Wednesday, June 22, 2022

                                                 June 22, 2022

 

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

False Hope in the Republican Party? Where Do We Go from Here? A Southerner Responds



Friends,

It did not dawn on me until I walked out to my mailbox Monday, June 20…and there was no mail. “What’s up?” I thought. “It’s Monday, and I always get mail on Monday, since it piles up on Sunday when there is no delivery.” What had happened, I wondered.

Then, I witnessed one of those special delivery postal agents who work on holidays, and I flagged her down. And come to find out that Monday was “Juneteenth,” a new Federal holiday (actually it was Sunday, but the Feds, as is their wont, postponed the observance until June 20th). So, there was no regular mail delivery.

That explained it; I had forgotten the latest government concession in the name of “equity” and “liberal democracy,” and advancing the “ideals of America” as exemplified somehow in the Declaration of Independence.

As a national Federal holiday “Juneteenth,” this latest paean to political correctness and abject apology for our past sins as a nation, was enacted by the US senate unanimously on June 17, 2021, and by a vote in the House of Representative of 415 to 14. Literally no one stood forth to explain what actually was occurring: politically craven expediency and servile acquiescence to ideology.

That set me to thinking, and I recalled the debate years ago over the creation of Martin Luther King Day, enacted back in 1983, with overwhelming Democratic AND Republican support in the US Senate (among the Democrats, by 41 to 4; among the GOP, by 37 to 18). Despite the efforts of Senator Jesse Helms and the initial opposition of President Reagan (who caved under pressure), King Day was steamrolled into law. And since then it has arguably become more important in these United States than Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and most other observed holidays.

We should have probably known then that the Republicans, the so-called “conservative party,” which had presented itself as the replacement for the old conservative Southern Democrats, were not, as my Uncle Clete used to say, “worth tits on a boar hog.” The “Southern strategy,” as strategized by Kevin Phillips and executed by Richard Nixon and his minions (with not a little assistance from the Democrats at the time who went crazy Left in 1972 and nominated George McGovern), paid good dividends. Between 1968 and 1988 the Republican Party…the political party which had been rightfully an anathema to millions of Southerners after the War Between the States…managed to convince us that the home-grown, traditional conservatism of older Democrats, leaders like Harry Byrd, Richard Russell, and Sam Ervin, was now incarnate, alive and well in the GOP.

And, at least for the moment, we thought we had witnessed that as reality. Reagan was in the White House, re-elected overwhelmingly; and in the US senate there was that former Democrat, elected in 1972 as North Carolina’s first Republican senator in seventy years, conservative Jesse Helms. Millions of disaffected conservative Democrats would vote for him. And there were others, as well: the indomitable Strom Thurmond in South Carolina was now a Republican, and John East—the scholarly professor—was North Carolina’s other US senator.

The presence of Reagan, Helms, and their like reassured us that we were doing the right thing, and, in a certain sense, continuing the heritage and beliefs that had for so long guided us when we were all Southern Democrats.

But we were, in fact, deceived. And the MLK Day debate and fiasco, and Republican presidential and legislative politics, both on the national level as well as the state level, since then should have dispelled our initial enthusiasm. For it was but a long history of broken promises and continued deception. We should have known better as the national GOP nominated such disastrous candidates on the presidential level as John McCain, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush. Yes, when they came South they talked a good game and explained that they could be trusted, but we should have known better.

They lied.

We should have known better when President Reagan signed off on the Simpson-Mazzoli Immigration Reform Bill of 1986 which “legalized most undocumented immigrants who had arrived in the country prior to January 1, 1982.” It was touted as the “final solution” to our illegal immigration question.

It wasn’t.

Rather, it did little but open the door wide to more “reform” and an influx of millions more illegals.

We should have known better when so-called “conservative Republicans,” boasting of their steadfast opposition to same sex marriage, all of a sudden ceased to mention the topic after the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 Obergefell v Hodges decision (June 2015). Never mind that in states where the question had been on the ballot, twenty-nine of them had approved by popular vote bans on same sex marriage (by 2008). But after that decision, the GOP and Fox News essentially renounced their earlier “steadfast” opposition, while embracing as many same sex personalities and prominent figures as they could find. “Look at us,” Fox seemed to be saying to their competitors further to the Left, “we have Guy Benson, Tammy Bruce, Rick Grenell, and Douglas Murray, all of them happily consorting with their partners.”

