Friday, December 02, 2005

DRAGON SLAYERS

We’ve all heard the stories that fierce dragons once walked the face of the earth. The reason we have to classify these as a stories or fables is because there are no more dragons.

Back in ancient times, there were fierce breeds of Warriors known as Dragon slayers. These warriors had to be the bravest warriors in all the land, because Dragons were supposedly huge fire breathing creatures.

The Dragon Slayers would put on their best armor, sharpen spear, sword, and lance, then proceed to hunt dragons. They eventually killed all the dragons, but in doing so worked themselves out of a job. What could they do now? After going after the most-fierce animals in the world, anything else they choose to do was a huge step backwards.

Imagine if you will, that today you are a hunter and have just taken a trophy Grizzly Bear with a bow and arrow, you return home and someone asks you to kill a bunch of baby ducks with a machine gun, it is hardly the same, nor was it for the Dragon Slayers.

It wasn’t easy but eventually most of the Dragon Slayers just became regular people again. They lost the respect of everyone around them as the fiercest warriors in the land. There were a few that couldn’t live as regular people again. They had tasted glory, they had slain the dragon, and they had enjoyed their wealth and fame. These warriors instead of retiring decided to fight other battles.

They decided that the Tigers were the next great threat to the world. It was difficult to convince people that had never seen a tiger that they were in danger from them, but they were being told this by Dragon Slayers. Everyone knew the Dragon Slayers were the greatest warriors in the land, if they said Tigers were the next great threat then it must be true. Sure enough the Dragon Slayers went out to slay Tigers, and according to them they killed most of them. The proof they offered was there was no longer a Tiger threat in all of England, France, Germany or Italy. (We know that there never were tigers in those countries, but the Dragon Slayers made a living off slaying non-existent monsters after they killed all the real monsters.)

That was ancient history, nothing like that could go on today, could it? Could it?

There are three pretty good examples of modern Dragon slayers in contemporary society. They are all groups known primarily by initials. They are respectively the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the worst of all the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center).

Each of these organizations, despite what you may have heard about them, were once proud Dragon Slayers; but like the Dragon Slayers of old, once they killed their respective Dragons, they couldn’t stand the loss of prestige, money, or influence. To see the whole picture lets look at their noble beginnings, how they won their battles (slew their dragons) but couldn’t quit once they achieved a sense of power and wealth.

Ku Klux Klan (KKK)

It is a surprise to most American citizens that the KKK was an organization that was needed at the time it was created. During the period of time known as “Reconstruction” men, and the families of men, who had fought for the Confederacy had no rights under the terms of the law at that time. Just like during the war, Southern women were at risk any time they were in a city. They were subject to insults, and much worse if they didn’t show the Yankee occupiers’ proper respect.

Southern farms and Southern property, were confiscated by puppet governments who claimed that property taxes were owed by all Confederates, and Confederate sympathizer’s who owned any property. The so-called property tax was due in 10 days, and usually was an amount greater than the property was worth. Of course most Southerners had no money, nor any way to raise money to pay these unjust taxes, so the land was confiscated and sold at public auction. The only people that had hard money (US Government issued gold-certificates or gold and silver coins) were the carpetbaggers and scallywags. They bought up most of the Southern land sold at auction for pennies on the dollar.

In a time when Southern white people had no rights that all and they could expect no help from the local law in the few places it even existed, a group of men formed closed society of vigilantes. This society became the Ku Klux Klan. These men wore white sheets over their head so they could not be identified. These men became the de facto law in much of the old Confederate states of America. Many of the carpetbaggers and scallywags took the warning of a cross being burned in their yard as a sign that they heard somebody calling them from up north and they returned from whence they came.

The scallywags and carpetbaggers had enlisted and duped many of the recently freed slaves. Many of the freed slaves were puppet officeholders, they did exactly what they were told when they were told. This added to the incredible tension between the freed slaves and Southern whites. The KKK for all its good intentions and for all the good it did also was an agent of incredible cruelty and brutality. People the KKK considered lawbreakers were generally warned once, then the KKK would take action off some sort. Some of the lesser punishments used by the KKK included tarring and feathering and riding out-of-town on a rail, corrupt officials, land-grabbers, and those that had insulted Southern women. When the KKK considered the offenses much worse, they resorted to tying the offenders to trees and beating with a whip. While it was true that many of those the KKK punished were Northern profiteers and previous slaves, they also dealt with Southern white people who were breaking society’s laws such as stealing from their neighbors, or mistreatment of their own families (what we today would call wife or child abuse.

