Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What it Means to be Occupied

by Jim Hanks Jr.

On 13 January, 2000, 139 years to the day after South Carolinians opened fire on Fort Sumter, State Senators Arthur Ravenel and Glen McConnell, both of whom had staunchly supported the flag, led the vote to take it down. Just five days before, Senator Ravenel had attended a flag rally, where he had encouraged them to continue their fight. Later, Senator Andre Bauer observed that,, "once McConnell and Ravenel signed up for it, the fight was over." Why did they do it?

Some say that, in McConnell's case, a deal was struck concerning the preservation of the Hunley in Charleston. At the time McConnell reflected that, "the hour has come as it came with General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia." They claimed to be acting as statesmen, compromising for the good of all. They claimed that they were laying the flag issue to rest. South Carolina would be respected and left alone to honour its past as its citizens chose without interference from outside. This was an end run around the flag haters, they boasted. The flag had to come down, but only so far and, through compromise, the stature of the Confederate heritage movement had taken a step forward.

On May 11, 2000, the South Carolina House of Representatives, led by David Wilkins, gave final approval to the bill removing the Confederate flag from the Capitol dome. In preparation for the compromise he had attended a secret meeting with black leaders - held, appropriately enough, at a funeral home. "I didn't tell anybody that I was going," Wilkins said later.

Why did he attend a secret meeting while planning to betray those he was sworn faithfully to serve? Here is what David Wilkins said about his reasoning: “With the Republicans hosting a high-profile presidential primary in 2000, the national media glommed onto the flag as a hot story. The state's reputation took a national beating. Network TV crews set up at the State House, the flag on the dome in their backdrops. The more we hesitated to do something about it, the more we allowed people outside our state to define who we were."

Those are David Wilkins' own words. He did it to impress the Yankee news media. And he did it for the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln. No army was threatening us this time, just the Yankee news media's biased, bigoted, pompous, and self-serving opinion. Do you think it mattered to David Wilkins what people in our sister Southern states thought of us?

I am proud of Mississippians for their flag, and congratulate them when I meet one. Did David Wilkins honourably represent the millions of us who love, honour, and support the flag. No. It was the news media people from California and New York he was concerned about. And George Bush, too—he wanted most of all to impress George Bush. How the Yankee news media defined us and what George Bush thought of him mattered more to David Wilkins than how we define ourselves.

What did David Wilkins accomplish? On 9 June, 2005, David Wilkins became the U.S.
Ambassador to Canada after resigning from the South Carolina House of Representatives where he served for 25 years-11 as speaker of the House.

What are we left with? Of the flag "compromise" South Carolina historian, Walter Edgar, opined that, "The legislation passed and South Carolina was able to put behind it a divisive period in its history."

How so? The NAACP continues its boycott of South Carolina, and the NCAA continues its ban on post-season events in South Carolina, a ban that was put into effect after the flag came down. Moreover, in 2004 the NCAA voted to continue the ban, stating that "significant change
had not taken place in South Carolina." On 4 August, 2006, reported that, 'the NCAA will consider expanding its ban of championship events in South Carolina, possibly disallowing baseball and football teams from hosting post-season games, because the Confederate flag is displayed on Statehouse grounds."

That's what we got. Now we know what David Wilkins got. Business as usual in the Empire.

Civil Disobedience

The man's motives may or may not have been pure but things like this put a thumb in the eye of Leviathan.

A federal judge in Greenville, S.C., has permanently barred John Howard Alexander of Greenville from promoting several tax-fraud schemes, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction order, to which Alexander consented, bars him from promoting schemes that promise tax benefits based on statements to customers that U.S. citizens are not subject to tax, that residents of South Carolina are not required to file federal tax returns while working in the United States, and that customers can escape tax by revoking or rescinding their Social Security numbers. District Judge Henry F. Floyd of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina signed the order. Read More

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tax and Spend Progressives

It seems the new Anderson County Economic Development Director Heather Simmons Jones has been on the job for a mere few days but has already warmed up to the idea of adding another tax to the good citizens of the county.

Among the various projects she is batting around in bringing sewer service to the S.C. 24 exit 11 area. Of course to actually make this work the road and bridge must first be widened - to the tune of $130 million.

Lee Luff (Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce) and Holt Hopkins(Transportation Director) are all for this notion and will push again for a 1 cent sales tax in 2008.

Mrs. Jones said of her new job and the possibilities in Anderson - "It's like an economic developer's dream."

That maybe true Mrs. Jones but the short-sighted vision you and other progressives in the county are holding out as a dream is to many decent folks little more than a nightmare come home to roost.

The Greenville urban outgrowth that the progressives see as opportunity many see as blight and the visible represetation of cullture dying.

James Howard Kunstler describes this blight thusly -

Just returned from a road trip to a couple of small towns in Minnesota. The spectacle of chain store sprawl along Interstate 94 from Minneapolis to St. Cloud is an amazing and appalling sight, a late-stage cancer of the landscape. It isn't any different or necessarily worse than thousands of other sprawl corridors around the nation, but it portends a destiny just as dark. On the whole, the public does not apprehend the danger it represents to our future.

He uses another term to describe this - it begins with cluster.... I will not complete the rest but it is an accurate, if profane, description.

This nonesense is occuring all over America - why must we encourage it here? Back in the 1970's when Harold Smith, Jim Beson and Cecil Bracken worked to bring water services to the Powedersville area did it occur with county funds? Was there a sales tax to encourage the project? NO. In fact the project only worked because enough existing citizens joined together to incorporate the water company. This was "Just-in-time" growth.

The idea of "building it and they will come" looks good on paper - the result is however something much less appealing.

