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US: The old and new South

Even Republicans are wondering if the Bush administration understands the international situation. When asked about Russian interest in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said it was risking losing its commercial advantages. When asked how Russia would act if the US attacked Iraq, he replied that Russians are realists and would not get involved. Would he were right, but he made these assertions a little too blithely. On a popular level, the demonstrations against President Bush in Oregon were indicative. Opposition might come also from an unexpected source: the South.

There is an organization called the League of the South, with headquarters in Monroe, LA 71207, located in the north of Louisiana. It has its own website: Some time ago, a Northerner speaking on Lincoln in Baton Rouge was given a cool reception. The Deep South lives on. The League of the South held its annual conference in Abbeville, South Carolina, close to the border with Georgia. The League's president, Michael Hill, gave the keynote address. He is a history buff, and he gave the Southern version of history, execrating the usual version, written by the victorious north.

Hill recalled the American Revolution. King George III and Lincoln had one thing in common: they wanted tom preserve the union. George III lost, and many loyalists took refuge in Canada, where the historic resentment exists and is expressed in history books. Lincoln won, and the treatment of the vanquished South was worse than that of Germany after World War I, which led to Hitler. Hill expressed Southern resentment of the "tyrant" Lincoln and the"war of Yankee aggression". He described the South as occupied territory. He said the South had nothing in common with Massachusetts and California. He described the US as an imperialist power, with troops in over 100 (?!) countries, as the scourge of the entire globe. He asked is the audience wanted to fight for the US. The audience said no and rewarded him with loud applause. My impression is that, while he was obviously a well educated person, the audience consisted largely of what in pre-political correctness days used to be called rednecks. While it was interesting ton hear his version of American history, he probably has only minority support in the South. He was equally unkind to Republicans and Democrats, so they would have little reason to support him. But do not count Hill and the League out.

Ronald Hilton - 8/24/02