Much is made of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest being one of the founders all the KKK. General Forrest was there for the beginning of the KKK because he believed the Southern people couldn’t get justice otherwise. After two years General Forrest ordered the KKK to disband and while many of those that were part of the origins of the organization did leave, many others with private scores to settle stayed on.

So while the KKK did a lot of good in the years 1866 through 1869, from 1870 to present the KKK has become an organization that lost sight of its original charter. The KKK was once a noble organization. But by the year 1870 it ceased being an unofficial law enforcement entity. Where before the organization helped poor white folks, now they became oppressors of the newly freed black people. Over the years since that time there are countless incidents of fire bombing churches, lynching black men and other acts of domestic terrorism conducted primarily against the black race.

What caused the change in the KKK? They were in effect modern Dragon slayers. They were for a time a force of good; they slew the Dragons of lawlessness that afflicted the South and the Southern people. The problem they had was once the Dragon was slain, and effective civilian law returned to the rural south; they hated to give up the power they had achieved. Men under the cover of sheets often held grudges and acted on them in despicable ways, just because they could. They went from being oppressed to being oppressors.

Today, the KKK is considered a racist hate organization. They are repudiated by whites, blacks, Jews, and not surprisingly, those in the Confederate heritage organizations. They once were noble Dragon Slayers who could not stop when all their dragons were slain and they worked themselves out of a job. They had great power and were feared by most of the population black and white because of their fearsome reputations. It was impossible for some of them to stop so they created other dragons to slay. They created other dragons such at the Jews, any Negro, Indian, or Hispanic person who didn’t accept the place the KKK thought they should inhabit in society. The KKK ultimately became dragons themselves.

NAACP

The NAACP was founded in 1909: they initially call themselves the National Negro committee. Few groups or associations can claim they’ve done as much good or achieved such positive results as the NAACP has over its life. They have affected the national consciousness and led the fight to provide equal rights for all people of color.

Some of their notable successes included the 1948 bill signed by Harry Truman banning discrimination by the federal government, the 1954 Brown versus the Board of Education case, and in 1964 Congress passed the equal opportunity employment act. In 1965 the NAACP was instrumental in getting the Voting Rights Act passed, and in 1981 NAACP lobbied Congress and was able to get the Voting Rights Act extended for another 25 years. Also in 1981 to cultivate economic empowerment, the NAACP establishes the fair share program with major corporations across the United States.

In 1982 the NAACP claims that through its organizational pressure it caused President Reagan to withdraw his support for a tax break for Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Bob Jones University had a policy that forbade interracial dating the NAACP took the stance that this constituted segregation. In 1987 the NAACP led a storm of protest to defeat the nomination of Robert Bork to the US Supreme Court. In 1991 the NAACP got involved in the race for the U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana. An avowed racist by the name of David Duke was running for a Senate seat. The NAACP managed to get out 76% of the black vote, and David Duke was handily defeated.

In 1997 response to the pervasive anti-affirmative action legislation occurring around the country, the NAACP launches the Economic Reciprocity Program... And in response to increased violence among our youth, the NAACP starts the "Stop the Violence, Start the Love' campaign.

In 2000 the NAACP Retired its Debt and enjoyed their six years of a budget surplus. Also in January in Columbia, South Carolina over 50,000 to protest the flying of the Confederate Battle Flag. This is the largest civil rights demonstration ever held in the South to date.

All of this information was obtained directly from the NAACP web site.

From 1909 until 1982 the NAACP was a power for good. They use their voting power and their buying power to make lives better for the colored citizens of the United States. As the power of the NAACP grew, so did the temptation to stray from the path to the organization had always followed. Every decision whether you, I, or anyone else agrees with it, was made with a view towards improving the life of the members of the NAACP.

As anyone can see looking at the chronology of events prior to 1981 the NAACP was always FOR something and promoted a positive agenda but in 1982 they started down a path of being against things and people just for the sake of demonstrating power. I’m not suggesting that some of this wasn’t warranted because the black person in America had been oppressed. It would be superhuman for there not to be some built up anger and finally having a voice to vent that anger.

