But this post here is mainly a blurb, linking to and quoting from this post, which is a response to a Salon article - Third Reconstruction - that I’ve been meaning to discuss. This last part claims that the Civil War is ongoing, and will require a ‘Third Reconstruction’ to get out of.
The whole subject matter coincides with the End of Whiteness article from the Atlantic and the Liberadio posts that went back and forth with DADvocate.
What does it really mean? Now that the election is over and Obama is the winner, there is some need among certain pundits of the left to engage in victory lapping against the caricatures of the South that have, to date, been the oversimplified representations of the complex politics of a region that has dominated the national scene since, well, Independence. In response, students of history and the South are compelled to defend their region by pointing out the rather silly oversimplifications of others.
Let’s look at the first two posts. Alli wanted to hear my thoughts, here we go.
The main post in this thread is from the Democratic Strategist, and is a brilliant defense of realism and history in the face of oversimplification and mythology. You have to look at the details if you want to understand the South, and doing so is a long, hard road even for Southerners to come to terms with. Mythology tells us that Andrew Young couldn’t possibly be less economically progressive than Zell Miller, but history tells us something different, and even that is an oversimplification.
After reading that article, Yglesias makes note of this like ships passing in the night. He seems more excited to point out that some Southern Red Socialists were enamored with the romanticism of the Lost Cause than actually getting down to the meaning. The quote he should have highlighted is:
In general, the idea that the South--or the White South, at least--was a monolith that transferred its unitary allegiance from Democrats to Republicans after 1964 while maintaining the same reactionary economic and racial views and the same "elite" leadership just doesn't bear up under much scrutiny.
And yet, he falls into the same trap, saying the South is more like that today than it was in the past. My opinion and my response, as a Southerner who has only left my native soil on 3 occasions, is that there are far more dynamics at play today; and these dynamics are more complex than it was even back then. We only appear monolithic and simple to folks from the outside looking in.