Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

The (Self-) Righteous Entitlement of Confederate Heritage

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on November 6, 2016

Some of you will have heard about the latest kerfuffle in Lexington concerning the observance of Lee-Jackson Day next January. It seems that a local community group, CARE Rockbridge, pulled a cheeky maneuver and obtained a parade permit months ago for the date and route that had been previously used by local Confederate Heritage™ folks to march through town carrying Confederate flags. CARE Rockbridge was able to do this because they applied for a permit, which is issued by the City of Lexington on a first-come, first-served basis.

Naturally the heritage folks are a little bent out of shape about this — which was sort of the point, duh! — but they haven’t done themselves any favors with their rhetoric in complaining about it. Local SCV leader Brandon Dorsey, who is always good for an inflammatory quote, hinted at litigation over it:

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The Lexington City Council is asking to be sued. First, the city deliberately granted a permit for another organization to usurp the usual time and place of the Lee-Jackson Day parade.

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Then his Confederate confederate, “Doc” Wilmore, whinged that CARE Rockbridge was “underhanded” in, you know, filing paperwork with the city:

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An anti-racism group has obtained a parade permit for Jan. 14 — taking the date and route that traditionally has been claimed by a local Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter. . . .

“I think it was kind of underhanded the way they slipped it in like that,” said W.B. “Doc” Wilmore, a Sons of Confederate Veterans member who usually handles bookings for the group’s Lee-Jackson Day events.

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I get it that Dorsey and Wilmore think CARE Rockbridge stole a march on them, because they did exactly that. What’s more interesting is the (barely) unspoken assumption that the City of Lexington should have shown the SCV special consideration by holding that date open for them to apply for at their leisure, in preference to another group that actually got off the couch and applied for the permit. That belief — that the local city government should give special consideration to their private organization over another — is just ludicrous.

And while there’s been plenty of vitriol directed against CARE Rockbridge by the heritage folks, I haven’t seen even the slightest hint of criticism of Dorsey, Wilmore, or the other local organizers of this event who let this one slip by them.

So now the SCV will be marching of January 21 in Lexington which, as it happens, is actually Jackson’s birthday. My suggestion to them is to quit carping about those ol’ meanies at CARE Rockbridge, get on with it, and start planning (and preparing parade permit requests) for Lee-Jackson Day 2018. I don’t recall Lee spending a lot of time complaining about how “underhanded” the Yankees were when they turned him back at Sharpsburg or Gettysburg; Dorsey and Wilmore should take a lesson from the men they purport to honor.

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19 Responses

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  1. Msb said, on November 6, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Well said, Andy.

  2. Mousy Tongue said, on November 6, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    And the plot thickens:

    “Lexington City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to limit parades in the month of January to sequential days from Lee-Jackson Day (Friday, Jan. 13) to Martin Luther King Day (Monday, Jan. 16).”

    http://www.thenews-gazette.com/content/council-limits-january-parade-dates

    • Andy Hall said, on November 6, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      It will be interesting to see what happens for the next couple of months. The Virginia flaggers have threatened — and I don’t know what other word there is for it — to hold a Confederate parade every day of the Lee-Jackson holiday weekend. That would be typical of them, since they have long seen “defending” their heritage as being synonymous with making a scene and being belligerently in-your-face about things. In many respects, they remind me of a certain presidential campaign, that continues to say all the hyper-partisan and outlandish things that energize its own, established base supporters, without making many inroads among people who are either undecided or actively skeptical about the candidate. The Virginia flaggers (in the entire Confederate Heritage movement, for that matter) are like that, in that they say things that will get them lots of kudos from people who are already committed to their particular ideology, but doesn’t do a whole lot of good in converting other people to their message. In particular, there is not much observable evidence that their shenanigans have very much support among the general population who actually live, work, and do business in Lexington itself. Almost all of the people who spoke against the original 2011 city ordinance about Confederate flags, for example, came in from out of town.

      • bob carey said, on November 7, 2016 at 8:49 am

        Andy,
        This is just another example of the “rigged system” that has been spoken so much of late by that presidential campaign. Part of the mass conspiracy. LOL

  3. Jimmy Dick said, on November 7, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I always find it interesting how the heritage folks would fail an American History, yet claim they know history. The best part is how they reject all the facts that prove them wrong and insist that their beliefs which have no facts which support them are reality. Let’s see, historians with Bachelor’s, Master’s, and doctorates on one hand, and a group with high school education (for the most part) on the other hand.

    Just another one of the lunatic fringe conspiracies from the alt-right!

    • Andy Hall said, on November 7, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      This is something distinctive to Confederate heritage. I’ve belonged to several history/heritage groups over the years, and all of them had as part of their mission to promote and educate on a specific group, event, or period in American history, with one critical difference: none of those groups took as their specific and explicit mission to vindicate or justify their subjects. There’s a big difference between promoting a wider understanding and appreciation of the role and importance of some group or event, and advocating for its positions on a moral or quasi-religious basis. That’s exactly what Confederate heritage groups do, whether it’s official policy (as with the SCV and the “Charge” of Stephen Dill Lee), or simply understood in informal groups on social media.

      When you add into that that groups like the UDC and SCV generally require a hereditary link for full membership, and the apparent inability of a lot of folks to distinguish between “the South” and “the Confederacy,” you get a volatile mixture of personal defensiveness (“what did you call my great-grand-daddy?”) and an explicit compulsion to push back against anything that is perceived as criticism of the Confederacy, regardless of its basis. It is their duty, and loyal and true southerners, to do so.

