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15 September 2009


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Clifford Kiracofe

I believe at the 1876 Centennial in Philadelphia there was a parade in which Union and Confederate veterans took part marching side by side in an event symbolizing the 13 original colonies. The idea here was to put hard memories behind and look to a common future while remembering a common past.

Another move to put hard memories behind was the creation of the "Dixie Highway" project back in the 1920s.

"The first thoughts of a highway to connect the midwest and the south occured in 1914. At first, the name "Cotton Belt Route" was floated, with a thought to connect Chicago to Jacksonville, Florida, via Atlanta. The organizational meeting for the Dixie Highway Association occured on April 3, 1915 in Chattanooga, TN. The name was chosen to honor "Fifty Years of Peace" between North and South."

Here is the official Dixie Highway Map:

Nancy K

I don't feel Wilson is a racist because he is from the South, I feel he is a racist because of the lack of respect he shows the President of the United States, who happens to be African American. Would he ever have shown that disrespect for a white president, I think not.
I live in California and it appalls me at some of the racist comments I hear from people. It isn't about health care or about the bail out. The bail out was going on before Obama was even elected president. What seems to really gaul people is that a black man is now president of the United States.
Sadly there are racists in every state and every country in the world.
However we in the United States, should not stand for a member of our Congress showing such blatant disregard for our president.

Don Quijote

YouTube - I want my country back

What from? Who has taken it from you?

No racism there...


Only 4% of Democrats are confused about the president's place of birth. The number is slightly higher among independents, 8% of whom got it wrong. Among Republicans, though, 28% -- more than one in four -- believe President Obama was not born in the United States.

For a crazy, demonstrably false, racist idea, these are discouraging numbers.

But I was especially surprised by the regional breakdowns. In the Northeast, West, and Midwest, the overwhelming majorities realize the president is a native-born American. But notice the South -- only 47% got it right and 30% are unsure.

Outside the South, this madness is gaining very little traction, and remains a fringe conspiracy theory. Within the South, it's practically mainstream.

You're going to have to get over the fact that a large number of Whites in the former Confederacy are racists...


I live in Kansas. Believe me, there are racists here. I'm sorry this didn't turn out better. Addison should have manned up and sincerely apologized in the well of the House.

Attacking the South...I don't think we should refight that war. I'm sorry if the South is aggreived. This whole thing could have ended better if Wilson hadn't blamed it on the Democrats. They made him shout "you lie"...? I don't think I get politics.

Can we get past the old North/South thing? Can we accept an African/American President? I can.

P.S.I really hope he isn't listening to the Generals in regards to Afghanistan. That seems to be how Vietnam went.


RE: "What if Wilson were from Ohio, Oklahoma, Indiana or Kansas? What? There are no racists in these places?"

Of course there are racists there. But in the South it's much more overt. Left unsaid in Joe the Wilson's outburst was a third, trailing word. It starts with an "N" and I suspect you can guess what he really wanted to say.

Patrick Lang


I will decide what I will "get over." pl


Caveat: I teach history, and I believe passionately that the Union cause was correct, and that the Confederate cause was nothing less than treason in defense of slavery. That Virginia hesitated was to her credit; that she joined the traitors is lamentable.

The Sons of the Confederate Veterans are, as a group, free to celebrate anything they like. Their fellow citizens are free to point out that their organization commemorates the sacrifices of men who died defending treason. Treason in defense of slavery, no less.


I experienced less racism in Atlanta than in Matthews' hometown of Philadelphia, but the SCV has been stereotype for a few bad apples (or peaches in Wilson's Case).