Still when you look at the decision about Bob Jones University yes the NAACP was part of the reason Bob Jones University didn’t achieve tax exempt status. How exactly did that benefit any NAACP member? When the NAACP mounted the huge pressure to deny Judge Bork a seat on the Supreme Court, it can be argued that there was no benefit for all their display of political muscle. It is true that Judge Bork didn’t achieve his life’s goal, but again where was the benefit to the members of the NAACP? There have been racist judges on the Supreme Court, which is why there are nine of them. Certainly there were some unpleasant facts brought out about Judge Bork, but there was no indication in all his previous rulings that the man had any racist inclinations.

When David Duke ran for the Senate from Louisiana I think most of us were glad that he was defeated. One of the other ways of looking at that situation would be if he was in the U.S. Senate we would at least know where he was in what he was doing. Unfortunately in his defeat he has become much less visible. While I agree with the NAACP’s efforts to defeat Mr. Dukes, I fail to see any benefit to their membership.

In 1995 when Kweisi Mfume (Frizzell Gray) was elected President of the NAACP, they looked over the history of where the organization had come from and what they needed to do to increase their political muscle in the upcoming years. In his books and essays Mr. Gray almost never mentions improving the quality of life of the NAACP membership.

Mr. Gray is quoted numerous times that if he has his way every vestige that the Confederacy ever existed will be erased. He would remove all Confederate flags, all Confederate monuments, all Confederate plaques, and if he had his way he would remove the very tombstones that marked the graves of the brave Confederate dead.

My question for the NAACP and Mr. Gray is, what possible benefit could there be if he achieved every single one of these goals? How would his achieving these goals improve the life of a single NAACP member?

Attacking the Confederacy is a great fund raising activity and as a sport it closely resembles shooting ducks in a barrel. If the Southern whites protest the NAACP’s attack on their heritage, they are labeled “racists.” If they do nothing they afford him years and years of raising funds to fight this serious problem (another dragon). Essentially, Mr. Gray wins either way, and it appears he is saying the heck with the NAACP membership and their quality of life.

You have to give the Colored People credit for not being stupid which Mr. Gray apparently thinks they are. While the number of Black, Negro, or African American Citizens has increased every year, the number of dues paying members in the NAACP has fallen from its high of over 1,000,000 to under 600,000 and of the 600,000 many are life members who are not active at the local level anymore.

As an open question to the NAACP Officers and Mr. Gray in particular, I wonder why he feels it’s in the best interest of the Black Race to focus on the 4 years that Slavery was an institution in the South? There were scant records of that time, but usually Slave owners North or South treated their Slaves pretty good. No one was going around killing them or mistreating them any more than a good horse or mule (and no I’m not comparing a human to an animal, just pointing out any person would have to be pretty stupid to pay over $1,000.00 for a slave or an animal and then hurt it).

Why isn’t the NAACP, which often compares the Confederate Battle Flag to the Nazi Swastika, focused on the point were the comparison is actually correct. Hardly anyone, certainly not the NAACP leadership, ever mentioned the “Middle Passages” of the Slave trade. The first passage was from the slave’s villages where they were captured to the coastal Slave Markets in Africa. It was estimated that roughly 50% of the men, women and children captured in internal Africa made it to the Slave markets where they were sold. This was the first passage. The Middle Passage was from the time when the slaves were placed on the Slave Ships, largely owned by rich Yankee business interests, until they reached the United States mainland, most commonly in Providence (RI) or Boston (MA). The death toll during the Middle Passage was 1/3 of the slaves jammed into ships holds with poor ventilation, little water, and almost no food, yet losing only 1/3 of the slave cargo guaranteed the slave-ship owners a huge profit upon the selling of their cargo.

You have to wonder why the NAACP doesn’t bother trying to get some form of compensation for the deaths of so many black men, women and children from the very rich descendents of those slave-ship owners instead of worrying about how a poor Confederate Soldier’s grave is marked. I’m just a stupid old Indian, but we Indians have always found it’s easier to get honey from a bee tree than one containing only squirrels.

Common sense would seem to indicate the membership of the NAACP would be a lot better served seeking some form of redress from those Yankee Slave Traders who killed millions of their ancestors than from some Southern families who may have owned only a single slave and treated them well? Ah, what do I know about the politics of such things?