We should have known better as the newest—and logical—manifestation of the sexual revolution raised its head: transgenderism and the gender-fluid destruction of traditional natural biology.  With alacrity Fox and the GOP jumped on board, after all they always had to protect their Left flank from criticism and prove just how progressive they were.  Thus, Fox invited transgendered Caitlyn Jenner to come on board as a contributor (making her first appearance on the Hannity program, March 31, 2o22). And then in June 2022 they lauded a family that had their infant girl—so young she was unable to actually communicate with her parents—undergo sex “transitioning” to a boy.

We should have known better when then Republican governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley ordered that “the Confederate flag” which hitherto had flown on the South Carolina capitol grounds be removed. “It should never have been there,” she offered. And Haley’s reaction illustrated the GOP’s retreat not just on flags of the Confederacy that were once celebrated nationally as symbols of valor and devotion, but increasingly on monuments commemorating not just Confederates but other Americans who could in any way be tainted with the historic “sins” of racism. The GOP temporized, and such opposition as there was has mostly been from the grassroots.

We should have also known better when (in 2020) the US Senate voted 86-14—with a large majority of Republican senators joining in the mad scramble—to remove the names of American military institutions named for Confederate leaders. Our arguments to the contrary, our petitions, the polling—all were to no avail. “We mustn’t be seen as ‘racists’,” we were answered.

Gun control and “red flag” laws?  Fourteen Republican senators, including John Cornyn (TX), Thom Tillis (NC), Lindsey Graham (SC), Bill Cassidy (LA), Roy Blount (MO), and Richard Burr (NC)—all Southerners—joined Democrats in insuring that greater government control over gun ownership and the gutting of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution would proceed.

And these solons are just the tip of the iceberg. For an agenda of dissimulation and deception pervades and infects the GOP all the way down to the state and local level in many cases.

The advent of Donald Trump and his incredibly surprising victory in the 2016 presidential contest changed all that, at least for a while. Admittedly, he ran against perhaps the most loathsome candidate ever chosen to represent either political party, Hillary Clinton. But his election still was unique. For what Trump did—and I suggest it was his major accomplishment amidst many failures—is that he, at least partially, tore off the forbidding mask that hid the evil intent and designs of what we call “the deep state” and the national political duopoly. By that I mean he was able through his abrasive personality, one would say his almost irascible nature, to force the agents of America’s long-running and practically impervious managerial bureaucracy, and its pliant prostitutes in the media (most all of it) and political minions in Congress, to show themselves for what they were and what they intended for us.

As never before those apparatchiks in the managerial class, the Washington “insiders,” the permanent bureaucrats and politicians, saw their hegemony threatened. And they telegraphed this immediately to the networks and online journals that acted on their behalf. Trump became, as it were, a larger-than-life menace and danger to “our liberal democracy” (understood to actually mean that if they let him get away with his bravado, it endangered their increasing stranglehold on what was left of the collapsing American republic). Thus, the two impeachment charades, and the ultimate immense and diabolical act of ideological political theater, the “January 6 Committee.”

Perhaps Trump’s most serious failing was in his appointments. Many of them were essentially and profoundly opposed to him as well as his agenda. His explanation was that he was attempting to create “party unity” by naming individuals who had originally opposed him, and somehow building an administration that drew on the available talent in the party. His willingness to listen to some individuals close to him (Jared Kushner comes to mind) was disastrous. From the beginning, party unity was a pipe dream.

To even have considered Mitt Romney for a pivotal position in his administration, to have named neoconservative Elliott Abrams to represent the United States in dealings with Venezuela and Iran, to have appointed Never-Trumper John Bolton as national security advisor, to have made Nikki Haley ambassador to the United Nations—these were just a few of the horrid miscues, the abject failure in following the advice of some of those individuals who grouped around him.

But it also illustrates a permanent disease within the Republican establishment and amongst its votaries. Many of them begrudgingly accepted Trump when he became the party nominee, while secretly (and not-so-secretly) harboring a desire to see him fail on major portions of his agenda, and in various instances attempting to insure that failure.

Nikki Haley stands out as a conspicuous example of, first, damning and blasting Trump, then embracing him in one of those particularly nauseating efforts at ingratiation and self-serving about faces, only to once again position herself for a potential presidential run either in 2024 or later. The lady has no shame, just overweening ambition.

There are some—a few—true conservatives, a few Republican office holders who have risen a bit above this process, figures who refuse to follow the poisonous agenda and template. But they are notable because they are exceptions. Their number up to now has been relatively small.

A Marjorie Taylor-Greene and a Lauren Boebert and a Thomas Massie stand out in the House of Representatives, even as they are given cold shoulder by the GOP leadership. You can see that by the number and viciousness of attacks loosed upon them. They deserve our support. While over in the US Senate Mitch McConnell exemplifies the “good ole’ boy” network which continually gives way to the next installment of Democrat and “woke” radicalism.

