In partial response to Steven Jonas' The South Won the First Civil War --- Betcha Didn't Know That
By Kevin Stoda
Before I consider a response to Steven Jonas' Betcha Didn't Know That article, I should note that my mom grew up in a Sundown town in Southeast Missouri, i.e. in the same county where Truman was born and north of Neosho where the Southern-rump determined to lead Missouri into a secession from the Federation in one of the first battles of the Civil War. Meanwhile my father was born in and raised in the LAND OF LINCOLN--just 60 miles west of Chicago.
As a kid in the 1970s, I was distraught when I observed that many confederate army war flags that were popping up all over the place north of the Mason-Dixon, even after all of the Civil Rights successes of the 1960s --, I observed this in Kansas, Illinois as well as Missouri (all places where I grew up in that decade.)
As the flag went mainstream with that horrible Dukes of Hazard show--which most of us only watched on reruns when nothing else was on--, I was further annoyed.
Then in the late 1970s-style Pentecostal and Evangelical churches embraced like Southerners the flags of the USA and the language of the Southern Baptists who had always embraced the southern flags. (My mother's side of family lived on the Pro-slavery side of the divided Missouri of the 1850s & 1860s, so the north south divide was ever-present in my childhood anyway--but in the early 1970s the Charismatic renewal had been open to all minds, but by the end of the decade you were forced to follow the so-called Moral Majority.)
Pop music absorbed it too--especially in the flag-thumping manner of Southern Rock and Country and Western music, which had to fit in the mold. (We like the music now--with all its nostalgia, but at the time, I felt it was being foisted upon us--much like later American wars in the Middle East were forced upon us by a media industry outside our control.)
I awaited for the pendelum to return back to lifting up other regions of the USA to take back the Southern psyche. We graciously opened the door to this backed as the "real rural poor perspective and country psyche of Jimmie Carter", but soon the mass media of the late 1970s and 1980s America absorbed the Western Cowboy-ized President Reagan and his guard--VP Bush, who was the Texan who ran the CIA in the mid 1970s and who may have been on the ground in Dallas the day Kennedy was shot in 1962--the year of my birth.
Hollywood went Southern. Southern imagery was also in the theaters with blockbusters, like Gator, Cannonball Run, and Every Which Way but Loose showing on cinemas across the country.
NOTE: Even in the 1960s, as small kid, I knew that there was something wrong with my father's supporting the Southern Hero George Wallace for President. We lived in Illinois Dekalb county, which appears to have had several sundown towns in the decades of his childhood. (Several Northern counties in Illinois voted heavily in Wallace's favor.). Similarly, I knew that something was very wrong in America when the Nazis in Illinois--in Skokie--marched in the late 1970s using the Confederate War flags on their vehicles, etc.
These were the memes that decorate the memories posted themselves on my mind's wallpaper.
- an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.
- a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.
Didn't you notice? i.e. as Country and Western as hell as hillbilly music and genres dominated the USA--as dozens of states in a variety of regions simply fell off the national radar--until they were absorbed into the world of Post-Clinton, Post-Gingrich America?
Meanwhile, the Southernization of the USA army had begun with the early decades of the founding of the USA. This American militarization took a deep turn towards Southern soldiery long before my grandfathers from the north were born. It was already present by the time that General Andrew Jackson took over the USA presidency.