Sad, but "labels" are how we do business in America today:

1. Support Middle East peace = Anti-Semite or pro al-Qaeda

2. Black President = not American

3. Change the way we do things = Socialist and/or Nazi (is our education system really that bad?)

4. Hispanic on the Supreme Court = not qualified because she is a "quota queen"

5. Member of the "Sons of Confederate Veterans" = racist, redneck, or both


America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. - Abraham Lincoln


I'm Charlestown Boston Irish and we've been painted with the racist brush- for good reason. Not all of us are racist but history is what it is. It doesn't disgust me if I'm viewed with suspicion- I just go on my merry way comfortable with my heritage. A heritage that has some dark chapters. Oh, we're not all bank robbers either, but again it's a well deserved reputation. Complaining about it is kind of like complaining that people are people. And I would add that the south is possibly less racist than the rest of the country. At least based on incarceration rates of blacks compared to whites as a percentage. Although that might be a poverty issue as much as a race issue.

Great blog btw- thank you for doing what you do.

William R. Cumming

It would be easy to view the Wilson outburst as a personal failure but it may be indicative of the continuing and real racial prejudice throughout the US. A personal apology was certainly necessary but by shouting out during the Presidential became an official act requiring offical action. The House has now issued some sort of sanction against Wilson. Whatever the long term success or failure of OBAMA he will always be viewed by history as the first black President even though 1/2 white. That may be is principal legacy but hoping not. This outburst though is some kind of marker as to the reaction to his Presidency whatever the reason and will be interesting to see how it plays out in 2010. Maybe forgotten and maybe not. The history of this country and its racial divisions and relations is still being written. Hoping that the election of OBAMA would mean something of reconciliation between the races apparently not. Clearly an American tragedy.

R Whitman

How did two words "you lie" and a case of bad manners morph into this purported racial incident?

I voted for Obama but now I criticize his Afganistan policy and I think that he has made a mess out of his heath care initiative. Does that make me a racist or just a unhappy citizen?

Cold War Zoomie

Here's a thought. I won't go into the details about why I'm wondering this...it's too complex for me to put to words without a lot of work:

Let's say Obama's roots were actually from a slave family in Alabama and his surname was Turner or Carter. And rather than cutting his political teeth in Chicago he did so in Birmingham or Atlanta, after attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Hell, let's really sweeten the pot and say he played football under Bear Bryant!

Would Joe Wilson still have called him a liar?

Being a Yankee "liberal" from Chicago may have more to do with this than race.

Subkommander Dred

Like yourself, I am a Son of the South. I was born in the Commonwealth of Virginia. After much wandering over the years, have returned and made it my home, and I suspect some day I shall die here. I even have a tattoo of the Great Seal of Virginia on my upper arm (yes, the one of Virtue [Fortutado] standing atop a dead tyrant, holding a spear) complete with the phrase 'Sic Semper Tyrannis' underneath . I had it put on my arm in 2005 in reaction to the re-election of George W. Bush. In fact, I tried get to the tattooist to put W's likeness on the face of the dead tyrant, but it would have required a level of detail that would have made the design impractical, and besides, would I have really wanted GWB's image on my arm for the rest of my life? I think not.
That being the case, Joe the Wilson stikes me as an average, run of the mill idiot. Whether he's a racist I'll let others decide, but he is definitely an ungracious and mendacious cretin. It's not because he's a white guy from the south, or he belongs the the SOC: he's a rube with just enough smarts to get elected, and not enough class to keep his mouth shut in a joint session of congress being addressed by the President. The fact that his shouted 'YOU LIE' was also wrong regarding the facts of the legislation being cited by President Obama further underlies his cluelessness.
Yes, there is a lot of racism down here...just like I saw in Boston during my time as a EMS Paramedic in that area years ago, or out in California during a stint as an ER nurse some time back. Whenever you find differences in human beings, you'll always find someone willing to take advantage of that for political gain. I would like to think that someday these folks can be marginalized, but human nature being what it is, I fear that is day that will never come.

Pete Deer
Charlottesville, Virginia

Sidney O. Smith III

After reading the Charleston and Columbia papers, I don’t exactly see people lining the roads in SC in support of Wilson’s inexcusable behavior. But far easier to project onto other cultures than look in the mirror -- it is the Chris Matthews way (whose silence on the ethnic cleansing in Gaza says all.)