On the ground there are now voters who view perhaps for the first time in their lives the real and actual corrupt nature of our current political system. And even if only vaguely, what they behold is nothing more than a forbidding playground for our unelected oligarchs of Silicon Valley, international corporations, and foul politics which have turned this republic into a kratocracy, in which the more those elites scream at us about the necessity to “defend our democracy,” the more they control our expression, destroy our liberties, and control our destiny, and, in fact, demolish what is left of that “democracy.”

We should have known better—we should have recognized the signs and the markers along the way. We should have taken notice of the disturbing events and the history—it was there for us to see. But it perhaps took an unlikely brash New York businessman, who didn’t always watch his language, to cause the “deep state” serpent to strike back and, ironically, reveal its nefarious and diabolical intents and program.

Since then the managerial elites, the permanent bureaucracy, both Democrat and Republican, have sought, as it were, to put the genie back in the lamp. In the end perhaps their mistake was to react so violently and hysterically to what happened in 2016 (and then in 2020). It was bound to unleash a reaction. But their calculus was that events—and their revolution—had proceeded too far that there was nothing really effective that we could do in response. Things were, as they say, too far gone.

Trump, perhaps unknown to him, did open a slight crack in the unrelenting fa├žade of the Behemoth that has progressively taken control of our country and our lives.

But the old republic is, in fact, effectively dead…and what we can and must do is salvage what we can, doing our duty, fighting like Hell, while waiting upon the judgment of God who will in His judgment decide the fate of our nation. That must be our hope and what motivates us to continue this humanly unequal struggle.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

                                                    June 8, 2022

 

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

“Gods and Generals” and Remembering Who We Are as Southerners



Friends,

Lest we forget, it has been nineteen years since the film “Gods and Generals” was released to screens across the United States—to be exact, on February 21, 2003—almost ten years after the release of the blockbuster film, “Gettysburg.”

“Gods and Generals” was based on the historical novel by Jeff Shaara, while “Gettysburg” was based on a work by his father, Michael Shaara. An intended third installment, “The Last Full Measure,” which would have carried events of the War Between the States to its conclusion, was shelved after critics savaged “Gods and Generals,” citing what Wikipedia termed its “length, pacing, screenplay, and endorsement of the controversial neo-Confederate ‘Lost Cause’ myth.”

Undoubtedly, “Gods and Generals” is more episodic than its prequel, which indeed centers its action around one pivotal event in the war, the epochal Battle of Gettysburg. And, yes, it is long—the director’s cut is four hours and forty minutes in duration. Yet, “Gettysburg” in its original version is only slightly shorter. But given its thematic unity it succeeds, perhaps, as more theatrical and digestible by a public attuned to simpler plots and more compact storylines. Whereas in “Gettysburg” the viewer watches as events unfold steadily toward an eventual climax that we all know is coming and at the same time manages to engage those who experience it as if—somehow—it is happening now for the first time, “Gods and Generals” is somewhat reminiscent of a mini-series with episodic segments attempting to offer viewers an impression of how the war actually began and how, in its first two years, it was fought.

In a certain sense, then, “Gods and Generals” is akin to a docudrama.  I think here of such filmed efforts as “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (1970) and the two-part drama “Hiroshima” from 1995 (which is over three hours long but in two parts). And I believe this is the best way to judge it and to see it. For throughout its episodic nature it does exactly what it sets out to do—give a broad and panoramic view of major events occurring (albeit mostly in Virginia) in 1861 and 1862 while attempting to infuse life and believability into the history it portrays.

Both films now are roundly condemned as defending “white supremacy” and engaging in “neo-Confederate ideology,” and the celebration of “the myths of the ‘Lost Cause’.” And “Gods and Generals” gets the worst of it. Yet, in many ways, given its unfolding denouement and diverse focus, it succeeds admirably in painting vivid pictures in intimate, and at times endearing, detail of major historical characters.

Some reviewers have written, and I think rightly so, that “Gods and Generals” is in large part a biographical look, a kind of portrayal of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Indeed, much of the film revolves around him, his beliefs, his code of ethics, his brilliant and unparalleled generalship, and his remarkable humanity. Indeed, Stephen Lang’s portrayal of Jackson has been lauded, if begrudgingly, by some reviewers even if they dislike the film.

Then, there is Robert Duvall’s incarnation of Robert E. Lee, and, for me, he simply is Marse Robert, and far more impressive and “real” than Martin Sheen’s assumption in “Gettysburg,” which I found unnatural and too stagey.

