Sunday, January 21, 2018

Birthday of Thomas Jonathon “Stonewall” Jackson

By Brion McClanahan (https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/blog/thomas-j-stonewall-jackson/)

This essay is part of the chapter “Southerners” in Brion McClanahan’s  The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes.  

The Northern essayist and Republican partisan E.L. Godkin wrote following the death of “Stonewall” Jackson in 1863 that Jackson was “the most extraordinary phenomenon of this extraordinary war. Pure, honest, simple-minded, unselfish, and brave, his death is a loss to the whole of America, for, whatever be the result of this war, the United States will enjoy the honor of having bred and educated him.” Godkin claimed him because he recognized that Jackson was more than a representative of the South, he was an American hero, pure and simple.
Jackson was born in 1824 in Clarksburg, Virginia. While the Jacksons had a solid reputation in America, they came from humble beginnings. Both his great-grandfather and great-grandmother arrived in America as indentured servants having both been convicted of theft. They fell in love on the voyage over, and once they had satisfied their indentures, married and moved to the frontier where they acquired vast tracts of land. Both Jackson’s great-grandfather and grandfather served with distinction in the American War for Independence and his great-grandmother used the Jackson homestead as a refuge for dislocated American settlers during the war.
Jackson’s father died when he was a boy, something both Jackson and Lee shared in common, and his mother, left with a crushing debt, sold their farm and moved to a one-room rental. Jackson was only six and was left an orphan when his mother died five years later. After bouncing between relatives for a few years, Jackson eventually settled on his uncle’s frontier farm. He was largely self-educated and even taught one of his uncle’s slaves how to read and write.
Though he lacked a formal education and had difficulty with the entrance exams, Jackson was admitted to West Point in 1842. He was at the bottom of his class, but he studied with a dogged determination that became a well-known character trait, and by the time he graduated in 1846, he was seventeenth out of fifty-nine cadets. Jackson did not choose the military because he longed to be a soldier. What Jackson wanted most was to sharpen his character as a man. The military, in his mind, offered the best opportunity for success and respect. He is known for his military acumen, but his career and the famous decisions he made in battle were shaped by his character. Like Washington and Lee, the War did not define them, they defined the War.
Jackson was socially awkward as a young man and had several eccentricities throughout his life, often to the amusement of his contemporaries. Unlike Lee and many Virginians from the tidewater region, he did not have the social refinement typical of Southern gentlemen. But Jackson was the perfect example of what Thomas Jefferson and other members of the founding generation considered the “natural aristocracy.” In addition to honesty, integrity and determination—while a West Point cadet informed his cousin that, “I can do anything I will to do”—Jackson had talent, a keen mind, and the ability to make quick, correct decisions on the battlefield. He would have been successful in any endeavor he chose.
Like many generals on both sides in the War Between the States, Jackson received his first taste of combat in the Mexican War. He was commissioned a second lieutenant and saw action as part of the 1st U.S. Artillery Regiment. He was awarded more battlefield promotions than any other American officer during the war and garnered Winfield Scott’s highest regard when the conflict was over. Jackson exhibited the calmness in battle that later earned him the nickname “Stonewall” during the War Between the States. He had a cannon ball land between his legs, stood his ground under a hail of led at Chapultepec, and encouraged his men to fight because, in his words, “I am not hit!” His bravery was never questioned.
It was also during the Mexican War that Jackson reinforced his Christian beliefs. If there is any surviving legacy from Thomas Jackson, it is that of the ideal Christian soldier, or perhaps the model Christian man. His unflinching actions on the battlefield were guided by his resolute Christian faith. He flirted with Catholicism while in Mexico (and became somewhat fluent in Spanish), was baptized in the Episcopal Church, and finally settled on Presbyterianism upon his return to Virginia. A common description of Jackson is that he lived by the New Testament but fought by the Old. He was a warm, tender, dutiful and faithful husband. His second wife, Mary Anna, wrote he, “was a great advocate for marriage, appreciating the gentler sex so highly that whenever he met one of the “unappropriated blessings” under the type of truest womanhood, he would wish that one of his bachelor friends could be fortunate enough to win her” (his first wife died in childbirth).
Jackson spent tens years as an instructor of artillery at the Virginia Military Institute. He was not well liked by the students or the alumni and received the nickname “Tom Fool.” His uncle and mother had been teachers, but Jackson did not receive their gift of pedagogy. He memorized his lectures and answered questions by repeating what he had previously memorized. A second question from a student resulted in punishment. Yet, Jackson took his duty as a Christian man seriously with his students and the black population of Lexington, Virginia. He began every lecture with a prayer in the hope that his students would be encouraged by the word of God, and he led Sunday school classes for the black population, both free and slave, of Lexington.
