The Confederate Battle Flag – The Struggle for Historical Truth

Confederate Battle FlagRS

“The widow’s moan,
the orphan’s wail,

Come round thee;
but in Truth be strong!

Eternal Right
though all else fail,

Can never be
made wrong.”

—from a poem, “Southern Iliad” by British writer P.S. Worley, presented to Robert E. Lee, 1867

Anyone with a high regard for truth and the study of history has to be thoroughly discouraged, when truth is shouted down by ignorance. The discouragement is especially painful, when much of the ignorance is driven by malicious and self-serving distortions of history. Historical distortions, political lies, and bullying are the daily bread of cultural Marxism, and it is deeply grieving to see them advance to the point of destroying a people and all that is true and honorable in their government and traditions.

The South Carolina Legislature’s acquiescence to removing the Confederate Battle Flag from its position honoring Confederate dead was not a triumph of social or racial healing; it was a triumph of historical ignorance, spineless political correctness, big corporate political donations, and broken promises to the people of South Carolina. Who outside of a madhouse could believe that injuring the honor of Confederate dead, the courageous and beloved forbearers of many thousands of South Carolinians, would cause anything but moral dismay, just resentment, and strife?

It is particularly dismaying to see that Governor Nikki Haley’s argument that taking down the flag would bring racial healing has actually resulted in countless vengeance-driven political proposals to erase every trace of the Confederacy all over the South, including blasting the images of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis off Stone Mountain in Georgia, disinterring the bodies of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife from their Memphis graves, removing or tearing down scores of Confederate monuments and memorials, and renaming scores of buildings and schools, and perhaps hundreds of streets. Whatever this reflects; it is not healing. It seems rather the arrogant and vengeful spirit of Lamech, descendent of Cain, whose boast is recorded in Genesis 4: 23-24. Such a spirit does not honor the prayers of a grieving church or the prayers of a nation for a government of truth, justice, and wisdom.

Perhaps Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus , Governor Haley, and scores of Republican legislators expected to receive high praise by their vote. They are getting much of that in the mainstream press, but there are loud whispers that quite a number of South Carolina Republican legislators who voted to bring the flag down are “catching hell” from angry constituents. Perhaps the RNC and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce will be able buy enough votes to re-elect them all, but combining the South Carolina flag betrayal with Republican betrayals of grassroots conservatives on amnesty, the Iran Nuclear Treaty, Obamacare, and failures to address judicial threats to religious liberties in Congress may yield unsettling results for South Carolina Republcans.

An exaggerated and maliciously distorted narrative of the role and nature of the slavery issue as a cause of the Civil War has been the stock propaganda weapon of those who for political or economic gain still strive to obscure and misrepresent the economic, constitutional, and political tyrannies that provoked Southern secessions. These issues still live and are vital to the survival of decentralized Constitutional government and both Southern and American heritage. They have recently been revived by the Tea Parties. Hence the enemies of truth and just Constitutional government are straining every nerve to silence any dissent from their false narrative by means of cultural Marxism, ranging from political correctness to direct and indirect economic suppression and character assassination. They have especially used the slavery issue as a pious excuse for tyranny and justification for total war against both Confederate forces and Southern civilians. At least 50, 000 Southern civilians died because of Union total war policies, probably more blacks than whites.

More recently, the Left has insisted that slavery was the only real issue in the war in order to advance the Left-Liberal political grievance agenda and bully state legislators and local governments into accepting outrageous lies and distortions misrepresenting and demeaning Southern history and cultural heritage. Unfortunately, many decades of Left-Liberal dominance of academic, media, and cultural institutions have left the public and our government assemblies largely ignorant of anything but the (deliberately) shallowest understanding of American and Southern history,

To Southern solders and their families, the Confederate Battle Flag symbolized their Christian heritage and resistance to tyranny. They were fighting for the right of Southern States and their people to determine their own political destiny, just as their Revolutionary War forefathers had fought the British. They were fighting against the evil of unjust taxation and many other abuses of power perpetrated by Northern political factions. They were fighting to free themselves of a Northern political dominance that had enriched the Northern states and oppressed Southern states. After many years of hardship and blood spent on the battlefield, the Southern Cross came to symbolize the courage and blood sacrifice of the Confederate soldier and Southern people. They believed in the justice and righteousness of their cause, and when the surrender at Appomattox came, they gave up their regimental banners with tears and weeping.

We need to honor the memory of our fallen heroes and all that served in that great struggle beneath our Southern Cross. The words of South Carolina journalist and poet Henry Timrod (1829-1867) in his Ode at Magnolia Cemetery should move our hearts to resolve:

“Sleep sweetly in your humble graves, sleep martyrs of a fallen cause,

Though yet no marble column craves the pilgrim here to pause.

In seeds of laurel in the earth, the blossom of your fame is blown,

And somewhere, waiting for its birth, the shaft is in the stone.

Meanwhile, behalf the tardy years, which keep in trust your storied tombs,

Behold! Your sisters bring their tears, and these memorial blooms.

Small tributes! But your shades will smile, more proudly on these wreaths today,

Than when some cannon-moulded pile shall overlook this bay.

Stoop, angels, thither from the skies! There is no holier ground

Than where defeated valor lies, by mourning beauty crowned.”

But now there are many who for political or economic gain would rather see every memory and symbol of that noble army destroyed and desecrated. There are still others who though being descendents of those noble soldiers by their indifference and moral cowardice would acquiesce to that destruction. In dishonoring the Southern Cross and suppressing a noble Christian heritage they heap dishonor upon themselves.

Yet I cannot believe that Providence will suffer the memory and sacred honor of valiant men and righteous principles to be blotted out. I cannot believe their heroic banner will be suffered to be discarded and forgotten. I cannot believe that the blood of valorous heroes, still coursing in the veins of their descendent sons and daughters and their future generations, will not continue to inspire and encourage the friends of liberty everywhere. Whatever storms may come, we will not surrender the honor or our gallant flag.

Leonard M. (Mike) Scruggs is the author of The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths, UniversalMedia, Asheville, 2011.

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