19 August 2012

Opinion On The Confederacy Is Not Monolithic . . .

even among yankees.

We're reminded, ad nauseum, by a number of pro-Union bloggers and historians that the South's views on how the Confederacy and her symbols should be remembered are not monolithic in the South. It's part of the cabal's dream to mold the South into the "sameness" of the rest of the country. They dislike the South's unique regional culture, her symbols and distinctive dialects, and it's instinctive conservatism. It just doesn't fit with their progressive utopian plans for the future. Noted historian David Blight has expressed this frustration with the South, her symbols, and her conservatism:

Why is the Confederacy, a mere four-year experiment in revolution to preserve a slaveholding society, [sic] still so interesting to so many people . . . Why doesn't the Confederacy just fade away? Is it because we are irresistibly fascinated by catastrophic loss? Or is it something else? Is it because the Confederacy is to this day the greatest conservative resistance to federal authority in American history?

But it's not just Southerners who hold divergent views on the Confederacy's legacy, as well as her symbols. Yankees don't always fit the expected mold either. Case in point: I very recently hosted a young couple at my home for supper. (We'll call them Mr. and Mrs. Yank.) These folks are related to me by marriage. The husband is currently enrolled at Regent University and has one year of law school left. He was born and raised in New York. His wife recently passed the bar exam in New York after obtaining her law degree from the University of Virginia. She's originally from South Korea and wants to work in immigration law - her keenest interest is in working in a non-profit combating human trafficking. Her parents are missionaries.

All in all, we had about 8 people gathered around our supper table and I had the opportunity to sit next to Mr. and Mrs. Yank during the meal and we enjoyed a robust conversation about Virginia history and the law (As a former Virginia Magistrate, I was delighted to share some of my knowledge and experiences and they were quite interested in listening.) We discussed the conservative nature of Virginia law and legal customs and the conversation drifted into what Mr. Yank noted as some of the dramatic changes in federal and state relations after 1865 - and, no, we were not focusing on slavery. Naturally, we began discussing the WBTS. In my parlor, I have a number of prints whose subject matter is Civil War related - some portraits of Lee, Jackson, etc. Some of these feature the Confederate flag. Mr. and Mrs. Yank complimented me on my choice of prints during the course of our stimulating and delightful conversation.

One of my other relatives had informed the couple of my passion for relic hunting and metal detecting and they both expressed a desire to come into my basement office to see some of my collection. Of course, I obliged. As I was showing them some of the various items I've found near Virginia battlefields and on Shenandoah Valley farms, we again started discussing the WBTS and Mr. Yank said, as part of that discussion,

my sympathies lie with the political principles for which the Confederacy was fighting.

I was a bit taken aback but as I glanced at his wife, who is not yet an American citizen, she was smiling broadly and nodding approvingly. My assumptions about both of them were duly shattered. It was a wonderful experience.


13thBama said...

"Opinion On The Confederacy Is Not Monolithic . . ."

Right. It is settled science :D

Lindsay said...

Fascinating for sure...and good to know that some people are still open-minded. My limited experience with people from outside the South (namely the North) is quite the opposite. Your family sounds delightful.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Lindsay.