Jackson owned no more than six slaves as an adult. Four were given as a wedding gift, and two requested that he purchase them so they could work for a man of Jackson’s kind temperament. He honored their request. One of his slaves was a young girl with a learning disability given to his wife as a gift. Like Lee, Jackson never made any statements in support of slavery. He was typical of many Southerners in his belief that slavery was ordained by God, that slaves had been given that burden by the hand of God, and that as a Christian man he was required to be a kind master. His pastor described his relationship to the black population of Lexington as thus: “In their religious instruction he succeeded wonderfully. His discipline was systematic and firm, but very kind. … His servants reverenced and loved him, as they would have done a brother or father. … He was emphatically the black man’s friend.” Jackson either freed his slaves or hired them out during the War Between the States.
Jackson was not a secessionist. He remained relatively neutral in the events leading to the “Secession Winter” of 1860 and 1861, but like Lee, once Virginia determined to leave the Union, he supported the cause with a vigor virtually unmatched by anyone south of the Mason-Dixon. He preferred waging an aggressive, punishing war on the North, of taking the bayonet to the enemy in the enemy’s territory, but though his strategic assessment of the military situation in 1861 was probably correct and may have won the South the War, he was overruled by the more conservative members of the military brain-trust, most importantly President Jefferson Davis. The War, they argued, had to be a just, defensive cause to preserve the South. Lee shared Jackson’s advocacy of an offensive war, but differed in the scope of such a conflict. The two men, however, would serve as the perfect one-two punch during the early years of the War Between the States. Jackson was the ideal complement to Lee’s selectively aggressive style.
“Stonewall” Jackson earned his famous nickname during the first major engagement of the War, the First Battle of Manassas. His early efforts during the War involved organizing and training several companies of Virginia volunteers in the Shenandoah Valley. “Stonewall’s Brigade” as they would be called was perhaps the best trained and disciplined group of men in the Southern army. They were also affectionately referred to as the “foot cavalry” for their ability, at their commander’s firm insistence, to ignore pain, suffering, and sickness in their long, quick marches against the enemy. These men saved the day at Manassas in July 1861 by standing firm against a punishing Union assault on Henry House Hill. General Bernard Bee of South Carolina said after seeing Jackson and his men holding the line in the face of the onrushing Union army, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians!” There is some debate as to whether Bee, soon killed in combat, was leveling praise or scorn on Jackson. Either way, the nickname stuck.
This was typical Jackson. The lead was flying, the situation tense, and Jackson steadily and bravely stared down the enemy. Because of Jackson and his men, what looked to be an early Union victory turned into a Confederate rout, and a legend was born. Jackson was once asked how he could stand so calm in the face of battle. He responded that his belief in God, his firm Christianity, made him as safe on the battlefield as in his bed. His death was not his choosing and he was as prepared for it in peace as he was in war.
Jackson’s fame only grew. With fewer men (often outnumbered 4 to 1), he punished and tied up the Union army in the Shenandoah Valley, a campaign that is still studied in West Point today. His penchant for relentless attack struck fear into the hearts of the Union command. At one point, a large detachment of Union men evacuated a town on the mere suspicion that Jackson was going to attack. He was, but his men were probably too sick and tired to fight. Such is the benefit of a disorienting, hard hitting approach to battle. No one knew where Jackson was, and no one could expect what he would do next. His unconventional approach to warfare was pure military genius. Jackson understood human nature better than most, particularly during what Karl von Clausewitz called the “fog of war.” Most men did not share his calmness in the face of fire and would shrink when the action was too hot. Jackson always turned up the heat.
His most brilliant strategic plan would ultimately be his last. Jackson orchestrated the Confederate attack at Chancellorsville in 1863. He persuaded Lee to split his army, sending Jackson’s corps to assault the Union right flank while Lee held them off at Fredericksburg. It was a risky maneuver, for they were outnumbered two-to-one, but with expert reconnaissance, Jackson formed a surprise attack that pushed the Union right flank back against the Rappahannock River in classic double envelopment. His quick strike led to fluid lines as the Union troops were running from the Confederate assault. Jackson, in the twilight, was scouting his forward position when the 18th North Carolina Infantry confused him and his staff for a Union detachment. They fired, striking Jackson three times. His left arm was amputated, but it was pneumonia that took Jackson’s life one week later.
He was mindful of his situation until the end, saying he always wanted to die on a Sunday. God granted him his wish. His last words, “Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade of the trees,” were a fitting end to Jackson’s life. He had found peace in war. The Confederate cause, however, would never be the same. Lee struggled to replace Jackson’s aggressive tactics and claimed later in life that had Jackson had been alive during the Battle of Gettysburg, the outcome would have been different, and the South would have won her independence. Fate intervened. The historian James Robertson called Jackson “a man of arms surrounded by faith,” and said Jackson’s biography was “the life story of an extraordinary man who became a general.” He was more than a master military mind. Jackson, as one of his former students said, was “a soldier of the cross.”

