Thursday, December 23, 2010

a society far and above anything else on earth....,


Video - Celebration of conservative American values People as Property.

WaPo | "Dixie," that emotionally freighted and much-debated anthem of the old Confederacy, starts soft when it's done right, barely above a whisper. But each sotto voce syllable of the opening verse, each feather-light scrape of the fiddle strings, could be heard without straining when the ladies in the hoop skirts and the men in the frock coats rose in reverence to celebrate the 150th anniversary of South Carolina's secession.
"We are very proud of who we are," said Chip Limehouse, a South Carolina legislator who rented a historically accurate suit and vest for the formal ball celebrating the anniversary. "This is in our DNA."

Great-great-great-granddad fought the Yankees, lost his plantation, was bathed in glory, the men and women at the ball like to say. They're proud of their ancestors, they declare, and that's why they paid $100 apiece to take part in an event touted as a "joyous night of music, dancing, food and drink."

John B. Hines, a wealthy Texas oilman and cattle rancher, helped, too. He sent a $5,000 sponsorship for the affair because he loves the Old South: "They created a society far and above anything else on Earth." As for the NAACP demonstrators outside, Hines said, their arguments are "nonsense. The NAACP's just hard up for a reason to bitch at people."
Outside Charleston's bulky concrete municipal auditorium, on an unseasonably chilly Southern night, some of the men and women in a crowd of about 100 were thinking about their own ancestors: slaves who picked the cotton for the forebears and allies of the men and women inside. "Disgusting," the Rev. Joseph A. Darby, vice president of the local NAACP chapter, said of the event inside.

On the street, they lifted protest signs; inside, they lifted drinks with names like "Rebel Yell." The stubborn inside-outside faceoff that throttled this jewel of a Southern city on Monday night hints at dramas to come, an unending series of Civil War anniversaries stretching from secession and the firing on Fort Sumter to the laying down of arms at Appomattox. For the next 41/2 years - the span of the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history - Americans black and white will have ample opportunities to wrestle with delicate, almost-impossible-to-resolve questions of legacy and history, of what to commemorate and what to condemn.

South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union, but the commemoration will be followed by similar events in other states - parades and balls and speeches and plaques. The anniversaries will press current politicians to tiptoe through minefields of nuance. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley called the Secession Ball "unfortunate" and "the opposite of unifying," but several big-name lawmakers not only attended, but donned costumes to do so.