Every once in a while a book is published which takes its place as critically significant and pivotal—which has an influence and reach far beyond other similar studies or writings—in how a culture and society see themselves, and how they see their past and also perhaps their future. For Southerners aware of their history and traditions or desirous of (re)discovering them, so it was in years past with Richard Weaver’s monumental study, The Southern Tradition at Bay (originally published in 1968). And before that the work of the Twelve Southern Regionalists, I’ll Take My Stand (1930), a book never out of print and still very influential today ninety years after its first publication. And one must add to these the various works and essays of the late Mel Bradford, perhaps the modern South’s most brilliant author and defender.
Just this past November 3, 2020—election day, ironically—the newly-revised third edition of James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy’s The South Was Right! was published. And that publication is a truly signal event. For it incorporates the insights and understanding of Southern history, specifically the justice and rightness of our ancestors in 1861-1865, and brings them forward to our own perilous times when it seems that everything Southern, everything we hold dear and we honor, the very living memory and inheritance of our ancestors…indeed, the very existence of Western Christian civilization on this continent, which found its most noble expression in the South of our ancestors…is under merciless, perhaps mortal assault.
Since The South Was Right! was first published in 1991 and then published in a second edition in 1994, much history—far too much of it terribly negative—has fitfully passed us by and oftentimes seems to overwhelm us. The South Was Right! in this new edition from Shotwell Publishing is like a powerful shield and buckler which can offer us indispensable support not only in the defense of our Confederate heritage and our Southern civilization, but also provide us with ample ammunition to go forward on the offensive, to begin the arduous, difficult, but still possible effort of regaining our history, our culture and our birthright.
The late Mel Bradford used the expression “remembering who we are” in several of his works. Indeed, his 1985 book of trenchant essays carries that title: Remembering Who We Are: Observations of A Southern Conservative. But for Bradford, as also for the Kennedy brothers, it is not just the imperative to awaken the memory and legacy of our ancestors and of their inheritance, but to fathom it in its fullness and to know that that inheritance, that culture, those beliefs and that faith are profoundly nourished by traditions and foundations that go back two millennia, that are real….And that despite their apparent eclipse by our contemporary society which despises them and seeks to abolish them, they still offer sustenance and illumination for us—if we let them.
Certainly, such a return to, as the pro-Southern poet Robert Lee Frost once wrote, “the truths we keep coming back and back to” (cf. “The Black Cottage”), is fraught with extreme risks and severe danger in our day and time. We are called racists and neo-Confederates, or “white supremacists” and worse if we defend our heroes of 1861-1865. Our reputations are besmirched; we are doxxed by vicious radicals; even our livelihoods are threatened.
Yet, in our heart-of-hearts we know with President Jefferson Davis, that “Truth crushed to earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again.”
The Kennedy brothers understand, they fathom this, and they have set upon the path of both defending “who we are” and reclaiming our real history and existence as a people from those who would destroy and eradicate them. Here, in this volume, is a veritable goldmine of vital factual information and history grounded in a foundation of truth and faith which we all should digest and know. For once armed and strong in the Faith we may go forward and do battle as our ancestors once did on the fields on Manassas and Chancellorsville.
We have only that choice—or, the ignominious and miserable disappearance from the annals of history. The Kennedys chart our course, and we should follow them.
This piece originally appeared at MyCorner on November 28, 2020.
As of Friday, November 6, the votes are still being counted in at least six states. The large pro-Trump margins that seemed to prevail late election night have now disappeared as mail in votes, many of doubtful legality have begun to trickle in. Large Democratically-controlled cities like Philadelphia, Detroit, and Atlanta have miraculously produced tranches of almost completely Biden votes—legal Republican poll watchers have been excluded from observing the vote count—mail-in votes with unverified signatures of doubtful provenance have been counted. In short the safeguards that would guarantee a fair election have been egregiously ignored and violated.
Philadelphia, heavily Democratic and where armed Black militia groups have been known to exert what they call “vigilance” over polling places, once again seems like “ground zero” in this year’s election. Whereas almost all counties in Pennsylvania were strongly supportive of the president, the local machine in urban Philadelphia was once again grinding out huge—and unbelievable—majorities for Joe Biden, almost like clockwork.
Can a truly fair election be held when what is essentially a political mafia masquerading as a political party has a stranglehold not only on how votes are counted but, more importantly, which votes are counted—and when? Is this what has become of the American republic?
President Trump may well lose this presidential election. But if he does, there will always be a lurking and burning question: Is this really what happened? Was not this election, in fact, stolen?
I realize some may dislike my language, and even reading this very question may seem distasteful. How dare I raise such a specter, such a possibility in our great democracy?
I have written before that American progressivists engage in a form of “gaslighting” and projection onto their opponents of the very actions they themselves are guilty of. For how many months now have we heard Representatives Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi and multiple talking heads at CNN, NBC and most all the media claim that Trump threatens “our democracy,” in particular the insanely bogus accusation that the Russians have corrupted our elections, if not the president himself ? Yet, it is exactly those political allies and minions of Pelosi and Schiff significantly on the state level who continue to seriously imperil what is left of the old American republic. It is they, using the COVID-19 panic and resulting shutdowns in a number of states, who implemented the most far-reaching and dangerous destruction of election security in our history, enabling the utter disaster we see unfolding before us.
Despite all the suffocating fog of this election, despite the apparent vote manipulation and fraud, despite the use of the media as unpaid and scandalously dishonest allies—despite all this, and even with the potential toppling of the “man with the orange hair,” the progressivist Left has to be aware in those moments of private reflection that Donald Trump in a real sense may “triumph even from his political grave.” That is, the forces and the citizens that he has roused cannot be forced back into silence, pushed back into their previously quiet acquiescence.