Friday, January 19, 2018

Robert E. Lee, Man of Honor - A Birthday Rememberance

by Louis DeBroux, Jan. 19, 2018 (https://patriotpost.us/articles/53563-robert-e-lee-man-of-honor)

Today marks the 211th anniversary of the birth of Robert Edward Lee, best remembered as General-in-Chief of the Confederate army during the War Between the States. Living as we do in a day when history is oft forgotten — or deliberately rewritten and its monuments destroyed — it is worthwhile to consider the legacy of such an iconic American figure.
Robert E. Lee was born on Jan. 19, 1807, in northeastern Virginia, to Anne Hill Carter Lee and Revolutionary War hero Colonel Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee. The elder Lee was a cavalry leader under General George Washington who was later elected governor of Virginia, and then to Congress.
Sadly, Henry Lee’s reputation was tarnished by financial troubles, and he traveled to the West Indies when Robert was six years old, never returning. It was under these circumstances that Robert was raised by his mother, who instilled in him a strong sense of honor and duty.
In 1825, Lee received an appointment to West Point, graduating second in his class and entering the distinguished Engineer Corps. In 1831, he married Mary Anna Randolph Custis, great-granddaughter of George Washington’s wife Martha and her first husband, Daniel P. Custis. As a result of the marriage, the Lees inherited both land and slaves.
It was in 1846, during the Mexican War, that Lee first rose to prominence. Serving under Major General Winfield Scott, he received three brevets for gallantry for leading efforts to seize or avoid Mexican strongholds. In September 1852, Lee returned to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as its superintendent.
In 1859, having returned East to settle the estate of his father-in-law, Lee was dispatched by the War Department to retake the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, which had been captured by radical abolitionist John Brown and his followers. Lee oversaw a detachment of U.S. Marines, who recaptured the arsenal with no loss of life.
Though the issue of slavery had been a contentious one for decades, the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 was the breaking point, leading several Deep South states to secede and form a new country, the Confederate States of America.
Lee was offered the rank of brigadier general in the new army of the Confederacy, but he declined. Around the same time, in April 1861, at the recommendation of his former superior, General Winfield Scott, Lee was offered command of the Army of the Potomac by President Lincoln.
This was a time of great anguish for Lee, who opposed both secession (along with Jubal Early and Stonewall Jackson, later generals under Lee) and slavery.
Of slavery, Lee wrote, “In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country.” Following the death of his wife’s father, Lee freed more than 100 slaves he’d inherited. Lee and his wife also established a school for slaves, a brave endeavor considering it was illegal to do so in Virginia.
Of secession, he wrote, “I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, & I am willing to sacrifice every thing but honour for its preservation…”
It was under this cloud of conflicting loyalties and beliefs that Lee was called upon to choose sides in the coming conflict. In the end, his loyalty was first and foremost with Virginia. As Lee told a friend, “If Virginia stands by the old Union, so will I. But if she secedes (though I do not believe in secession as a constitutional right, nor that there is sufficient cause for revolution), then I will follow my native State with my sword, and, if need be, with my life.”
When Lincoln called for tens of thousands of Union soldiers to head south to preserve the Union by force (something James Madison, during the Constitutional Convention, said would be tantamount to a declaration of war against a state), the decision was made for Lee and thousands of other soldiers who had once worn Union blue. Virginia, which had previously voted 2-to-1 against secession, responded to Lincoln’s call-to-arms by voting 2-to-1 in favor.
Upon reading of Virginia’s secession and entrance into the Confederacy, Lee said to his wife, “Well, Mary, the question is settled.”
He wrote to General Winfield Scott, offering thanks and sincere regret, explaining, “I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the army, and save in defense of my native state … I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword.” Soon thereafter, Lee accepted a commission as a general in the Confederate army. “Let each man resolve to be victorious,” he told his officers, “and that the right of self-government, liberty, and peace shall find him a defender.”
Lee’s brilliance as a military leader is legendary. Like George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Lee fought an army far larger, better armed, better provisioned and better trained than his own. Also like Washington, Lee was revered and loved by his men.
In June 1862, Lee assumed command of wounded General Joseph E. Johnston’s army, renaming it the Army of Northern Virginia. It became the most victorious of all Confederate armies. With sharp and loyal generals like James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart, James Longstreet and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson under his command, Lee’s army continually out-smarted, out-maneuvered and out-fought the Union armies, even when badly outnumbered.
In the early years of the war, Lee’s armies achieved major victories in the Seven Days Battles, Shenandoah Valley, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.