I recall viewing the film with friends from work when “Gods and Generals” first showed up in the theaters. Back then we were able to take time off from our jobs to go—but that was 2003, and with the passing of nineteen short years since then I doubt that we could get the same benevolent permission to leave work for such an activity today. And that says a lot—far too much—about how the times and the country have radically changed. From the rumbles of political correctness so visibly apparent, yet not completely dominant, of twenty years ago, to the insane and hysterical full assault on everything, and anything, in and of our Southern heritage, we have descended into a hellish cauldron in which our culture and our people face virtual extinction.

All the more reason to return to films—and they are rare—like “Gods and Generals,” which actually assist us to both see and hear history without the accumulated ideological and poisonous dross that infects almost everything coming out of Hollywood these days. Given the extent of advancing “cancel culture” in our day, we need to treasure films like “Gods and Generals” and “Gettysburg,” as well as others such as “The Conspirator” (2010) and dozens of movies made before this age of cinematic putrefaction.

What I’d like to do, then, following the accusation that “Gods and Generals” is overly long, episodic and perhaps too diffuse, without a certain thematic unity, is to take seven pivotal scenes from the film, each around two or three minutes in length, and offer them in succession (though not necessarily chronologically). Each scene and representation offers, I would suggest, a “key” to the underlying objectives of the movie; that is, what it is attempting to portray, both cinematically and historically. Certainly, there are other significant scenes and moments in a four and half hour film that can be highlighted; but those I have chosen, I believe, are essential in understanding the personalities and critical issues “Gods and Generals” hoped to examine when it appeared in 1993.

So, let’s take a look via Youtube at the scenes I have in mind. Although they take only a total of about 18 minutes, seen in succession they form a natural progression of themes in “Gods and Generals,” and an enticement to go back and spend the time to view the entire film, with perhaps a keener appreciation of its objectives and how they relate to the whole.

First, there is the magnificent scene with Robert E. Lee (played with absolute realism and believability by Robert Duvall), refusing command offered to him of the entire Federal army intended to suppress the “cotton states” and succinctly stating his reasons why (April 1861) (3:55):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeGBpTFZhh4

Then, in logical order Lee’s acceptance (after he had resigned from the US Army and after Virginia had seceded—so there is absolutely NO question of treason at all) of command of the troops of the independent State of Virginia (2:51):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLKofMCiMOE

Both clips in a few well-chosen phrases give the viewer a basic refresher in constitutional theory as understood by the Framers of the Constitution—and enunciated by Lee and the Virginia assembly, essentially framing why there was a war and why Southerner were completely justified in resisting the usurpations of a reckless Federal government, intent on violent anti-constitutional subjugation.

The third clip shows General Jackson before the First Battle of Manassas, invoking the assistance of Almighty God, and connecting the Confederate cause with Godliness and the necessity to defend those God-given rights conferred on his fellow citizens. The Youtube excerpt captures Jackson’s fervent faith, a faith that was shared by his fellow Southerners (1:50):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC_VHIVq0P4

Now, we see General Jackson’s depth of patriotism and devotion to the Cause, and his comprehension that what the new Confederacy was attempting was truly a “Second War for Independence.” One cannot help but be moved by Jackson’s address to the First Brigade. His words resonate today as they did back then (2:31):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkqZncVDxN8

Here we have what we may call the Confederate General Staff as assembled at Fredericksburg for Christmas, 1862. And once again Stonewall Jackson, interacting with a young girl, is moved to encapsulate many of the sincere wishes and longings of Confederates under arms in defense of their homeland and their families (3:29):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59AGVg9VJyg

Next we have General Lee (Duvall), before the Battle of Fredericksburg, poetically recalling his history, his family, and fundamental beliefs that course in the veins of every thinking Southerner whose memory has not been destroyed or polluted by the dominant American culture (1:10):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiJKhs4r4CM

As a final scene in my series, and a defiant reminder of the importance of our heritage and our present duty, I pass on perhaps the most inspiring moment in the film—“The Bonnie Blue Flag,” as sung by the assembled Confederates in winter quarters. Even as “Dixie” is, in a sense, “the national anthem of the South,” “The Bonnie Blue Flag” represents an exultant and militant Southland and its citizens, ready always to do their duty to family and country, under the guidance of and obedience to Almighty God (2:28).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-3WAhbulFs

Thus my vision of how we can see and comprehend some of major points in “Gods and Generals,” and relate to the film historically, by becoming part of it, seeing with the eyes of its characters and fathoming what they were able to recreate historically. Not just a “re-enactment,” but a window into the lives and minds of our ancestors, and a path to a greater understanding of what they did and why they did it.

                                                        May 12, 2023      MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey   Ukraine, the Neoconservatives...