It had been nearly three and a half years since the Independent State of Georgia had declared secession, and later joined the Coalition of Southern States. Secession, slow and cumbersome as it was, was faster than building any sort of new confederacy with our sister Southern states. Progress was being made.
Newspapers around Rome were declaring “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day,” and people were talking about the dedication of a brand-new General Forrest monument much like the one that was horribly removed from Myrtle Hill Cemetery in early 2021. The people of the whole city were excited about celebrating the Confederate heritage of the city. This zeal was especially high because while going through secession we had realized just how much our people and our civilization fell short of that of the Old South. Southerners in Rome were able to see the beautiful culture of the Old South for what it was, without the progressive lens full of propaganda and lies. General Forrest, protector of Rome, was once again a hero in the eyes of a people who were claiming Southern heritage and longing to be a better people, and to achieve what their ancestors once had before invasion and tyranny.
One cool November weekend, the town had really showed up along the street adjacent to Myrtle Hill and were in suspense for the dedication of the Forrest Monument. They were in for another surprise - a Confederate soldier was also to be returned to its proper place to the Confederate Monument on the highest point of the cemetery overlooking the town. Our pride soared as we knew that we were coming together as a town for Confederate heritage in a way that probably had not been done since the early 1900s.
“Senator Miles, when is he coming to town?” I asked Paul.
“Well, I don’t remember Ralph, I believe that will be in January as he is trying to help push us from coalition to confederacy. If we can ever get on the same page, or in the same book even with the other states," responded Paul as he leaned with his shoulder against one of the many trees along the street. We all looked with amazement at the crowd that had gathered.
Victor added, “He is coming on the anniversary of the Georgia’s original secession day! I will be there.”
Later, we walked around downtown Rome entering shops and such. The owners were happy to be open and offering all sorts of Confederate and Southern-themed products. It was getting colder as the day waned and Victor and I were walking along the sidewalk window shopping. We cut the corner, going down a different street when we saw two large vans being filled with merchandise. It looked as if a business was being emptied. The closer we got it was obvious the business was moving, and I found myself wondering why anyone would move during such a victorious occasion. I just had to ask, “Ma’am..?”
Victor beat me to it, “Hey! How are you and why are you leaving the best time ever?”
The lady, who was moving a box across the interior of the large moving van on one side, looked over at him, “You are into this backward, anti-American, Southern stuff, huh? It’s one thing to betray your country over slavery one time, but to blatantly secede a second time and bring in the most racist and white government ever is not something I volunteered for.”
She sneered as her husband looked over at both of us. He explained, “We are going to Minneapolis where they are encouraging business without the white supremacy. I mean we are white, but we don’t hate minorities”.
I started to answer Sir, “we are Christians, and we love…”
He interrupted, saying, “You don’t believe in unity, do you?”
To which I replied, “What is unity without truth, and what exactly are we going to be united in?” At that point I had had enough, “The people of Rome aren’t white supremist, or even hateful, they are simply Southerners and we have already made the mistake of forgetting our own culture and we see where it led us after the Reconstruction period we could not stop. Among some of the worst things, Southern Cultural Genocide, increasingly progressive and centralized government, and the Greater Depression that started just seven and a half years ago. No thank you.”
Victor and I walked away, crossing the street to enjoy the scenery and business in that direction. That night we were at a barbeque in honor of Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of several celebrations for Forrest going on in the area. On as cold a night now as November can be in Rome, we were seated in a large civic center area with booths all around. They were selling everything from General Forrest shirts to all kinds of books from “A Legion of Devils, Sherman in South Carolina” by Karen Stokes to “Southerner Take Your Stand” by John Vinson. Almost any subject on Southern culture and history was there for purchase.
After Paul his family, Victor, and I sat down to finally eat, we were approached at the table by some people we had seen earlier but did not know. It was a black family walking around, but their demeanor was that of inspectors - not of a celebratory look. The vibes were odd as they approached, speaking directly to Paul seated with his barbeque ribs. “Hey there, are you from here?” one of the men asked.
“Born and raised,” replied Paul. “Yourself?” asked Paul. He seemed unsure whether to offer a handshake.
“No, originally we were from Cincinnati, but we had been in Lawrenceville, Georgia for 7 years, and my sister lived here, but we are headed to the U.S. tomorrow morning. We can’t help wonder why a black man like yourself is wearing a Confederate shirt and staying in white supremacist hell instead of coming with us northward.”
Paul sat there in a bit of shock, staring into black stranger’s eyes a moment before responding, “I’m Paul, and I am very proud of my Southern heritage. We are all Southerners, black or white, and I love my home.”
“Oh ok, and I’m Rodney,” the stranger replied, “and we are disgusted. Georgia has become backward along with all of the Southern racists who are now in power, cutting welfare, stopping internal improvements by the government, ignoring the needs of the people in the name of conservatism, and carrying out the most draconian immigrant laws ever! I can’t believe you can say these are 'your people' with a straight face.” The stranger had let out his rant, while his wife and one other gentleman shook their heads in disapproval of Paul. The kids silently smirked as if they were being entertained.
Paul was about to respond, but the man just walked off with the family trailing behind him. “The key is not to compromise what is right," Paul explained, “compromising is what people did until there was nothing left. You have to be so Southern your enemies want to move away from here, rather than compromise to be enough like them to keep their spending dollars down here. Compromising for money at the expense of your cultural identity and people, that is a very Republican move.” Victor and I would never forget that sound wisdom from Paul’s mouth. We too knew that our people could not embrace compromise of our culture even an inch and survive, and that multiculturalism was a farce. You were either a Southerner or you were not.