However, for the Confederate army, these victories came with a steep price. Though inflicting huge losses on the Union army, the South suffered losses of their own and, with far fewer soldiers than the Union army enjoyed, it became a war of attrition. Lee knew he needed to act boldly to win the war quickly and decisively.
With many in the North disillusioned after seeing a war they expected to be brief turn into a long and bloody nightmare, and calling for Lincoln to negotiate a peace with the Confederacy, Lee believed that dealing a devastating defeat to the North on its home soil would bring Lincoln to the negotiating table.
Lee’s first attempt turned disastrous when a dispatch with his battle plans was misplaced and fell into the hands of Union General George McClellan. The element of surprise lost, Lee’s army still fought fiercely at Antietam, in what was the single bloodiest day of battle, inflicting 12,400 casualties while sustaining 10,100 of their own. Though McClellan’s forces suffered greater losses, it was considered a loss for Lee, who was forced to turn back south.
Lee’s second and final attempt at victory on Northern soil occurred July 1-3, 1863, at Gettysburg. Though historians have long debated the particulars, the general consensus is that Confederate forces were plagued by poor communication, bad intelligence and the decision by Lee to throw everything he had at the well-entrenched Union army, regardless of the cost.
Lee spent two days trying to break the Union line with artillery bombardment and frontal assaults, leading to massive casualties for his army. Dismissing the objections of General Longstreet (and perhaps more importantly without counsel of the recently killed Stonewall Jackson), Lee ordered continued frontal assaults, resulting in his men being cut down by Union artillery from entrenched positions. The results were devastating.
On the final day of the battle, and again over the objections of Longstreet, Lee ordered Major General George Pickett on a frontal assault of Union General George G. Meade’s heavily fortified position despite having no artillery support. Pickett’s men fought valiantly for Lee, but it was a suicide mission. Those soldiers who did manage to break through the Union line were quickly repelled. At Gettysburg, Lee lost nearly a third of his entire army.
In a moment that displayed his true greatness, however, and why his men adored him.  Lee did something that generals rarely do; he accepted blame. Riding among the retreating wounded, he lamented, “It’s all my fault … I am very sorry — the task was too great for you — but we mustn’t despond.” Later that night, speaking to a cavalry officer, Lee said, “I never saw troops behave more magnificently than Pickett’s division of Virginians.”
Gettysburg proved the turning point of the war. Short on arms and supplies, and casualties mounting, Lee was forced to retreat south and fight defensively for the remainder of the war. Later victories came with great loss of Confederate soldiers, and Lee knew he’d reached an end.
Though many of his commanders and soldiers urged him to continue fighting a guerilla war, Lee immediately dismissed such talk, and on April 9, 1865, with less than 10,000 soldiers remaining in his army and unwilling to shed additional blood in a losing cause, Confederate General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant (who, ironically, was also a slave-owner before the war) at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia.
After the war, Lee became one of the chief proponents of reconciliation between North and South. He was paroled and later served as president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia, a position he held until his death on Oct. 12, 1870.
Lee was a true son of the Old South. Words like “honor,” “loyalty” and “duty” defined the code he lived by, while also making him a man of seeming contradictions.
Though some today condemn Lee for leading the Confederate armies, we would do well to consider how his former enemies saw him. Upon his passing, the following eulogy was published in the New York Herald:
For not to the Southern people alone shall be limited the tribute of a tear over the dead Virginian. Here in the North, forgetting that the time was when the sword of Robert Edward Lee was drawn against us, forgetting and forgiving all the years of bloodshed and agony, we have long since ceased to look upon him as the Confederate leader, but have claimed him as one of ourselves; have cherished and felt proud of his military genius as belonging to us; have recounted and recorded his triumphs as our own; have extolled his virtue as reflecting upon us for Robert Edward Lee was an American, and the great nation which gave him birth would be to-day unworthy of such a son if she regarded him lightly.
He conquered us in misfortune by the grand manner in which he sustained himself, even as he dazzled us by his genius when the tramp of his soldiers resounded through the valleys of Virginia. And for such a man we are all tears and sorrow to-day. … As a slaveholder, he was beloved by his slaves for his kindness and consideration toward them.
In his death our country has lost a son of whom she might well be proud, and for whose services she might have stood in need had he lived a few years longer, for we are certain that, had occasion required it, General Lee would have given to the United States the benefit of all his great talents.“
Robert Edward Lee was revered in his day for his military genius, and loved for his bravery, honor and loyalty. Though leading the fight in a losing cause, there was much about him that is worth emulating today — which is why we remember him still.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Knoxville News Sentinel Removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest statue was Monumental Art Heist"

Removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest statue was monumental art heist


The Tennessee Legislature convenes Tuesday, and the hot ticket will be the debate over Memphis’ obvious defiance of the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act and status of the Nathan B. Forrest statue.

Mayor Jim Strickland and the city council snubbed the 2013 law, which makes it illegal to remove historical monuments or rename public parks without majority approval of the Tennessee Historical Commission. The Memphis City Council passed a law this past September that lets them sell city parks for less than market value to nonprofit organizations.
A month later Shelby County Commissioner Van D. Turner, Jr. created the private nonprofit Memphis Greenspace, Inc. to whom the city council voted to sell the Health Sciences and Fourth Bluff parks to on December 20. The properties, which are valued at more than $2 million each, were purchased by Turner for the total sum of $2,000.
At 9:01 that night– giving a nod to activists or area code, police officers were summoned and cranes removed the monuments of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Nathan B. Forrest amid news crews and fanfare. Commissioner Turner has said they are working with the descendants of Forrest in regards to Nathan B. Forrest and his wife’s remains, which are also buried at the park where his statue stood.
The most troubling matter in the wake of the removal was the lack of comment or outrage from Tennessee public historians setting the dangerous precedent of throwing all public monuments to the fate of current political whims. Some even praised the actions for reasons as maudlin as the activists on both sides of the issue – showing little or no professional objectivity for what appears to be a surreptitious end run around a state law they’re charged to uphold.

Since time immemorial, a region, state, or nation’s sophistication is judged by the preservation and protection of monuments and structures of its past. Every great land has them. They’re preserved for artistic reasons, cultural ones, or even in spite, as a reminder of a time that was.

Memphis’ N.B. Forrest monument is no different. It was created by Charles Niehaus – one of the most preeminent sculptors in U.S. history. It’s marble base quarried from the Ross Marble Company of Knoxville – also a recognized national historic site in the city’s Ijams Nature Center. The likeness is a certified work of fine art regarded as one of the three best equestrian statues in the United States.

Niehaus was paid $25,000 in 1901 to create it – the equivalent of $676,000 in today’s money and all of it raised from private donations. He set up camp in Memphis and poured over illustrations, paintings, and photographs of Nathan Bedford Forrest. He talked to those who knew him and even retrieved the measurements Forrest’s personal tailor kept on file so Niehaus could create a historically accurate representation of the uniform he wore in battle. The artist spent months finding the proper horse to use, made a cast of Forrest’s original sword, saddle accoutrements, and finally located a Prussian cavalry officer to act as his model and provide the proper bearing of a cavalryman on horseback. He sculpted it in his New York City studio over a three-year period and then sent it to Paris, France for bronze casting at what historians call “the well-known foundry of E. Guret June.”

It was actually the foundry of E. Gruet, Jeune. Rather well known in 1904, but a legend today for the bronze work the family did for European sculptors of the era, including Auguste Rodin. Company founder Charles Gruet had two sons and, by 1903, it had finally passed to the younger one Edmond, who used the word “Jeune” on his signature to denote the fact.

Charles Niehaus delivered an original top-shelf sculpture to the City of Memphis. 30,000 people turned out for its unveiling and millions have seen it since. Niehaus, who died in 1935, went on to create other famous works. He has more sculptures in National Statuary Hall than any other artist and his work adorns U.S. monuments across the nation. His smallest creations, when available, sell at auction for $4,000 -15,000. A one and a half times life-sized statue of a man regarded as one of the most noted cavalry generals in military history is priceless.

Regardless of someone’s stance on the contributions of the man the statue represents, it’s a genuine state treasure that belongs to the people of Tennessee. Its care entrusted to Memphis, who sold it to a County Commissioner for $1,000 – seemingly pulling off the biggest art theft in U.S. political history.

Ed Hooper is a documentary producer and writer based in Knoxville.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Alabama Secession Day - 11 January 1861

Today we celebrate in remembrance the secession of the great state of Alabama from the voluntary union known as the United States of America and the establishment of the Republic of Alabama. Below you see pictured the beautiful Republic of Alabama Flag which has different facings on each side. 





Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Prattville Dragoons Commander's Column for January 2018

From the SCV Camp 1524 Camp Dispatch.

