Past in the Present

Many of you know that I struggle with the moderation of comments on this site.  On the one hand I hope to promote civil and intellectual discourse, which means that on occasion I have to edit or delete a comment entirely.  At the same time many of these abusive/insulting comments reflect a wide range of perspectives concerning how Americans continue to remember the Civil War.  I deleted this comment, but I thought it might be instructive to post it since it so beautifully captures the emotional aspect of the subject as well as the blurred boundary between past and present.  This comment was offered in response to another reader:

i dont like what you have said the stone moutain carvings show great men from our past. men who fought and died for this great nation. the confederate states should be allowed to break free from the tyrants in D.C. all of the men who dont like our flag are traders or just dirty yanks. its heritage i proudly fly this flag. i would die for this flag. i live in georgia and i am not ashamed of it if anything im dam proud of it. i do not like any yankee talking bad about something he knows nothing about. it was a war of northern agressition. they didnt like the fact that we were trying to leave their union but yet they found it alright to do it to england. why do they have to treat us like cattle telling us we cant leave the grazing fields. i believe we should be free from the north. D.C. has done nothing but give us trouble and i think the southern men should march on D.C. with rifle and saber in hand and show them what they did to us. We refuse to be reconstructed and we dont give a damn what those yankee fucks say.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

[Image: “Past in the Present” by Dallon August]

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9 comments… add one
  • Matt McKeon Mar 15, 2010

    Really Kevin, you “struggle” with moderating comments? And the comment you offer as an example is a obscenity laced , semi literate rant with no punctuation by some yahoo, in a kind of Platonic form of ignorance. This is kind of comment you “struggle” with? What exactly did you struggle with in this instance?
    “This is so such a perfect storm of redneck resentment/stupidity,” Kevin struggled, “that people may think I made it up.”

    • Kevin Levin Mar 15, 2010

      I was making more of a general point re: comment moderation. I didn't have any trouble deleting this one, but I still thought it was worth sharing with a bit of my own commentary.

  • Michael Lynch Mar 15, 2010

    Hey, those are fighting words. Some of us southerners from East Tennessee had ancestors who wore blue during the “War of Northern Agressition.” And I don't think they'd take kindly to being called “traders.”


  • Brooks D. Simpson Mar 15, 2010

    I think this Georgia guy can't get over the 1996 and 1999 World Series results. Dirty Yanks indeed.

    • Leonard Lanier Mar 15, 2010

      Better not mention that those “southern” Braves originated in–gasp–Boston!

  • lil'chungly Mar 15, 2010

    Usually when I don't care what people say, I refrain from saying anything. Because, well, I don't care. Obviously this guy does. Taking the time to rudely curse your opponents either means you question your own beliefs or you question your intelligence. I do hope it is the former and not the latter. I think he wants to be a yank and doesn't know how to ask. . . oops, was that antagonistic.

    • margaretdblough Mar 16, 2010

      There's an old law school maxim that I've quoted on here in the past: “If you have the facts, argue the facts. If you have the law, argue the law. If you have neither, pound the table.”

      • lil'chungly Mar 16, 2010

        oh, i like that.

  • Tom Thompson Mar 16, 2010

    Despite the inability of the writer to spin his concerns with more eloquence, you must understand that he represents the views of a wide segment of this country. This viewpoint fuels the Teabaggers political movement of this country. Right wing talk radio taps into this anger and fans the flames of dissent. His talk of marching on Washington with rifle and saber in hand is not just bravado, it is a tactical reality, and deserves to be respected as a real threat.

    Every now and then one of these folks acts upon these pent up frustrations, and the mainstream media gets to spend a whole week newscycle analyzing the mindset that would give rise to flying a private plane into an IRS Processing Center or gunning down people they did not even know.

    I know these people- I get their hate filled messages daily bemoaning the past election results, or military thrust, or legislative proposal. I see these folks as an extension of the anti intellectual movement sweeping the land for more than a decade…we've all seen their bumper stickers “My Kid can Beat up Your Honor Student”. They long for the day when they will form the majority voting block to swing public policy their way…back to a new period of the Dark Ages.

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