We sat there eating together, enjoying the large fireplace going in the convention hall, and the heavily decorated interior full of laughter, dancing, and live music playing. Paul’s wife gave him a smile. The family could not have looked more content in the picturesque scene of Southern tranquility and brotherhood.
Finally, January 19th came, the anniversary of Georgia’s first secession from the Union. There was a larger crowd gathered at Rome that day than there was for the Nathan Bedford Forrest Day event. Senator Miles, the man who had pushed for more aggressive polices toward ensuring our secession and fighting the status quo of corporate dominance that had fought us tooth and nail to keep the way things were. Despite what anyone thought of his policies, he and other pro-Southern Coalition Senators like him encouraged us all. They were our best example of heroes in a very messy secession process - drug out drudgery within a state of no war, but no peace, and no stability. They helped maintain an inner hope with a cultural revival. There was no way of glorifying the conflict like that of the War of 1861, but we were nevertheless happy and breathing a sigh of relief, finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
Senator John Miles was about to deliver a message expressing the hope for a new Southern Confederacy. We gathered at the high school stadium that day, with the stands full, each side, and the platform in the center of the field surrounded by people. As Dixie played, the people cheered and sang, “In Dixie Land where I was born…”, as the band played. Senator Miles took the platform after introductions by the mayor of Rome. He started off thanking various officials, and people who had been helpful to the cause. We just stood there almost in amazement the reality of a new Southern Confederacy had finally come. Our hearts would never have let us give up on it.
Senator Miles continued, “...for we have all been purged by fire, forged into something that could survive the test given by our enemies, achieving a revitalization, a birth of something life-sustaining in the Southern Tradition. We thank our LORD Jesus Christ for his goodness in letting us see a day with a new Southern Confederacy, for the Southern people…”. Senator Miles expounded for several minutes on ways of dealing with education and prisons. He addressed the possibility of moving the capitol away from Atlanta, even though the battle was going the State of Georgia’s way.
Miles continued, going on about what we needed to do for the future. “Let us go forward with a spirit of true independence as a people, contributing to small community schools as we see fit, raising and educating their children as they see fit, and the closing of public schools, and the closing the doors of state controlled universities which had become liberal and detrimental to our culture. I am grateful for the end of the idol of college football - at least for a good while, in which so much of our youth were led astray, yet to which Southern parents sacrificed their children for several generations. May our Saturdays be filled with truly wonderful gatherings such as this from now on, and any sporting events arising in the future may it be that they are truly Southern and wholesome. May we step forward and run our businesses as free men who need not government interference such as income tax and business licenses to prosper, but rather the state in run by the people for the protection and order within Georgia’s borders and is truly fiscally conservative.”
The people were clapping and cheering. Miles went on to several other topics that day. I remember his thoughts on getting away from Republican ways. “...and let us get away from, as our antebellum ancestors tried to, the various ways of internal improvements, the idea that Georgia should behave as a needy county rather than a sovereign state, and the idea that Georgia’s people are not self-sufficient enough to survive by a central government of a union. These are all ways of the Republicans, something we have learned again to abhor. For a healthy independent Georgia, we need a self-sufficient, independent populace that we can govern ourselves, and take responsibility for our own future. It is these lessons of living under progressivism, the Greater Depression, and our fight for the second secession that we take with us into our possible admission into a new Southern Confederacy, only to be agreed upon by the principles of the Southern tradition, and that which is beneficial to the Independent State of Georgia.”
As Senator Miles ended his speech that day, the crowd loved what they were hearing. Over time, the populace had changed, but it certainly took time. The fires of poverty, instability, and the unknown - from depression to social and political chaos - had taught us what was important. The help of our LORD and the Southern Cultural Revival had molded us into something that, while not as noble as that of our ancestors, was promising enough to plant sufficient seed for a better tomorrow if we would stay vigilant and willing to make it happen. The people of Rome were ready for a better future, along with the whole of the South.
Years later, as an older man, I found myself walking around Rome reflecting on what had happened, and more importantly, how it had changed me. I walked the streets remembering what life had been like before the Greater Depression, when progressivism ruled and Southern Cultural Genocide was nearly complete, and Christianity seemingly disappearing altogether. Then it hit me.
The poverty, the crime, the obvious corruption, the several years where people had to look towards one another instead of federal funds from taxpayers for everything - it forced families to not be so anxious to leave one another. It made me more self-sufficient in learning how to become an agrarian like my ancestors, uniting with my community for survival in a very uncertain world, and turning to God for life and salvation. It made me regret my service in the progressive, mercenary U.S. military only aimed at imperial pursuits rather than the defense of our homeland. At that point, and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life fighting against any attempts to promote imperialism, and the senseless deaths of my people in overseas wars. I was happy to see the end of Southerners taking pride in a federal service that took so much away from Southern culture and community.
It took calamity and oppression for us to effectively come together as Southern people. The revival of Southern culture included all of these necessary things for victory, as the politicians and the legislation would have been nothing without people with truly Christian and Southern hearts. My reading of history of the leftist riots of the 2010s’ and 2020s’ showed me that no legislation saved the states from the fury of cultural genocide. Thank God I had lived to see the day for a hope for the Southern people as it was almost over. I knew that we - I - had to pass the culture down to the next generations. But most of all, I had to live it. After all, I needed to be the living embodiment of the virtues of my ancestors, a living example for Christ, for my family, for the South, for Georgia. That day I remembered that wonderful quote by President Jefferson Davis: “Truth crushed to the earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again.”