“The South shall rise again!”

“The South shall rise again!” I remember hearing this rebel cry as a Hoosier school boy growing up in the 50’s, as America celebrated the coming centennial of the Civil War. In those days all citizens North and South, Black and White were patriotic and believed in American Exceptionalism.Mississippi is the last state to officially pull down the main symbol of Dixieland. There was not significant opposition. When the frenzied mobs desecrated the statues of heroic Confederate generals and leaders, southerners put up little fight to defend and protect their heritage. Where have the sons and daughters of the Confederacy gone? It appears that the South has finally capitulated except for a few individuals or small group here and there. Certainly, they have taken a knee in the state houses and governors’ mansions. Lee was right to surrender to Grant, who had thoroughly thrashed him on the battlefield. The armies of the South surrendered their arms but not their spirits. After the fighting stopped, veterans and their sons and daughters celebrated for a century “The Lost Cause.”South Carolina was first to secede from the Union and Mississippi was second. These and the other Confederate State of America did so deliberately in their state house in an orderly manner. These were not insurrectionists rioting in the streets and destroying property. They were not anarchists; they believed in the rule of law. They did not believe in majority rule, for the majority in both these states were slaves. Jefferson Davis was a large plantation owner and slave master in Mississippi. When I started ministering on southern campuses in the 70’s, I anticipated distinguishing southerners from their Northern counterparts. I learned quickly that southerners thought no differently than students on northern campuses. Oh, they would give much more lip service to the Christian faith than northerners but they were not living up to the high moral standards of the Bible. The Southern Belle I married is from deep GA, when we first met, she spoke of George Wallace as badly as students in the North. I taught her the positive positions of Wallace and she soon came around.When I visited Cindy at her home, her grandfather asked her one day, “Where did you say this preacher is from? She replied, “Indiana.” He snapped, “I thought he looked like a Yankee.” Cindy once summed up the difference between a Northerner and a Southerner, “They both sin but in the South, you better keep your manners while sinning.” By the 70’s, northern students had long lost both morals and manners but the southern students still maintained their manners. When the nation was preparing to celebrate the Civil War in the early 50’s, the wearing of Civil War caps became the rage among boys at least in the North. I remember trying to decide for days whether to buy a blue or gray cap. My older brother had already bought a gray cap. My mother presented a deciding argument to me, “You are a Northerner. Why don’t you buy a Northern cap?” So, I purchased my blue cap, which I wore proudly and my brother and I and the neighborhood boys played war the summer of ’52. Grant extended to Lee gracious terms of surrender and Lee, always the patrician, respectfully submitted. Years after the war, Grant sent an invitation to Lee to visit him at the White House, which resulted in a short polite conversation. Despite being defeated, Lee did not ever speak disparagingly of Grant.I don’t hear the rebel cry anymore, “The South shall rise again.” Southerners seem to have lost their rebel spirit, as least in the state houses and governors’ mansions. What has happened in Old Dominion is a disgrace, especially considering Virginia is the mother of presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe and others. What the guns of the North could not do, the government schools, Hollywood and the mass media have done–Shot ‘em dead!President Trump is our best hope for restoring law and order to MAGA. I fear that is going to require righteous force. His problem is similar to Lee’s, he can’t find a general who is willing to fight. His generals do not even come close to matching McClellan. Finally, Grant took charge. Trump said the other day, “Grant’s star has been rising as we have seen Lee’s fall.” Trump needs another General U.S. Grant. Trump knows and believes, “There are very good people on both sides.” As for me, even though I bought that blue hat and fought on the side of the North in our boyhood war games, I still have difficulty taking sides because I admire both the Blue and the Gray. There were very good men on both sides.

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