Commander's Column: Espousing a Division of North and South


I was fascinated by a tweet referencing a Huffington Post column I saw a month ago which was posted by a Southern heritage account, about the only kind I have the camp follow on Twitter.  The article was entitled “Now is the Perfect Time for the North and South to Divide” (by David Fagin, https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5a0a7d78e4b00652392183ab/amp).  Seems this self-proclaimed writer-musician-Trump Resister found common ground with the Southern secessionists.  The general premise as well as many statements from this libtard columnist I found on point while others were, shall we say, illuminating and illustrative of exactly how disparate the alt-left populaces of the Northeast and left coast are to the flyover Bible Belt and nations heartland.
“These are trying times. The more proof that emerges revealing the overwhelming majority of our country’s most powerful leaders are nothing but a bunch of corrupt criminals and traitors, the more their supporters will deny it.  On one side, we have a population that relies on facts, truth, fair play, and common sense.”  True, right?  But wait, hold onto your breeches.   Fagin continues, “Who the hell knows what they rely on?  Fox news, fake news, hackers, conspiracy theories, coal mines, fraud, misdirection, racism, stupidity, ignorance, warm beer, Jesus (a Jesus who hates anyone and anything that isn’t Christian), Trump, and guns.  And more guns.” Just take a moment to take in that perverted perspective.  While there is a consensus opinion that it is left leaning mainstream media outlets responsible for fake news, this writer-musician-resister attempts to label right leaning alternative media as the purveyors of fake news and conspiracy theories.  Just please ignore the revelations of campaign operatives paying for sexual harassment claimants and dirt dossiers.  And that coal accounts for 30.4% of the United States balanced electricity generation portfolio. Of course, we are white Southerners which automatically makes us racists. But you have to love these agnostic atheist Unitarian Universalist Scientologists preaching about Jesus and Christianity.  Remember, if you don’t accept and endorse their position you are a hater so hence, if a Christian espouses a Christian perspective of heterosexual monogamy and the doctrine of  John 14:6 where Jesus proclaims, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”, they are a bigoted homophobic intolerant xenophobe.
It gets better.  We would all agree with Fagin’s statement, “The fight to preserve common sense and rational thought is on.  Those who believe in the basic principles this country was founded on vs. those who seek to destroy them and rewrite them as they see fit.”  Those of us who recognize the War for Southern Independence as a struggle to retain originalist constitutional governance may be appalled that the alt-left believes they are the stalwarts of liberty and sovereignty. They attempt to brand Southerners clinging to their Bibles, guns and monuments as racist bigots when they incessantly unrelentingly attack all vestiges of Southern heritage different from them.  But, he’s correct, “Be it in the media, on social media, in the classroom, at the grocery store, the office, the neighborhood bar, at the dinner table, pretty much everywhere you look the hatred and vitriol spewing forth, from both sides, has reached epidemic proportion.”  But he continues, “Even though those of us who believe in equality, and the ridiculous concept of Live and Let Live (excepting of for course human fetuses), know we are right, trying to convince those who choose ignorance over truth, and hate over love, is exhausting.”  So glad these pacifists for truthful Planned Parenthood baby organ peddling, Antifa militant methods of silencing opposition and, razing monuments are choosing love over hate.  I would fear to see otherwise.
