someone shouted “you lie” at mayor riley when he said secession was caused by a defense of slavery at sesquicentennial event this am.
Did that actually happen? Apparently so:
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley was interrupted by an audience member who yelled out, “You’re a liar!” as Riley talked about the direct relationship between slavery and secession during the unveiling of a historical marker Monday.
About 100 people crowded along a Meeting Street sidewalk at the site of the former Institute Hall — where South Carolinians signed the Ordinance of Secession exactly 150 years before.
“That the cause of this disastrous secession was an expressed need to protect the inhumane and immoral institution of slavery is undeniable,” Riley said, prompting the outburst. “The statement of causes mentions slavery 31 times.”…
Where else in the world, I ask you, would such a simple, mild and OBVIOUS statement (few historical documents make fewer bones about motives than the document Mayor Joe alludes to) elicit such a response? Wherever it is, I don’t want to go there. We’ve got our hands full dealing with our homegrown madness.
Earlier, I got this come-on to an online survey:
POLL – Celebrating Secession: Do you find it offensive to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the…http://bit.ly/dNLi1h
Sigh. OK, I’ll answer the question which doesn’t seem worth asking: Yes. Duh. The operative word being “celebrate.”
As for the word “offensive,” well, that seems rather inadequate. I suppose in our PC times, it’s the highest opprobrium that most folks in the MSM seem capable of coming up with. “Appalling” would work. “Insupportable” would, too. “Unconscionable” would be another. Then there’s always “embarrassing.”
My point is not that someone somewhere — say, to oversimplify, the descendants of slaves — would be “offended.” That’s too easily dismissed by too many. (As the surly whites who resent blacks’ resentment over slavery would point out, everybody’s offended by something. They would say this as though such moral equivalence were valid, as though black folks’ being touchy about celebrations of secession were like my being offended by Reality TV.) My point is that the very notion that anyone would even conceive of celebrating — rather than “commemorating,” or “marking,” or “mourning,” or “ritualistically regretting” — the very worst moment in South Carolina history, is a slap in the face to anyone who hopes in general for the human species (one would hope it could make some progress) or specifically for South Carolina.
It’s awful enough that this one act stands as the single indisputably biggest impact that South Carolina has ever had on U.S., or world, history. But what does one say about a people, a population, that — 150 years after this Greatest Error of All Time, which led directly to our bloodiest war and to a century and a half of South Carolina trailing the rest of the world economically — they would think it cute, or fun, or a lark, or what have you, to mark the episode by dressing up and dancing the Virginia Reel?
I mean, seriously, what is WRONG with such a people, such an organism, that would celebrate something so harmful to itself, much less to others?
Lonnie Randolph of the NAACP calls it “nothing more than a celebration of slavery.” Well, yeah. Duh again. But that pretty much goes without saying. The point I’d like to add to the obvious is that it is also a celebration of stupidity, of dysfunction, of never, ever learning.
In fact, what we’ve done, from the time of Wade Hampton to the time of Glenn McConnell, is devolve. We’ve slipped backwards. The guys who signed the Ordinance of Secession were acting in their rational self-interest, something even the merchants of the North probably understood. Be morally appalled at that if you’re so inclined (and most people living in the West in this century would be), but it made some kind of sense. But for anyone today to look back on that act and celebrate it, seek to identify with it, get jollies from dressing up and in any way trying to re-enact that occurrence, makes NO sense of any kind, beyond a sort of self-destructive perversity.
And don’t give me that about the act of secession being an assertion of freedom-loving SC whites throwing off the oppressive gummint yoke, because it just proves my point. That attitude — that “Goldang it, but ain’t nobody gonna tell me how to live MAH LAHF” or make me pay taxes or whatever — is probably the single pathological manifestation most responsible for the fact that we have been unable to get it together in this state and climb out from under the shadow of the conflict that we insisted upon precipitating. The far more refined forms of this — Sanfordism, and other ways of asserting that we do NOT need to work together as a society to solve common problems, because we are free individuals who don’t need each other — have done just as much to hold us back as the old racist creeds of Tillman and the like.
It is, indeed, a pathology. And parties that “celebrate” secession are a manifestation of it.