Opinion

Save Our Southland (S.O.S.) Declares Southern Poverty Law Center A Hate Group

Ben Jones Author, 'Redneck Boy in the Promised Land

Our fledgling organization, “Save Our Southland” (“S.O.S.”) has been created to oppose the ongoing hysterical cultural cleansing of American history throughout the nation, but especially in the Southeastern United States.

As a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, I was made an honorary life member of the NAACP by its then President Benjamin Hooks in 1990. I grew up in a poor black neighborhood in the 1940’s and 1950’s and I saw up close and personal the daily insult of Jim Crow and strict segregation. During the Civil Rights days, I marched, picketed, organized, and was jailed at “sit-ins” on several occasions.

I was also involved in two violent incidents involving the KKK, one involving a lengthy exchange of gunfire. As a white “redneck boy,” I felt that all of us, black and white, were working to establish the true goals of the American experience. And we succeeded. “The Movement” appealed to the conscience of our nation, and to the best instincts of our religious traditions. In just a few years, The South went from Jim Crow and “white supremacy” to being a truly integrated and vibrant region, with the fastest growing economy in the hemisphere. Under the leadership of Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young, Atlanta became an international crossroads, and the host of the 1996 Olympic Games.

That was done by bi-racial leadership, or as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed, “someday on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will dine together at the table of brotherhood.” We did and we still do.

At a Forum on The Confederate Battle Flag I recently attended at traditionally black Morehouse College in Atlanta, “Andy” Young, twice Atlanta’s Mayor, former United States Ambassador, United States Congressman and Dr. King’s right-hand man, said that during the Southern Civil Rights Movement that “the subject of the Civil War and the Confederate Flag was never discussed. It was never an issue.” That is true. We were into building bridges of unity, not walls of division.

Andrew Young, one of the most respected men on the planet, knows that symbols mean different things to different people in different contexts. There are tens of millions of Confederate descendants. We vastly outnumber the estimated (by SPLC) 30,000 or so members of white nationalist groups like the Klan and the Aryan Brotherhood. We despise their desecration of our honored and beloved symbols. (They also burn Christian Crosses, wave American flags, and even give bedsheets a bad name.) They are a pitiful handful compared to those millions of us who honor our heritage.

Back in the 1970’s, the Southern Poverty Law Center of Alabama (SPLC) took on some tough jobs, and helped to prosecute violent racist groups throughout America. Because of that, they became a direct mail fundraising giant, with something over $300,000,000 in the bank these days.

Then they got into the “hate group” business. I guess when that is what keeps you going financially, there will be a pressing need to come up with a lot of “hate groups” to keep that fundraising rolling along. (It seems to me that local, state, and federal law enforcement do a very good job of monitoring these characters without SPLC’s relentless over-the-top direct mail campaigns.) And of course to them Donald Trump is coming very close to “hate group” status here lately. Opposing illegal immigration and voicing concerns about Islamic terrorism can apparently get you on their list.

These days, the SPLC is leading the mindless attacks on the heritage of an estimated 80 million Americans who are descended from those who fought for the South. They mangle, distort, and omit actual fact with the usual canards of the “cultural Marxists.” They have led these vicious and divisive assaults on some very loving people who simply have no hate in their hearts. Those of us who are descended from Confederates are not interested in changing ancestors. They are our family. Their names are in our Bibles, their pictures are on our walls, and we put flowers on their graves. Those men were white and red and black. And they were Creoles and Cajuns and Jews and Cherokees and Tex-Mexicans. According to United States law, they are all honored American veterans.

And we have the absolute right in this nation to disagree about the complexities of American history. Who gave these left wing academics the right to define our complicated past? As George Orwell said, those who control the past control the future. Those who control the present, control the past. That, at bottom, is what is at stake. It isn’t just about the South and our ancestors. It is about what kind of America we are going to have when these demagogues take over.

“Save our Southland” will fight these wrong-headed, sanctimonious propagandists about this until hell freezes over. And then we will fight them on the ice.

The SPLC defines “hate groups” as “those which … have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

The SPLC has attacked and maligned an entire class of people (we descendants of the Confederacy). That attack is because of our immutable and unchangeable heritage, the blood and DNA we share with those who fought in that terrible crucible of American History.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, by their own definition, has become a “Hate Group.”