Learning From the SVC's Mistake
By: Jonathan Harris
As most of you probably know, last week the newly elected Republican governor of the state of Virginia made what shouldn't have been a controversial declaration honoring the month of April as "Confederate History Month." The two previous Democratic governors have withheld from issuing such a decree, but Bob McDonnell has reinstated the practice much to the joy of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Unfortunately, a couple days later found McDonnell backpedaling under heat from "Civil Rights" organizations who castigated him for daring to honor the "racist" defenders of Dixie. Both the Son's of Confederate Veterans and the Southern Legal Resource Center have posted some well thought out responses.
As I believe, and I'm sure many of my readers do too, the South has been the anchor for the United States. Even today it is the last real bastion of conservatism, and without the "Bible Belt," the moral degeneration would melt faster than a snowball headed for hell. The Confederate heritage of the South cannot be ignored. The condition that blacks are in today is a direct result of the way the Yankee conquerors have treated them, the economic condition of the South is only now beginning to recover from Sherman's march over a century ago, and the federal involvement every state has suffered from has its origin in Lincoln's treatment of the South. Our first presidents have come from the state of Virginia, liberty was one on her shores of Yorktown, and lost on at her courthouse of Appomattox - it's her heritage which is under attack today.
Unfortunately, the bedrock of American liberty has almost no one to defend her, save the members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and a few other small Southern organizations. Unfortunately, the SVC is not a political organization, and therefore its membership is not savvy to talking points and action words. The members act as if the U.S. is still living in 1950, a time when both sides of the War Between the States were respected. Today, a typical SVC member possesses a great amount of knowledge concerning battlefields, campaigns, and individuals, but not as much when it comes to the political or social aspects of the wartime South (Frank Conner also points this out in "The South Under Siege.") A lot of knowledge goes a short way when it's not organized properly. And a good stigma will always defeat a lousy dogma.
Brad Bowling, though I'm sure his views are accurate and his intentions pure, could not seem to shake his frustration and lack of coherence while debating liberal hack Roland Martin on Anderson Cooper 360. Martin, though he obviously knows almost nothing about the War for Southern Independence, possesses the high ground. Most folks in America are conditioned like zombies to repeat the mantra, "The South fought for slavery," and, "Abraham Lincoln fought to free the slaves." Martin does a great job with sounds bites staying on point and continually pounding the slavery talking point into the ground as it were. Bowling on the other hand has lots of knowledge, but no way of communicating it within such a narrow time frame. He therefore gives mixes messages confusing probably almost anyone watching who doesn't understand the true causes behind the "Civil War."
My solution for the SVC and every Southern organization is simple- get some talking points and form them into soundbites. We have uphill to climb, so we have to be three times as good at communicating our views. First, we must pick our talking point. In the AC360 debate, I believe Bowling should have picked this to be his thrust: "The Confederate Soldier defended Virginia from a harmful invasion, therefore he should be honoured." As long as that point was being pounded as equally as Martin's "slavery" point, the debate could have been won. Self-defense is the action directly connected to the highest form of inalienable rights - yes, even higher than liberty itself. You can have life without liberty, but you can't have liberty without life. As a distant second I would choose the "liberty" talking point (i.e. the South fought to preserve her liberty) as a refutation of Martin's point that the south cared only about slavery. Unfortunately, in our pluralistic politically correct culture in order for the SVC to survive they must change their ways and become aggressive with their words. Our Confederate ancestors gave their lives for ours. The least we can do is defend their lives by upholding their true memory, even when the governor of Virgina shirks from this responsibility. Unfortunately, in this day and age that means verbally challenging our opponents when provoked.
The video below shows the way the debate I believe should have gone. I've placed myself in Bowling's shoes to see what my talking point idea would look like when introduced. Obviously we can't see Roland's reaction to what potentially could have been said, but that's what the imagination is for!