Free Speech – 01/12/11

Goodbye to the South

My friends are sure I am crazy, but of course I don’t think so when I say the North should secede from the South.

The South has never forgiven us for abolishing slavery and winning the “War Between the States,” as Southerners call it. South Carolina, which started the whole secession thing in 1860, celebrates secession this month complete with rebel uniforms and Confederate flags. Slavery is not mentioned.

The North has a detached way of not noticing that Southerners make the most noise in national politics. Southerners have led the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate since the Civil War. Several made it to the Presidency. Mason-Dixon border politicians lead Senate Republicans today. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour can’t open his mouth without betraying his old Southern racism and admiration for Good Ol’ Boys City Councils, which led the anti-civil rights fights.

I thought better of presidents Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson than most, but both were crucified by Southern haters. Carter exuded distrust of the Eastern press and Johnson retired partly because of southern militarist opposition to quitting Vietnam. Clinton had problems with his Southern “friends” who thought him too liberated and Gore failed to carry his home state of Tennessee in 2000 because he was not “Southern” enough. It seems clear than if the South cannot send a president who is pure enough, states rights enough, racist enough, or conservative enough, they just don’t want him leading the nation.

It’s true that Northerners are cocky because, after all, they did win the Civil War, and cockiness breeds resentment which may explain, partly, why Southerners retreat to their romantic myths of a comfortable Old South. Young scholars today are publishing books recalling Southern determination to create a literature defining the virtues of the Southern way of life. Not mentioning slavery, of course.

Today, 146 years after the war to preserve the nation, the progressive and cocky North tends to be over-confident that the South will eventually come around, becoming more like us. Southern states will develop individual personalities like Northern states and stop marching in rebellious lockstep on issues important to all of us. It will never happen.

Of course, referring to the lasting divisions between our Northern and Southern cultures, I have no idea what made George W. Bush and friends imagine that they could reconcile such divergent cultures as Texas America and Baghdad Islam.

It will never happen.

Paul R. Cooper

Yellow Springs, Ohio

3 Responses to “Free Speech – 01/12/11” Subscribe

  1. Stephanie Foil January 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    It’s clear that Mr. Cooper hasn’t spend much time in the South or else he’d be hightailing it here to set up residence. Has he ever wondered why so many northerners move here? Perhaps because it’s a better place to live than the northern climes. A friend once described northerners as “pinch faced” because of all their feelings of superiority over the south and thinking they know it all. We in the South know, of course, that when a person has a choice of living here or north of the Mason-Dixon line, the South will win out. And, the “War Between the States” as Mr. Cooper seems to poo-poo, actually WAS a war between the states since the Southern states had seceded and were no longer part of the Union. Had we not seceded, it would have been a civil war, but we had. Thus, it was a War Between the States. If the North wants to secede this time, that’s fine with us. Just don’t hold your breath for us to issue a passport to you when you come to your senses and want to come visit or immigrate here.

  2. J.D. Waldrep January 16, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    Paul,

    As a Southerner I must say that I take exception with your article. Referring to the Civil War down here we jokingly tend to favor the expression “The War of Northern Aggression”. It’s more accurately descriptive than “The War Between the States”.

    You also seem to be hung-up on the issue of slavery as being the only reason for the War. It wasn’t… but it sure made for a greater excuse to rally support than the whole truth. Check into the issues concerning State rights and what actions the Federal government employed to thwart free trade between the Southern states and England. I think you’ll be surprised. What your article reflects is a by-product of revised History. The North won the War, so you got to write the history… it’s just not entirely accurate though.

    By the time the War started, slavery was already on the way out. Less than 4% of the population had slaves and many of those who were slaves had become sharecroppers or tenant farmers and continued to work on the same plantations. If it was so bad, why did they stay? Yes, I know there were factions against abolishing slavery, but they were greatly in the minority.

    There was ironically much support for slavery in the North too. Did you know that the last slave ship captured off the coast of Savannah in 1858 was carrying a manifest of 400+ slaves and flying the pennant for the New York Yacht Club? Their final destination was never ascertained, and the traffickers were determined “not guilty”, but there certainly was plenty of speculation and the resulting outrage was used as a battle cry.

    All in all, slavery was indeed a bad thing. Many back then had already come to that conclusion and had taken the defining steps for it’s dismissal, so please don’t continue to wave it as the sole banner for justifying the War. It was all about States Rights. The Southern States had simply had enough of being bullied around and pushed back… as they were entitled to. That is the one belief that is as much alive today as it was 146 years ago and I hope it never fades. It’s one of the things that cumulatively makes this Country great, despite the past.

    As for the calibre of politicians that have come from the South, there isn’t much that can be said. Many of them have disappointed me tremendously and I will not make apologies for their actions or inactions. But you have equally as many in the North, so let’s not point fingers too quickly please. To require that someone from the South must be pure, state-supportive, racist and conservative enough in order to be effective is absurd. That’s just the nature of Politics.

    • FIN January 20, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

      WOW I use to work with you JD. I always knew that these were your attitudes. States right’s to do what. Buy,sell and trade humans like cattle. The war was sent by God. You can’t see that. Slavery in all it’s form is a mortal Sin. So is racism. See you in church on Sunday JD.

      FIN

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