Still, of the three organizations listed in this essay, there is no question that the one that has had the greatest positive impact on the most people is the NAACP. They too fell victim to the slaying of all their dragons, or at least all the dragons they wanted to slay since it appears to me that there are still some serious dragons out there to slay (poor public education, crime, disproportionate incarceration, teen pregnancy, fatherless children, etc. etc).

There was an article on the television news recently about the mishandling of funds at the NAACP National Headquarters. As an independent observer it seems to this writer that the NAACP has lost its focus. It is no longer doing what is best for its membership but, rather, what is in the best interest of Mr. Gray’s wallet. It is just possible that the next Dragon the NAACP needs to slay is Mr. Gray, now that’s ironic.

SPLC

My six-year-old daughter has a new favorite word, it’s “yucky”. I can think of no better word to describe the SPLC. For me to draw a word picture of the word “yucky,” the first thing that comes to mind is a slimy snail. The second thing would be the remains of a very large stepped on bug. Both these word pictures accurately reflect the same feeling I get when I hear the name or the acronym “SPLC.”

The SPLC was formed in the 1960s by two men named Morris Dees and Joe Levin Jr. When you hear either of these names, the phrase carpetbaggers should be the first thing in your mind. They came from up north to work in the civil rights program in the legal arena. They claim to be part of many successes although most of their claims are dubious at best. The irony of this article is that it’s about dragon slayers, and their primary claim to fame and certainly the biggest dragon they ever slew, was the part they played in the destruction of the modern KKK.

Morris Dees has been called many things, and most of them are accurate. The only thing he could be called that would not be true is if someone mistakenly called him Southerner. There was an article not long ago that said Morris Dees was the most successful con man in the history of the United States. Given our history and politicians, this is a huge statement, and bears closer scrutiny.

Politicians and the truth have seldom shared the same space. It is an unfortunate fact of life that we American people are among the most gullible in the world. We want so badly to have leaders that we can look up to that when we hear a politician saying things that could be true and would be great if they were, that we always give them a chance. We believed Sonny Perdue about the Georgia Flag, we believed George Bush about Iraq and Weapon’s of Mass Destruction, we believed, well sort of, Bill Clinton about anything, surely he told the truth somewhere during his presidency. My point here is if all those people who are career politicians were lumped together they wouldn’t rate a 1 on a 100 scale on the integrity meter.

Enter Mr. Dees, and he puts the lying, scheming politicians to shame. The politicians simply mismanage the money and cause the poor pain. Mr. Dees takes the food off starving children’s plates just for the hell of it. His morals when compared to Bill Clinton’s make Mr. Clinton look like a saint in waiting. Am I painting a picture of a man who is despicable? Let me tell you just how despicable Mr. Dee’s really is; we’ve all heard the story of someone who was so ugly that the only way their dog would play with them was if their parents tied a pork chop around their neck! Mr. Dee’s parents tried that when he was young and the dogs chew their own paws off (the doggy equivalent of suicide) rather than play with him. Though I’ve carefully tried not to be offensive, I hope I’ve left the impression that Mr. Dees isn’t a nice person. (Okay I didn’t try that hard)

The funniest thing in the world is the Southern Poverty Law Center having the word “Poverty” in their name. The organization has so much money they can’t find ways to spend just the interest on the money they have. Ah, but Mr. Dees is out there poor mouthing, begging for that widow woman’s last dime to keep those horrible White Supremacists at bay. Remember the original Dragon Slayers and tigers, well you get the point.

The SPLC did have a lot to do with the eventual downfall of the KKK. Of course the FBI infiltrating every chapter certainly had a dampening effect on the inner workings of the various groups, it got to the point that if the KKK had a covered dish dinner there were more FBI agents in attendance than real KKK members. Everyone knows FBI people can’t cook so I suspect that the resulting ptomaine poisoning killed off the die hard KKK members and the SPLC just claimed credit when the FBI quit meeting, but that is just my opinion.

Next, the SPLC and Slayer Dees as he prefers to be called (after his hero{ine} Buffy of slayer fame no doubt), took on that dreaded source of white supremacy, the Church of the Creator. Actually though we here in the South never knew much about them, they were supposed to be some fairly vicious people. Slayer Dees managed to get a zillion dollar judgment against the Church and its founder. This was one of those empty victories that Slayer Dees specializes in. The whole U.S. government couldn’t satisfy the judgment slayer Dees obtained against the Church of the Creator and the old man who founded it. It is rumored that they will force the auction of the property of the land that the Church owned, and of course Slayer Dees fees come out first, if anything is left the family he was supposedly representing might get cab fare.

