Confederate Culture Wars: Daniel Davis

Over the course of last week, ECW historians offered their thoughts and reactions to recent events related to Confederate memory. Wrapping things up: Daniel Davis

Has the South lost the Civil War? In reading through the posts last week, my answer is no; however, I tend to agree with Joe Owen. The South is in the process of losing the culture war.

I’m not sure the culture war will ever be lost as there will always be the American citizen who will fly a Confederate flag in their backyard, put a decal on their bumper or buy a t-shirt. This was made especially clear to me during a recent trip to Gettysburg over the Fourth of July weekend. Over the course of three days, I saw all of the aforementioned examples, including one absolutely ludicrous bikini with the battle flag design.   It has been commented on and mentioned throughout the week on the Emerging Civil War—and I could not agree more—that there needs to be a common and respectful discussion about this issue from both sides.

We will never understand what it was like to live in the 1860s and to witness our Nation rip itself apart with so much death and destruction. Nor can we ignore the fact that at one time in our history slavery was a major part of our society. But I think all too often that conversation stops short, with the negative point in place. What is forgotten and I think in some cases ignored is the redeeming side of this story. An entire generation fought an unimaginably brutal conflict and gave their lives so that slavery would end. No society throughout human history is perfect, but we as Americans made and succeeded in an effort  tocorrect ourselves.

This makes the Civil War an incredibly unique moment in the American experience and it is perhaps one of the conflict’s most important legacies. As the discussion about the Confederate battle flag continues to ebb and flow, I hope that some of the greatest impacts of the war on our Nation are not lost by its participants.

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2 Responses to Confederate Culture Wars: Daniel Davis

  1. Kim says:

    Culture war as it applies since 9/11 and the presidency of Cheney and W Bush — consists of in it’s infancy the religious right and thousands of uninformed Americans who thought, because they were told, that Iraq attacked the U.S. In it’s next phase it seems that this culture which has NOTHING to do with the South, are the NRA and many folks who may or may not listen to the myriad of GOP candidate wannabes for president pushing for war on Iran and further war in the middle east. No one wants to pander to a religious faction again and the religious factions have found other more important issues to connect with. I’m disappointed in the so-called historians on this site who have continued to opine on a culture war in the U.S. between north and south. The south is not the agricultural center of the country anymore — California is. The NRA and hate mongers exist in pockets of poverty as well as pockets of comfort from Maine to Florida to Arizona Arizona Arizona and California.

  2. Daniel Davis says:

    The question that has been discussed is whether the South has finally lost the war in the context of memory. The or one of the Confederate battle flags has become a cultural icon in parts of the South. Where and how that flag is displayed has been at the root of the conversation.

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