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Look Away, Dixieland

Tom Degan: Listening to some of them defending the the secession ball was amusing, to say the least. In their minds, the War Between the States had not a thing to do with human bondage. It was all about "states rights". Oh, brother!

States Rights, Slavery and the South Carolina Secession Ball

If you happened to find yourself in and around South Carolina on Monday night, you might have been able to catch the "Secession Ball". This was a little shindig that was organized in order to "celebrate" the 150th anniversary of the South's decision to secede from the union - a fateful decision to be sure. The result was the bloodiest war in American history. When the dust finally settled, an estimated one million people - soldiers and civilians - lay dead. Quite naturally this "celebration" caused many a jaw to drop around this once-great nation. The NAACP, as you can imagine, isn't particularly happy. Neither is Jesse Jackson. And poor old Al Sharpton is positively apoplectic!

Why is anyone surprised by all of this? Sure, if it were happening in any other state (with the exceptions of Texas and Mississippi, of course) it would be outrageous. But, folks, this is South Carolina we're talking about here - a place where your average voter in any Republican primary has the IQ of a half-eaten box of Milk Duds. Just look at the quality of representatives they have sent to Washington throughout their weird and twisted history.

Once in a blue moon they'll produce a gem like Jim Clyburn, but all-in-all their record is pretty grim. Remember Strom Thurmond?

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis

His 1948 third-party presidential campaign was a revolt against Harry Truman's insistence that the Democratic Convention contain a Civil Rights plank. And don't forget that George W. Bush became president ONLY because his campaign was able to convince enough of the idiots in that state that John McCain had an illegitimate black child. Hey! Racism is part of their cultural heritage. Cut these silly people some slack, alright?

Listening to some of them defending the the secession ball was amusing, to say the least. In their minds, the War Between the States had not a thing to do with human bondage. It was all about "states rights". Oh, brother! A century and a half later and the descendants of the Confederacy are still in serious denial. They're also trying to get us to swallow the notion that it's not necessarily a celebration of "secession" - so to speak. It's a celebration of (get this) "courage". The men who took it upon themselves to dissolve the union in 1861 were brave men with the courage of their convictions. They believed in their hearts that they were doing right! Yikes!

I'm aware that comparing the rebels of dear ol' Dixie to the Nazis is akin to comparing apples to rotten mangoes, but this is just too irresistible to pass up:

Well, yeah, the confederates of yore had the "courage of their convictions" alright - but so did the Nazis. You see, when Hitler and his gang turned the European continent into a mass grave seventy years ago, they believed they were doing a wonderful thing for humanity. They also believed that planetary peace and love would happen only when every Jew on the face of the earth was obliterated. Can you even imagine a world without Jack Benny? Not me!

The rebels had the "courage of their convictions"? No question about it. There's only one little problem with that argument: Their "convictions" were atrocious. HELLO???

Who is the worst traitor in American history?

It is not Barbara Streisand; nor is it George Soros. It isn't Norman Lear, and it isn't the Kennedy family. The answer to this question is not "Dan Rather", and it's not "Keith Olbermann" - and it definitely isn't "Benedict Arnold" (That's too easy).

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The worst traitor in American history was a man by the name of Jefferson Finis Davis.

Think about it! Here was a guy who raised an army of millions in order to destroy the United States of America. It doesn't get more treasonous than that, does it? States rights? Bullshit! It was all in the name of White Supremacy. This jerk actually believed that he and his fellow owners of property had the "God-given right" to hold human beings as cattle. His were not only sins against his country, they were sins against the human race. When it comes to pure treason, they don't get much worse than old Jeff Davis - although Barbara Streisand is a close second. That gal's an absolute rascal.

Some nameless jackass once declared, "The South shall rise again." What he should have said was, "The South needs to wake the hell up!" A little less than a year from now will mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War Two. Call it a hunch on my part, but I seriously doubt there will be much whooping it up in Munich next December the seventh. I don't imagine that there will be a heck of a lot of partying in Tokyo either for that matter.

Ed Degan

Lt. Edward J. Degan, Jr.

Oh, I know that there will be historical observations on the part of the German and Japanese people, but I would expect that those observations will be somber and subdued. I doubt very much that some Hitler impersonator (Do such people really exist?) will be giving a recitation of der Fuhrer's speech to the Reichstag, declaring war on the United States. And I really don't think that there will be thousands lined up, dressed in period costumes, doing a reenactment of the Battle of the Bulge. As a nephew of a man who was killed in that incident (Lt. Edward J. Degan, Jr.) I imagine that that would offend me somewhat. But I needn't worry. The German people figured out a long time ago that embracing a lost and evil cause is not very good form. Honestly, you just gotta love them Gerrys. God bless 'em!

And make no mistake about it. The Confederate revolution of the 1860s was about as evil a cause as any army ever marched for. I guess it's wishful thinking to hope that the sons and daughters of the confederacy will take a cue from the Germans and tone things down just a tad, but that's probably not going to happen. the fact that these celebrations offend almost all African Americans seems not to bother them in the least. That's the most disturbing thing about this. I wonder how it makes African American children in South Carolina feel that these dopey, bloated honkies are commemorating a cause that was born of the perceived "inferiority" of their ancestors? If I were a black kid it wouldn't make me feel very good. Robert Plant once sang, "It makes me wonder." It sure does.

It really doesn't matter in the long run I suppose. They're going to do what they want to do - Yankee perceptions be damned. Fine. Let them celebrate "the glorious dead" that died for a not-too-glorious cause. Let them have their stupid ball and be done with it. They will look almost as foolish in the pages of history as their antecedents do. Look away, Dixieland.

SUGGESTED READING: With Malice Toward None, by Stephen B. Oates. A reviewer once referred to this excellent book as the finest one-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln ever written. I couldn't agree more.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Did you have the chance to observe the moon's eclipse early this morning? Just beautiful!

Let’s all help Kitty Bruce make this dream a reality.

The Rant

Tom Degan is a 51-year-old video artist who in 2006 became so thoroughly disgusted at the state of America’s national political dialogue, he decided to take time off to become a freaking civics teacher.