      As for not knowing what you and I would consider actual history, or having any sort of education in it, groups like the SCV and UDC act against it. You don’t need to pass a test to join a group like that; show your qualifying genealogy, pay your dues and ascribe to their narrative, and you’re in. And because those organizations (and well as less-formal groupings of people on Facebook and elsewhere) have spent years convincing themselves that they know “the truth” about the South and the “War of Northern Aggression,” by joining in with such a group one becomes – I suppose – instantly endowed with the historical, collective wisdom of the group, magically. Why bother with the trouble and expense of formal schooling, when you can get a better education about the REAL war meeting once a month with your compatriots at the Applebee’s out by the airport?

      Finally, there’s the tolerance of unfettered BS in the heritage community. It’s easy to get away with because (1) a lot of folks don’t have the education to know any better, and (2) they’re primed to believe virtually anything that fits their loose, unstructured impression of the past. But even when they get caught presenting as fact something that is demonstrably untrue, it doesn’t matter to their fellow travelers because, convinced as they are that everyone else is lying to them – college professors, teachers, Yankee textbooks, government schools, etc. – they see nothing particularly wrong in someone using a few harmless falsehoods in pushing back against what they see as a much larger, more pernicious set of lies and oppressions directed against them and their ancestors (real or figurative). In that, there’s a direct parallel with many of Trump’s supporters who recognize that some of what he claims is untrue, and much of what he promises he won’t deliver on – they figure that all the other politicians are just as bad or worse, so they don’t care that he’s a bit of a charlatan, too. What matters is that he’s THEIR charlatan, and is the guy who’s going to burn it all down.

  4. Confederate Flags said, on November 10, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Amen…I am so tired of these people doing stuff like this. Why don’t they just mind their own business. No one is trying to be racist in these memeory services!

    • Andy Hall said, on November 10, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      CARE Rockbridge applied for a parade permit like any other group, including the SCV. January 14 is the Saturday immediately preceding the federal MLK holiday. End of story.

      Dorsey and his friends are unhappy that the city didn’t hold the date open for them.

  5. J.B. Richman said, on November 12, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    This is off the Confederate topic, but is apropos to two groups or individuals competing for the same limited space involving a public agency.

    In Orange CA, there is a crank politician named Steve Rocco. He is so outrageous that he has his own Wikipedia entry:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Rocco_(politician)

    This Wikipedia entry chronicles his stealth candidacy for the School Board and his subsequent bizarre behavior.

    There was a ballot measure for school bonds that was scheduled for this November election. Steve and a group from the city of Villa Park both submitted a ballot argument against the measure. Rocco managed to convince the County officials that he met the criteria for an organization authorized to submit such an argument and he won on a random draw!

    Read here:

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/rocco-727374-argument-pauly.html

    Goofiness isn’t restricted to the South.

    • woodrowfan said, on November 14, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      well, that is SOUTHERN California. (grin)

      • J.B. Richman said, on November 14, 2016 at 11:31 pm

        Orange, CA is at the same latitude as Atlanta. But there are loonies all up and down the West Coast, and the northern border of California is north of the southernmost point of Canada.

        • Kristoffer said, on November 15, 2016 at 7:05 pm

          You mean “the northern border of Washington is north of the southernmost point of Canada.”

          • J.B. Richman said, on November 23, 2016 at 10:07 pm

            No!!!! The northern border of California is north of the south point of middle island Ontario in Lake Erie. 41 degrees 40′ 53″. The northern border of California is the 42nd parallel. Nearly all of the major towns in Ontario are south of the 49th parallel, which is the border of Washington and Canada. Montreal is 45 degrees 30′.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42nd_parallel_north

  6. Mousy Tongue said, on December 21, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Got a question. Some of the heritage folks are telling us:

    “Friday, January 13th is the Virginia State Holiday for Lee-Jackson Day, and Saturday, January 14th is officially recognized as Lee-Jackson Day in Lexington.”

    but that’s just nonsense, right?

    • Andy Hall said, on December 21, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Friday 13th is the official, state observance of Lee-Jackson Day. It’s a payroll thing, to make it fall on a weekday.

      https://www.dhrm.virginia.gov/docs/default-source/default-document-library/payandholidaycalendar2017.pdf

      It does not appear to me that the City of Lexington formally recognizes Lee-Jackson Day at all — it recognizes the MLK birthday instead.

      http://ecode360.com/9733435

      I didn’t see any specific designation of holidays for Rockbridge County, so likely they follow the state calendar.

      So I don’t know what they’re referring to as “official” recognition of Lee-Jackson Day on the 14th.

      • Mousy Tongue said, on December 21, 2016 at 11:44 am

        Thanks!

        Sadly, our Flagger friends are waving around what appears to be a City of Lexington proclamation specifically about January 17, 2014… which was a Friday.

        • Andy Hall said, on December 21, 2016 at 11:50 am

          That’s an interesting bit of smoke-and-mirrors. That proclamation only designates the date in 2014 — perhaps the City of Lexington hasn’t passed such a proclamation in the years since.

          I also note that the proclamation is signed by Mayor Mimi Elrod, who the Flaggers made the focus of their ire in Lexington and actively worked to get her defeated for re-election in 2012. (She was re-elected, with a wider margin than she got the first time in 2008.) I guess she’s a horrible, leftist carpetbagger who should be driven from public office, except when it suits their purpose to cite her.

          “January 17, 2014 — which was a Friday”

          I very much doubt any of their followers will bother to look that up, or care if they did.

          #SouthronPrinciples

          • Mousy Tongue said, on December 21, 2016 at 12:20 pm

            It’s the day after January 16.


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