Old times not forgotten | Arkansas Blog

Old times not forgotten

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The Democrat-Gazette today took note of legislation to finance a Civil War commemmoration beginning in 2011 and running for four more years. (I wasn't aware we'd ever stopped commemorating it around here.)

Most of the Southern states are moving along the same path, the LA Times noted yesterday. It notes the perils and divisions possible in such observances. Will it be another teary-eyed remembrance of the Lost Cause and Marse Robert? Or will it also include a clear-eyed view of the effort to sunder the Union, the brutal system that lay at the root of the conflict and the awful after-effects? Elsewhere, the issue has been joined, with the Sons of Confederate Veterans looking to continue image-polishing and others not so ready to join the parade.

In a cultural war that has pitted Old South against New, defenders of the Confederate legacy have opened a fresh front in their campaign to polish an image tarnished, they say, by people who do not respect Southern values.

... Georgia state Sen. John Bulloch, a Republican who sponsored the bill recognizing Confederate History Month, said the observance would help tourism, particularly in areas with Civil War battlegrounds. It is no different, he said, from Black History Month.

But Georgia state Rep. Tyrone Brooks, a Democrat and longtime civil rights leader, said the South has lagged behind the nation by trying to hold on to the past. He said the bill will face opposition in Georgia's more diverse House.

"These Southern states really still have not come back into the Union," he said. "That is why it's been so difficult over the years to get the states to recognize that flying the Confederate emblem on the flag, holding reenactments and pushing these calendar events as a matter of law is a reflection . . . of their Confederate mentality. ...."

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