In this day and age of political correctness, so many people are afraid to speak for fear that they will be attacked for saying what is on their hearts or minds. Is this truly the land of the free where freedom of speech is touted? Tonight my wife and I were talking about how Maryland had issued license plates with "Sons of Confederate Veterans," and the Confederate battle flag on them, then later after receiving complaints tried to resend the plates saying they were divisive. The SCV took the state to court and won. To me this says two things: First, our freedoms of speech and expression are disappearing; and second, even today on rare occasions, our judicial system can still work and admit some validity to the constitution.

My wife's comments on the Maryland situation went something like this: "With all the anger and divisiveness over the Confederate flags, maybe we should just stop displaying Confederate symbols until the bad feelings finally end." My response was along these lines: "If we do that, we are playing into the hands of those who would deny us our heritage, and the symbols of our past would never be allowed again." In a nation that is working so hard to eliminate any inequality and working on developing self esteem in its youth, these two efforts do not apply to Southerners.

I have been told on numerous occasions that the war is long since over and I need to drop this "Southern Pride thing" and move on. Why is it that after over 130 years Yankees still feel the need to try and "put me in my place" as some backwards, ignorant Southern boy who needs to be brought into the 20th century? Who is it that needs to move on? The liberal elite keep talking about tolerance. The 1960s flower children who wanted the establishment to be open enough to allow them to have different points of view from the mainstream populace screamed for tolerance. Well, today those flower children are the establishment and the definition of tolerance has changed. Tolerance no longer means "live and let live," "agree to disagree," it now means, according to the new establishment, "accept the establishments point of view or keep quiet." If you agree to disagree, liberals tell you that you are mean spirited and racist. My observation is that those who are proud of their Southern heritage and stand by that heritage, don't go out and start riots and protest or yell obscenities.

I know my heritage and I'm proud of it. I am proud to pass this heritage on to my children. My family came to America, via Charleston, SC, prior to the American Revolution and has always been in the South. We have served our country in almost every war including the War for Southern Independence (1st Mississippi Cavalry, CSA). There is a heritage of farmers, teachers, preachers and military service. Always Christians with an emphasis on honor, hard work, simple living and loyalty to family, friends and country. County records and family stories show an adherence to those traditional values that helped make America the "land of opportunity."

Southerners as a people must not be shamed into silence or treated like second class citizens who do not share in equal rights. If others can have celebrations to cherish the fact they are an Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian, African, Polish, German, Scottish or Irish, why can we not have a time to celebrate being Southern? We too have a unique culture and heritage that is worth cherishing. I will hold my head high because I have been given a special gift, I am a Southerner. There is a saying that I love that I tend to use when confronted by a friend or co-worker who is a Yankee transplant. They question my pride about being Southern and I respond, "I'm Southern born and Southern bread, and when I die I'll be Southern dead." I understand their inability to comprehend this attachment for it defies the Northern thought of suppressing Southerness into a U.S. oneness. Adolf Hitler said, "Tell a lie long enough and often enough and people will begin to believe it is the truth." I say, "Tell the truth often enough and long enough and the truth will win out." Our heritage is something to be proud of and is worthy of our standing up for it.

Jeff Adams
Fort Worth, Tx
League of the South
September, 1998