But Fagin again states a truthful perspective in observing, “Neither one seems to wish to budge an inch. Compromise is a pipe dream.”  He supposes, “If we continue to devolve and descend down this fruitless path of self-destruction, snapping at and dismissing each other at every single turn, is it that far-fetched to think we may find ourselves thrown into a Civil War 2.0 somewhere in the not too distant future?  Everywhere you look, our country is being overrun with pedophiles, fake news peddlers, fear mongers, bigots, racists, homophobes, morons, etc., and that’s just Alabama.”  Thought y’all would like that dig there.  Again, as white Southern Christian, don’t attempt to deny you are a moronic fear mongering, racist, bigoted homophobe. Incidentally, worldatlas.com in an April 2017 article “Number of Sex Offenders By State” showed California, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois and Washington holding eight of the top nine spots of state ranking of the number of sex offenders.  Don’t let facts and statistics stand in the way of a good dig though. 
       Fagin goes on and I’ll just let him astound you in his own revealing illustrative words.  “There may be a solution that works well for both sides. For those of us in the liberal-leaning northern states, the ones where “I now pronounce you husband and husband,” aren’t words that would cause a riot in the streets, why not just let them go?  Let them have their child-molesting congressmen, their confederate monuments, their ten commandments, their merger of church and state, their automatic weapons, their climate change denial, their Muslim bans, their lies-as-truth, their eggs and grits, their state-run health care, their stock car races, their medieval laws, their corporate tax cuts, their abortion bills, their humidity, etc. Let. Them. Go.  A two-nation, two-government system.  Complete with two different Presidents and two different Constitutions.  Is it such a bad idea?  We are already the Divided States of America, and there doesn’t seem to be any hope of reversing course, so rather than force one side to assimilate to the other - which would do nothing but assure us of years more of the same, or worse, why not accept it and make the unavoidable separation as palatable as possible?  Before all hell breaks loose, we need to do something about it before it’s too late.  For those currently in the South who may find themselves on the wrong end of the laws in this newly divided two-nation system, relocate.  Sure, it may be a little colder moving from Arkansas to New Jersey, but what’s more important, your comfort or your freedoms?  As far as jobs go, don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of clean energy, solar-based companies to teach you how to turn sunlight into gold. (Sunlight in the northeast??)  To accommodate for the overflow of people flooding (??) in from points South, perhaps a point of compromise prior to division would be expanding the North say down to Virginia. Think about it.  No more President Trump.No more neo-nazis. No more Republicans.Conversely, no more Hillary. No more whiny liberals. No more gays or Jews or blacks (??).  No more Keurig coffee makers.  Paradise, right?  If we both just take a step back, agree to disagree, recognize it’s never going to get any better, and divide the nation up accordingly, I think, years from now, we’ll look back at this moment in time as a blessing rather than a curse.”   Demonizing grits now?   Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Prattville Dragoons Chaplains Column for January 2018