Apparently, the Matthews way is the American way and probably has been from the beginning. Kagan and other neocons has certainly picked up on this arrogance -- the “we are here to enlighten the world” approach -- to attempt to justify an imperialistic agenda that kills untold numbers of innocent civilians. No wonder Drudge report (NY based, I believe) is supporting Wilson.

And I suppose it is very easy to gloss over that Jimmy Carter, from Plains, Georgia, has criticized Wilson more than about anyone else.

Carter believes the WBS could have been avoided: He wrote that Lincoln “ignores the fact that the tragic combat might have been avoided altogether, and that the leaders of both sides, overwhelmingly Christian, were violating a basic premise of their belief as followers of the Prince of Peace“ He further wrote, "A legitimate question for historians is how soon the blight of slavery would have been terminated peacefully in America, as in Great Britain and other civilized societies."

As MLK Jr. so well noted after spending a summer in Chicago, racism outside of the South has a virulence of its own, so much so that MLK Jr. was glad to get back to Atlanta.

And this racism has been with us from the beginning. De Tocqueville believed racism in the North was worse than that of the South. And just google the Rock Springs Massacres to see how well Northerners accepted those of another race in 1885. Or Chinatown. Or Boston during the beginning of desegregation (contrasted to Atlanta, where desegregation took place several years earlier).

And to be fair, check out what happened to the Korean community during the LA riots. But far easier to ignore looking within one‘s self or around one‘s neighborhood.

And in 2009, a remarkable development in Atlanta is materializing -- one that suggests that any hope of a post racial society emerging in America may very well indeed arise out of South.

Atlanta, which has a majority of blacks, is poised to elect its first white mayor since Sam Massell in 1969 (who is Jewish).

More than that, the black candidates running for mayor have called bigoted an attempt by some black college professors to urge Atlantans to play the race card to prevent the election of a white candidate.

Of course, the South has problems. No doubt. And the rapturists ministers are not helping, imo. But, in many ways, those dining at a Waffle House in Jackson Mississippi are more along the road of reaching a genuine post racial society than those from the Yale faculty club who simply cannot look within.

Pres Graves

Lack of good manners aside, there does not seem to be much discussion of the facts involving the inclusion of undocumented aliens in US health care. I believe the House had rejected an amendment to require proof of citizenship. Lack of a check is equivalent to inclusion.

The bills as presented include a lot of hidden agenda items that work by second or third order processes to achieve results that would not pass open disclosure. Perhaps the largest example is the introduction of a subsidized insurance system that would destroy private insurance without outlawing it.

The entire deionization of private insurance is disingenuous. Obama says insurance takes the largest profit from the system. Studies show insurance costs and profit are about 3%, the government already takes about 10% in taxes and filing costs.




I appreciate you're consistency on this subject. However, some of the posters here just couldn't wait to jump on the racist bandwagon.

Let me get this straight, all white members of congress can not say anything negative about Obama because that means they are racist. So, they should just let him continue to lead America into socialism?

I'm also sure that all of you were the first to come to Sarah Palin's defense for the vitriolic ans sexistist comments that she was subjected to. I'm also very sure you were also coming to John McCain's defense when he was portrayed as incompetent because of his age.

Obama is black, so what. He's also a politician, and politicians lie no matter what color or party they are.

So get over yourselves, black people are racist too. Have you ever heard Jesse Jackson off the record? Or how about Jeremiah Wright? You know him don't you? He was Obama's "crazy uncle" for the past 20 years of his life.

The point Kool Aid drinkers, is that up here in the Union of the Northeast we have racist whites and blacks. The only difference is that the blacks know they can get away with with it.


Generalizations are always wrong. (Wait, a minute, that was a generalization!)

