Recently another Civil War blogger celebrated the "end of the Sons of Confederate Veterans."
I attempted to contact SCV headquarters to get some hard numbers on how all of the recent uproar has impacted membership activity. I did not get any specific statistics (though I will get those later), but the overall report was what I expected:
"The avalanche of phone calls & emails are quite overwhelming & response to the Friends of the SCV associate membership is exploding. . . . and growing by the minute."To steal a line from Mark Twain, "The reports of the end of the SCV have been greatly exaggerated." Just wishful thinking on the part of some. I do know that the current membership (before the current debate) was over 30,000. And, if you count all the men who just wanted a frameable certificate and were only members for a year or so, that number is estimated to be well over 100,000. Compare those numbers to the membership of another fine heritage organization, the *Sons of Union Veterans which stands at a little over 3000 (the last time I checked) and you get some feel for where the enthusiasm for heritage and connection to the WBTS lies.
As long as the debate rages, and the louder the high priests of political correctness scream about removing monuments, banning books and flags, I think you will see this trend continue. The phenomenon is known as "reaping the whirlwind" or, unintended consequences. The very rebellious and independent spirit that many are saying really had nothing to do with the WBTS is, once again, manifesting itself in the defiant response to political correctness with, "just because you said I can't."
*Though the Williams side of my family hails from New England, I've been unable to find a qualifying ancestor to join the SUV. I am, however, in the process of becoming an associate member.