From the SCV Camp 1524 Dispatch.

Chaplain’s Column - The Fresh-Start Effect/Rebooting Your Spiritual Walk

    How many of you have ever been to the gym on the beginning of the new year? You may have noticed that it was a bit more crowded than usual. Whatever snacks one indulged in—or 5:00 a.m. exercise classes were missed—they are long forgotten. It’s a new day, and everyone has a bolstered sense of motivation and purpose.
   I can remember a term coined by Psychologists and I believe the term for this and other similar moments of inspiration was called the “fresh-start effect” or others may have called it the “get ’er done” moment. It’s the notation that we all have a way of making progress toward our goals during transitional time periods, like from an old year to a new one. Even simply returning to a task after taking time off from it can give us renewed energy to do what we couldn’t seem to muster the strength to do before.
   From the creation of the world to the final promises of a new heaven and earth, the Bible is full of stories of—and encouragement to observe—new beginnings. Jeremiah wrote about the Lord’s mercies being new each morning (Lam. 3:22-23). Paul instructs us to forget what lies behind and to reach forward to what lies ahead (Phil. 3:13). And Jesus Himself often said things like, “I don’t condemn you for your past. Go and sin no more” (paraphrased, John 8:11).
   God is constantly providing opportunities for us to have a clean slate, the ultimate fresh start being when He sent His Son to die on the cross to give us the gift of a new spiritual life. It was a do-over of epic proportions. And when we accept His salvation, He makes us into new creations. “The old things [pass] away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
   But the fresh start doesn’t end there. As new creations, we can begin each day by dying to our past selves and embracing the present opportunity to live in Christ (Rom. 12:1-2). At any moment, we can renew our minds by remembering what Christ has done for us and given to us. We can be freed from the burdens of yesterday and embrace the newness of life God gives us.
   Do you need a fresh start with God? Let today be a new Day of Reconciliation with your heavenly Father. Ask Him for forgiveness and thank Him for the gift of new life. Start reading His Word again. Resolve to follow His will for your life. Today is a new day. And through Christ, you can do it!

   I am praying that everyone will have a happy and blessed new year. Please remember to pray for the people on our prayer list: