No surprise to see that Confederatemania extends to Mississippi but it sure seems weirder down there. Emily Wagster Pettus reports:
Barbour’s office on Monday did not respond to a request by The Associated Press for a copy of his 2010 Confederate Heritage Month proclamation. Rev. Cecil Fayard, chaplain in chief for the national Sons of Confederate Veterans, faxed a copy to AP.
The proclamation, signed March 15, said it is “important for all Americans to reflect upon our nation’s past to gain insight from our mistakes and successes.”
Fayard said he agrees with Barbour’s proclamation, which called on Sons of Confederate Veterans and other groups to publicize the “rich heritage” of the Confederacy.
“The War Between the States was fought for the same reasons that the tea party movement today is voicing their opinion. And that is that you have large government that’s not listening to the people, there’s going to be heavy taxation,” Fayard said Monday from his home in Duck Hill, Miss. “And the primary cause of the war was not slavery, although slavery was interwoven into the cause, but it was not the cause for the War Between the States.”
The notion that the accession of big government tax and spend Republicans like Abraham Lincoln to the White House was the cause of the Civil War seems bizarre. This does, however, illustrate what I was saying about the white southern political tradition’s contingent relationship to democracy. “Listening to the people,” in both 1860 and 2010, is taken to mean something like “doing what white southerners want while ignoring electoral outcomes.” And was the idea here that Barbour issues a secret neo-Confederate proclamation? It wasn’t available online and he wouldn’t give it to the AP?
It’s worth taking a look as Mississippi’s secession ordinance:
In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.
Actual Mississippi secessionists knew exactly why they were seceding.