruthlessly marched all over eastern Asia and the Pacific islands. They murdered hundreds of thousands and left millions more lives forever changed. Japan lost. You don't see public ceremonies to honor their glorious dead.

And on it goes, war after war, with every defeated ideology, every half-baked despot, every pretension of moral or racial supremacy, every claim that God was really on their side.

Except the South. We pull our history out of the mothballs and march it through the city streets with astounding regularity and without an ounce of compunction.

I love the South, but I am not foolish to romanticize it as utopian. Enough is enough.

The "Lost Cause" didn't come to be after Lee's surrender. The cause was lost the moment our ancestors bound, bought, and beat our brothers and sisters from another continent.

The "War of Northern Aggression" is a twisted euphemism. The South fired the first shot, both figuratively and literally. And Sherman didn't even start the fire in Atlanta. The Confederates did when they blew up the munitions factory.

At some point, we have to quit trying to pour new wine into brittle, old, decrepit wineskins. Pouring the old wine of hate and division and sanitized history into our 2017 lives does just what Jesus said in Mark: it ruins both. It ruins the lessons we can learn from real history, and it ruins the future we can share together.

To the best of my ability, I will no longer be a part of glorifying something that stands in resolute contradiction to how I should live my life as a Christian, how I should treat my brother and sister, how I should look to the future instead of the past.

And to the extent I have done anything but that, I pray for forgiveness.

If you want to celebrate the South, by all means, do so. I do every day. And I will continue to do so.

Celebrate the fact that our music is far and away better than any part of these United States, from gospel to rock to jazz to country to bluegrass to hip-hop. Celebrate the fact that our food is the envy of the rest of the country... and no, it ain't all fried, thank you. Celebrate our literary greatness, a region that can produce talents as diverse as William Faulkner and Alice Walker.

Celebrate the fact that our autumn weekends are full of religious activities, from football on Fridays and Saturdays to Sundays in the pews with our families. Celebrate our great cities and our beautiful countryside and our resilient people.

But don't celebrate something that never was in the first place and ask me to tolerate or condone it.

I am an American, and I still believe in "E Pluribus Unum."

Mr. Young, I couldn't agree more.