Being of my generation, I never payed a great deal of attention to Gone with the Wind. I was aware of it, of course. I can recall watching it with my parents. I even lived in Atlanta for 3 years as a young Marine. I was within walking distance of Margaret Mitchell’s home. I probably saw it daily. And although we were not fans of the Confederacy, or sympathetic to their cause, such that it was, I can recall Elizabeth Taylor as Scarlett O’Hara.
Oh, wait, that wasn’t Elizabeth Taylor, it was Vivien Leigh. She was nearly a generation older than Elizabeth Taylor, and quite literally old enough to be her mother. Time kind of scrunches together when one is looking back at it. Mom and Dad would be quite shocked that I would confuse Vivien Leigh with Elizabeth Taylor. That would almost be like someone confusing Lindsay Lohan for Elizabeth Taylor now...almost.
Elizabeth Taylor wasn’t playing adult roles in 1939 when Gone with the Wind was made. She was still a child. It was Vivein Leigh who put the face on the punished, crumbling aristocracy of the South during the War of Northern Aggression...er, the American Civil War. The poor thing actually had to make a ball gown out of a green drape. The suffering forced upon the good people of the Confederacy by the Union was indeed draconian.
The result of the War of Northern Aggression was the elimination of the plantation system of the South, which was much more than just a business model. It was a way of life. In 1860, Mississippi was the wealthiest state in the United States. “King Cotton” was like General Motors, Standard Oil, and McDonalds all rolled into one. Suddenly, poof! “Our peculiar institution” which had made so many so wealthy, which had given rise to so much culture, suddenly, gone. Why did the Northern aggressors hate America?
Oh, say, can you see they were fetishists. A pernicious fetish grew from the words of a son of the South, a founding father of our society. A Virginian, Thomas Jefferson made the unfortunate error of using the term “equality” in the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal...” That was the tragic segment from the Declaration that the equality fetishists cultivated into this pernicious virus which now plagues the once great Confederacy, with that which is called the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The War of Northern Aggression destroyed the wealthiest part of the United States, and allowed much of its wealth to simply walk away, and for what? Equality? This tragic phrase, and this opportunistic band of barbarians, which invaded the South, gave rise to this “racial entitlement” from which the Confederacy...er, the South has not been able to extricate itself since 1865.
In 1980, just after Ronald Reagan was nominated at the Republican Convention, the candidate traveled to Philadelphia Mississippi. Reagan gave a speech at the Neshoba County Fair where he said, “I believe in state’s rights.” He also said, “I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment.” Wow, the man had a way with words.
Reagan was referring there to the equality fetishists. The tragic Thomas Jefferson included those words in his Declaration, never intending this concept to be stretched to those unequal parties...women, and people of color. Six years later, President Reagan appointed Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court. The same Ronald Reagan who had the good taste and the prescience to invoke states rights in Philadelphia Mississippi, had now appointed a justice who just this past week decried the “racial entitlement” that buoys up the equality fetishists. Scalia has appropriately demonstrated that the real oppressed class is the Southern Aristocracy. What was once great has been laid low by invaders from the North who brought disease with them.
For years, we were made to sympathize with Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner. These “voting rights” workers were once the faces of this pernicious fetish which grew to a head after their disappearance from Philadelphia Mississippi in 1964. Just as America jerked wildly and emotionally at the end of the War of Northern Aggression, and destroyed “our peculiar institution,” a century later America jerked wildly again and placed the South under this onerous restriction of voting “equality.”
Thank goodness for Ronald Reagan, and Antonin Scalia. These men saw and see the real victims and the real villains of the war, of Reconstruction, and the wolf in sheep’s clothing called “voting rights” and “equality.”