James Edwards, Political Cesspool, July 13, 2015
After the anti-Southern hysteria that has swept through the media and government in recent weeks I felt a pressing need to do something active. Of course, it’s not as if our rulers didn’t hate the South and any symbol of our unique identity before the murders that took place in Charleston, but they have fully exploited the tragedy in order to launch an attempt to eradicate the Confederate flag and any memory of the cause for which it stood. Their efforts have been particularly harsh in Memphis, where the local government unanimously passed a resolution to dig up and move the remains of General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife, and to remove the monument that sits atop their graves.
My great-great-great-grandfather rode with Forrest at Shiloh. I could not let this shocking display of contempt go unanswered. When I read the news of this plan to desecrate the grave of an American hero, I was reminded of Forrest’s own admonition: “Get there first with the most men.” I had organized rallies in Memphis before and was determined to do so again. But, rather than rush in I reached out to acquaintances with similar interests. As it turns out, a pro-Forrest rally was already being planned by Southern patriots and it made sense to join forces and use my radio program to provide auxiliary support and help turn out a larger crowd.
As soon as the local media found out that I was promoting the event I was inundated with requests to appear for interviews. I politely declined because this event was about Nathan Bedford Forrest. The last thing I wanted was to let my involvement overshadow the real story. At the event itself I asked all reporters to talk with those who had assembled because they were the ones who made the gathering so successful.
The media, however, were not alone in contacting me. Late last week, a detective with the Memphis Police Department’s branch of the Office of Homeland Security called on me. He was very courteous, but conveyed to me that there had suddenly arisen a problem with the permit we had secured to hold the event. Apparently, DHS had been monitoring our “social media presence” and guessed we might turn out a much larger crowd than was originally expected. I was told in no uncertain terms to stop promoting the event on my radio program and website. I was persuaded to comply.
I have a great deal of respect for the badge. My father worked as a police officer at one time before transferring to the fire department where he later retired as a captain. The agent that I spoke to was very polite, but I can’t help but wonder what really prompted their interest. In my experience, getting a permit to hold a peaceful gathering at a park is a mere formality. As a citizen, you have the right to assemble on public property, no questions asked. To my knowledge, the only reason a permit is required is to ensure that no one else is planning a conflicting event at the same place and time.
By Sunday morning, the day of the rally, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if law enforcement was going to shut the event down, or if a flash mob was going to be present, or if I’d be met by only a handful of core supporters. None of this happened. There were officers on hand for security, but they were gracious and professional. There were also more than 100 people with Confederate flags on the ground an hour before start time. By 2:00, a legitimate and conservative estimate had the crowd numbering upwards of 500. One person claimed it was 600.
When I last spoke to the event organizers I was told that they were expecting 150 people and that any additional folks that I could turn out would be appreciated. I’d say we answered the call. I had the privilege of being approached by a seemingly endless stream of listeners, some of whom I had met before, but most of whom I met for the first time. One young man told me he drove more than 10 hours just to be there. Several others had come from out of state. If I had been allowed to proceed with my originally intended promotion campaign I certainly believe that a crowd of 750 or even 1,000 might have appeared.
Regardless, in today’s political climate to see that many men, women, and children make a public show of solidarity was nothing short of inspirational. Furthermore, the caliber of people was top shelf. I talked with off-duty law enforcement officers, doctors, and business professionals from all walks of life, all either holding or wearing a Confederate flag. I felt as though they were all family and that’s why those who hate us can’t understand our unwillingness to abandon our customs and symbols. We are incapable of forgetting who we are. It’s personal.
There was a wreathe laying and reenactors fired a 21-gun salute. And when 500 voices joined in a final chorus of “Dixie” I’m sure I was not the only Confederate with a lump in his throat.
The zeal of those of us in Memphis was determined, real, and unapologetic. Has the regime finally met some resistance? It would seem that way from the undimmed support for the flag in the face of the last two weeks of vitriol. In recent days, there have been nearly one hundred spontaneous Confederate flag rallies that have drawn tens of thousands of people.
While we were holding our rally almost 5,000 people participated in the “Florida Southern Pride Ride,” according to police estimates. Events like this are happening all across Dixie and show no signs of slowing.
There has been a lot of bad news, but we must not let the media frame our perception. In addition to the grassroots rebellion, we note that the Governor of Tennessee has issued an official proclamation declaring July 13, 2015, to be Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. And, while the flag came down in Columbia, South Carolina, it went up in Ocala, Florida, where the Marion County Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to restore the Confederate flag at its government complex.
We should maintain hope that one day our people will turn and fight and we must find a way to channel this energy into something sustainable. If America is to reclaim her destiny, she must first look South.