All across the United States the generally predicted “blue wave” that the near totality of pollsters told us would occur simply did not happen. On the contrary, in state after state, congressional district after district, the strongest advocates of the Trumpian populist message won election, even against huge odds and millions of campaign dollars from Silicon Valley billionaires, Wall Street hedge fund manipulators, entertainment magnates and the concerted efforts of the media.
In North Carolina, Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham, running with a dishonest smirk on his face, railed against “big business, big banks and big pharma,” while actually receiving nearly 100 million dollars in campaign funds, mostly from the billionaires of Silicon Valley, Michael Bloomberg, and big hedge funders. Yet, despite the mobilization of thousands of zombie-brained Millennials and soccer-moms (whose voting patterns argue strenuously for the repeal of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution), it was that very working, tax paying middle class North Carolina citizenry, those voters whom Cunningham appealed to, who voted largely for incumbent Republican Senator Thom Tillis.
Cunningham was, we were told, supposed to win. True, there was a scandal involving him and the wife of a military man. But we were informed by the media that he would win despite that. Tillis, you see, was the puppet of those shadowy moneyed types—and indeed, he does get some support from them. But what the voters figured out along the way was that Cunningham was far more indebted to dark money and the elites than Tillis. And it was, without doubt, the “Trump effect,” the rousing of the Tar Heel citizenry that proved critical in Tillis’ win.
In my local precinct, in what is arguably a mixed suburban/rural area of Wake County, President Trump received nearly 60% of the vote (unofficial). In past elections Democrat and Republican vote totals have been roughly equivalent. Yet, this year—this election—seemingly the landscape has been transformed. This is what has happened all across North Carolina and in other states: Trump rolling up large margins in mostly rural areas but more significantly in those working class/blue collar regions where the Democratic Party once commanded unquestioned loyalty, while Democrats strengthened their control in major metropolitan centers.
Most national Democrats and the media continue to slam Trump now that he is down, pronouncing his presidency dead: the “man with the orange hair” will finally be gone, they exult. Still, a few staunch Democrat columnists—perhaps not yet getting their cues from those national founts of thought control—have actually seen something, and at least for the moment stumbled across what may be occurring, what may be bubbling up in the remaining sensible and sane areas of the old republic.
Veteran Democrat progressive Thomas Mills, who has damned the president from the beginning, wrote in his column (“Wow, Was I Wrong,” November 5):
“Last night, I learned how little I understand North Carolina politics. For years, I thought I had a pretty good handle on my native state. Since 2016, though, most of my assumptions have been proven wrong. I never thought Democrats would have such bad night in this state.
“Several of my assumptions about politics, and North Carolina politics in particular, no longer hold. It will take a while for me to better understand what happened, but I will certainly need to find new assumptions and data points. And I’ll have to stop believing the polls….
“Money matters less than pundits and consultants believe. Democrats had a staggering financial advantage and it clearly didn’t pay off in North Carolina. Republicans added seats in the state house and won most of the Council of State seats as well as the U.S. Senate race and the presidential contest despite healthy Democratic war chests.”
Mills’ early sentiments were echoed by Gary Pearce, another long-time Democrat operative (“Democrats Overdo It,” November 5):
“By the wee hours Wednesday morning, Democrats went into full finger-pointing, breast-beating mode as Trump swept the South and Republicans won big in North Carolina: President, U.S. Senate, legislature, Council of State and judicial races. They sounded ready to jump out the window.”
Pearce continues, quoting another Democrat:
“…‘I think in NC specifically, we are communicating to an electorate that doesn’t quite exist yet – the demographic blue wave that’s hitting our cities, but is probably still a decade or so away from fundamentally reshaping our politics – at the expense of rural and urban-adjacent counties, where we have effectively zero support anymore’.”
Obviously, Mills and Pearce had not yet gotten the memo—but no doubt it is coming, and after the requisite soul searching, they will most likely be securely back mouthing the platitudes and template proclaimed on high by the Deep State apparatchiks who drool at the prospect of recapturing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Let us assume that Biden will finally win…horribile dictu!…which, of course, is still quite debatable at this point (with legal contests looming). Some pundits (mostly on Fox) have sought to reassure us that Republicans will continue to control the US Senate and will have at least five to seven additional seats in the House of Representatives—potentially a break on a Biden presidency. Yet, doubts about just how strong and resistant this congressional “opposition,” this GOP establishment, will be to a President Biden are not at all unreasonable given the past inglorious history and cowardice of our Washington representatives.
But beyond all this, what is becoming ever so clear and evident is that the nation we call the United States of America has now become de facto two countries with populations which not only disagree fundamentally with each other, but cannot communicate or talk with each other at all. They—we—speak entirely different languages, they—we—think in entirely different ways, and those differences are growing wider and more irreconcilable not less so.
This election—2020—underlines and emphasizes that radical and unbridgeable divide.
Throughout this year there has been increasing talk of some sort of nationwide separation, regional secession, as the only means to avoid continued, heightened and potentially violent conflict. Scholar Frank H. Buckley (at the George Mason University School of Law) has authored a fascinating book on the topic: American Secession: The Looming Threat of a National Breakup (Encounter Books). Although Buckley laments it, he begrudgingly admits that the nation we know as America cannot last, and that some sort of constitutional break-up might be a way out.
The time for that serious discussion, and on a national level, has arrived. As Professor Donald Livingston writes in his review in Chronicles magazine (October 2020) of Buckley’s volume: “When two people are about to come to blows, it is best to separate them. Secession could do that for a deeply dysfunctional and hate-filled America.”
This piece was originally published at Boyd Cathey's blogspot on Nov 6, 2020.
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.