One suspects that the shade of Jefferson Davis is capering over his grave at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond...the so-called cemetery of the Confederacy. Perhaps Robert E. Lee has again buckled on the sword that U.S. Grant refused at Appomattox. Or the ghosts of Stonewall Jackson and Jeb Stuart are again prepared to lead the army of the Confederacy against the Yankee intruders from the North who might have the temerity to suggest that the South change it's ways.
Or maybe they don't need to. Their philosophical descendants are doing it for them. Instead of Jefferson, Robert, Thomas and James, we now have Rick and Ted and Rand and their Tea Bagger minions to do their work for them.
For a long time this was not so. We heard much about the New South, a place that truly had changed its ways, that was newly tolerant, newly open to minorities, particularly African Americans. A resurgent Southern economy had room for everybody, provided opportunity for all. No longer was it necessary for African Americans to flee to the North...the New South was proud and happy to have them. The New South pointed with pride to the number of Southern cities and towns with African American mayors, councilmen, police chiefs...forgetting perhaps that these cities and towns were emptied of their white citizens, leaving black citizens in the majority.
On the other hand...and simultaneously...there was occurring a sea change in the political culture of the South. Old line Democrats like Strom Thurmond were abandoning what was suddenly the party of Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson and embracing what was once the party of Lincoln as their new home...a Republican Party that, to enhance its electoral viability and to peel away the Democratic "Solid South", adopted the Southern Strategy to appeal very deliberately to the racist prejudice of white Southerners.
That they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in obvious. Today the South is solidly Republican...indeed, the South is the only region that remains reliably Republican. Southern Senators trumpet States' Rights...echoing forebears like John C. Calhoun and, yes, an unrepentant Jefferson Davis. The Republican governor of Texas has suggested that Texas, due to the unique way it came into the Union, retains the right to secede from it any time it chose...forgetting perhaps that the Civil War decided that issue for all time.
Perhaps there is an explanation for this new and bizarre resurgence of the "Southern Way of Life". Perhaps it is the election of the nation's first African American President alone that has stirred this new outpouring of Southern racism and hatred. One almost hopes so...but fears not.
One fears that the Republican Party has become the party of the new Confederacy. And one wonders what will become of the nation if this is so.