Though I no longer live there, I suppose I will always be a Son of the South. Where I grew up, a strong sense of solidarity with the Lost Cause of the Confederacy still existed, which to me was more a romantic ideal of what might had been then any desire for Round Two of the conflict. I always felt it to be analogous to the sort of people who support a particular sports team that is always a heavy underdog and spend much time waxing poetically between themselves about close losses. “If only”, these attitudes seemed to say. “If only.” So on at least one level I think I can understand the mentality of the Teabaggers, since their resistance to Progressive reforms is often tied to a profound sense of nostalgia for some golden age long past and likely never to return. The particularly irony, of course, is that this epoch they reference never really existed in the first place.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s decision to denote the month of April as Confederate History Month and the controversy surrounding it reminds me of the political back and forth that raged when my home state of Alabama was contemplating removing the Confederate flag from the top of the Capitol building in Montgomery. Then, as now, many of the same arguments were heard. After years of debate, the flag was at last taken down. South Carolina is the last of the southern states to keep the flag flying, but even so, several other Deep South states incorporate the design into their own state flags, having faced massive popular backlash when they threatened to remove the pattern altogether.