Anderson will, and should grow. It is the nature of things. However, we have a real chance to shape the nature of that growth. Reacting to percieved immediate needs while fundementally ignoring that which is important and permemant is wrong - it is the product of a failed ideology. Progressivism has and will never produce anythg of great or lasting worth.

If Anderson County is to have a sales tax let it serve the purpose of reducing another tax - not as a means to expand governemnt. Reduce or eliminate property taxes and let the citizens of Anderson be truly free to own their own homes. A sales tax for any other reason than the reduction of a current tax would simply be wrong.

Perhaps Joshua is correct and folks like this ought to read a little Wendell Berry before attempting to fundementally change the nature of a place and the people that call that place home.

It is Our Flag

The Confederate Battle Flag is not the sum and total of everything the South or South Carolina was or will be. The period between 1861-1865 is not the only period of note in our history. The plain fact is WE KNOW THAT. Some folks fail to understand that we know that.

(Washington Post)A Confederate heritage group plans to challenge the NCAA's ban on championship events in South Carolina as long as the Confederate flag flies on the grounds of the state capitol.

In 2001, the NCAA barred any of its predetermined postseason tournaments from South Carolina. The organization is considering a request from the Black Coaches Association to extend the ban to sports where teams earn a chance to host playoff games, such as baseball or football.

It is nice to see that the SCV still has some fight in it -

The NCAA has "no business getting involved in the politics of this or any other state," Randy Burbage, commander of the South Carolina division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said yesterday. "The NCAA should stick to sports -- something they should know something about -- and stay out of politics in South Carolina."

South Carolina has a history stretching back over 400 years. Our history is part of the larger story of Southern history but more importantly it is our story - it belongs to each South Carolinian, the good and the bad of it all is our story - we are good Sandlappers.

Folks from parts elsewhere just don't get it - that flag would have long ago been placed in museums, on grave stones and flown at reenactments if it were not for the constant meddling from outsiders - government and otherwise. Each time somebody from the outside tries to tell South Carolina or South Carolinians what to do the flag assumes a current significance. It has come to symbolize a current fight to preserve what is ours - our rights, our culture and our freedom. The Battle Flag has significance today as a symbol of all that we were and will be simply because folks that have no business telling us what to do keep trying.

You keep pushing and we will keep pushing back! It is our flag and it is our right to do with it as we please.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Blue Laws in Anderson

First reading of an ordinance to permanently suspend the Blue Laws was approved Tuesday night by the Anderson County Council. Blue Laws prohibit residents from buying anything other than groceries or medicine before 1:30 p.m. on Sundays. (Anderson Independent)

I cannot imagine why such a proposal came up in the first place. Even if you were to theoretically remove the notion that the Sabbath should be respected, not working on Sundays is a cultural thing. It is a time to spend time with that which is really important. Working and making money are means to an end; in the culture I grew up with family were infinitely more important - even to all of my unchurched neighbors. From the story above we find the answer.

"I'm a Yankee," said David Allan, a Liberty resident. "You can get rid of all the Blue Laws you want to. If a business wants to be open, they should be able to stay open. If they want to be closed, they should be able to stay closed."

I am generally in agreement that government ought not attempt to legislate morality - at least not on small things. I am for individual freedom and responsibility - however as a paleoconservative I am fully willing to accept local government encroachment on individual rights if that encroachment protects longstanding community traditions and the local culture. In reality this "encroachment" does not in any way offend individual rights. In the current example a fellow like David Allan never has to live or work in Anderson County - he does not have to even visit. It was his option to come to Anderson. When you move to a place you should be willing to accept and attempt to integrate into the local culture - in this case family and faith have traditionally been more important than profit. Mr. Allan you might have done well to figure that out before you came down our way.

The fact is it is ok to slow down the pace of life a little - take time out to focus on what is really important. These are the traits that have made our culture so great - it is a shame to sell all of that for a few extra hours at the Wal-Mart!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Anderson Sells Out To Fear

In a letter dated October 30, the SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED) informed the County of the successful results of its annual review of Anderson County’s Homeland Security funds. Read more...
Well the discerning among us have to ask the question...why on God's green Earth does Anderson County need any funding from the Department of Homeland Insecurity? Make no mistake these are Federal dollars with Federal strings attached--
Anderson County has received $1,137,587 in Homeland Security Grant funds since 2003.
All FEMA and Homeland Security grant monies are also included as part of the County's annual external audit. In particular, the amounts are included in the Schedule of Expenditure of Federal Awards. The County's commitment to following General Accounting Practices and Procedures also includes employing a CPA within the Emergency Services division.
The requirement to hire a CPA is but one of the more obvious "strings". What is not so obvious is the control and infringement upon our good county and her duly elected officials; most notably the office of high sheriff.

Does Anderson County really need Federal dollars to secure the "homeland", our homeland. You must remember the Department of Homeland Insecurity is the exact same bunch that believes they need the power to spy on ordinary citizens, feel up grandmas at airports and turn a blind eye to border incursions. Are these the fellows that should come down from their headquarters far away and tell Anderson County how to keep our home secure?

I think not. Take a stroll over to Clemson and visit the home of John C. Calhoun - go over to Williamston and take a gander at the monument to the Citadel Cadets that fired the last shot of The War west of the Mississippi, go sit down with some good ole boys at one of our local volunteer fire departments. We know how to defend our homes with words and actions.

Sheriff David Crenshaw is the highest lawman in the county, is he not? Common law, tradition and our own State Constitution would say so. If need be he can call out every man of good conscience and character to assist him; we don't need your Federal dollars, rules or meddling Mr. Department of Homeland Insecurity - go peddle your fear and bureaucracy elsewhere. You and your money have no place in Anderson County.