I suspect that investigating anyone's ancestors far enough would uncover a long list of crimes and moral offenses, so I am quite convinced that there was good in the perpetrators as well. (Otherwise, how could we, their descendants, be so good?) The corollary to this of course is that there is some good in people who do bad things in the current generations of humanity. Yes, even including jihadists and the GWB administration.


Colonel Lang,

One of your correspondents accused Confederates of Treason.
Article III Section III of the Constitution defines Treason - "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them." [Please note the plural "them".]
Lincoln "levied war" against at least 13 of the States in the "them" referred to in the Constitution.

USMC 1965-1972
FBI 1972-1996

New Orleans

As a longtime resident of Louisiana who grew up in Ohio, I can say without hesitation that racism is omnipresent.

When I lived in the North, I was confident things were worse in the South. When I moved South, I came to believe the hate was more insidious in the North.

But I simply don't know anymore. I only know that far too many white Southerners blame all their problems on (to quote one individual) "that f...g n...r president." And I've no doubt the Dishonorable Joe Wilson was thinking those very words as the president spoke.

The day of Obama's inauguration, I had great hope for our country. Today, that hope is gone. The only reason I'm hanging on is that I'm determined not to let the bastards win.


Thank you R. Whitman @ 7:15AM and CWZoomie @ 8:15AM.

Same questions, thoughts, and, as usual, wondering how much is pure TeeVee Tossery.

Patrick Lang


I have managed to restrain myself over the "treason" thing, but just barely. pl

Byron Raum

I am fairly certain that Wilson is getting a free pass. Everyone assumes that his interjection was spontaneous. I do not believe so. It was calculated to capitalize on the racist attitudes against immigrants. He wants to be the leader of these people. Apology or not, he has succeeded.

John Siscoe

To blame a region, a race, or a people for the actions of an individual is always an error. The fact that it is a common error does not excuse or diminish it.

Col. Lang, you are right be disgusted. Boors and bigots come from all points of the compass. I see a Joe Wilson most every day. It's been a while now, but I remember catching a good look at him in my bathroom mirror.

Cloned Poster

Great comments on Pat's post about North v South dichotomy, Europe did WW1 and WW2 after the great founders.

Methinks that the current civil war in the US is being played out in the poppy fields of Afghanistan.

The Moar You Know

Nightsticker and Colonel Lang:

I will not debate the ludicrousness of the charges of racism being levied against the entire South. There are racists there. There are just as many here in San Diego, CA. Probably more here in California, if the brutal truth be told.

This posting is about something else, a manner on which I feel quite strongly and take issue with your position on.

I am the last Southern-born member of a family whose tenure in the South was unbroken for well over two hundred years. My ancestors fought in both the Revolutionary War, and on the Confederate side of the War Between The States. I am proud of those men who are my ancestors. I have the documentation, and am eligible, to join the Sons of the Confederacy. I am certain I would also qualify for the SCV, in spite of my lack of racism (sarcasm fully intended).

My ancestors were good men, honorable men, and they went off to war with the knowledge that they could and likely would die, but at least they were going to die for a cause they believed in.

However, an inescapable fact remains; they took up arms against the nation of their birth.

Out of respect for the already offended sensibilities of both of you, men who I respect greatly, I shall not call that crime by its name, but that crime of taking up arms against one's own nation does have a name, and you both know very well what it is.

This is the inescapable curse of being a Southerner; the knowledge that although your family fought, and probably died, with bravery and a clarity of purpose that us moderns can only dream of today, that those men who are our ancestors died in the commission of the most despicable of all crimes.

Those who are my good friends know that I don't rest easily with this. Explaining one's Southern ancestry to a bunch of Californians (I have lived here since I was a child) is a difficult thing full of chances for misunderstandings. However, it has forced an honest awareness of what it means to be a Southerner on me - both the good and the bad - an awareness I'm not sure one can gain by remaining in the South.

Peace to you both. I profoundly hope I have not offended by sharing my observations.

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