There was a story in the Montgomery paper last year where some of the black female employees of the SPLC were alleging racial and sexual discrimination against slayer Dees and other SPLC management. The said there was a hostile work environment, and this is supposedly the watchdog over civil rights in America. Hmm, seems like they and Mr. Gray of the NAACP are reading each other’s play book.

Let’s examine the facts, attack all things Southern, all things Confederate, and Southern White people in particular. While the NAACP has limited its attacks to flags, plaques, and memorials, the SPLC is going after the people organizations. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, the League of the South, the various Southern Parties of the different Southern States, and certainly the most dangerous and sinister Confederate hate organization of them all, the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Mr. Dees, despite his fearsome self-proclaimed brave title, looks a lot like a cat being dropped in a room full of Pit Bulls every time he is confronted by one of the lovely ladies of the UDC.

I suspect it has to do with him not knowing what to do in the presence of class and dignity, he just understands these ladies possess something he knows nothing about. Surely they must be wrong if they don’t bow to the great Slayer and his fearsome reputation. Let me share a hint with you, Mr. Slayer Dees, Southern women have been brave since before there was a country. They’ve fought bears, mountain lions, wolves, Indians, drought, floods, and all that while being pregnant with one child and carrying another. Is it any wonder then that a petty tyrant like yourself, no matter how many dragons you claim you have slain, doesn’t cause those women to bat an eye? I didn’t think so either.

There are so many things written about the SPLC and Mr. Dee’s that you have to wonder how he had maintained his license to practice Law. He has subborned Perjury in two United States Federal Courts and is barred from Practice in North Carolina Federal Courts. If any other Attorney did this, they’d be serving time in Federal Prison but Mr. Dee’s got off with a fine. Their largest success, the bankrupting of the Church of the Creator, is now coming under court scrutiny because the primary witnesses for Mr. Dees’ are now claiming they were paid for their testimony.

The Southern Poverty (?)Law Center apparently has a bank balance of over $20,000,000 and yet they are sending out mailers every day poor-mouthing and claiming the wolf is at the door. Once again to this poor old Indian it appears the wolf is the one inside, but what do I know.

Of course the Mr. Dees is not the typical Dragon Slayer. He once defended the KKK in an Alabama Court case. He saw then the money was on the other side of the case and Mr. Dees is always an opportunist. He then made a career out of attacking the KKK.

As they say in the National Football League when a play is challenged and they make up their minds, “Upon Further Review....”

After reviewing the inclusion of the SPLC in this article, I should never have made that decision. If the SPLC ever slew a legitimate Dragon, despite their claims which I bought into without examination, I can’t find it.

Sort of like a hunter who finds a trophy buck someone else killed and failed to find, the SPLC claimed to have killed many huge, ugly dragons. The only problem is they don’t actually fight dragons fairly. They wait until the FBI or ATF kills the dragon and then the SPLC runs in and has their picture taken with the slain corpse.

I have to apologize to the KKK and the NAACP for including such a scurrilous organization the same context with them. Though neither the current NAACP nor the current branches of the KKK are pictures of integrity, both stand as shining examples of sainthood compared to the SPLC. Misplacing a million or two of NAACP money can’t compare to the money Mr. Dees makes while pleading for more money to sit on. The KKK branches are bankrupt and in poverty by and large, they should once again hire Mr. Dees to rebuild their coffers.

This article could go on and on discussing groups that were created with a noble purpose in mind, yet when they completed the task they were created for, they became, in some cases, the very thing they were once fighting. An intelligent person wiser than myself could take this theme to the political arenas where the once conservative Democratic Party is now the liberal party, and the Republican Party created to exalt the so called big or central government, is now the Conservative and supposedly small government party. Ironic isn’t it that the Democratic Party’s failure in 1860 led to the election of President Lincoln as the first Republican President, which directly led to the War between the States and the destruction of the South, and in 2000 the South was responsible for the election of Republican President Bush, over a native born Southern Democrat (though by no means a Southerner).

Still someone else might choose to look at Unions which did so much good for American workers when they came into being. Today they are being blamed for the loss of millions of American jobs overseas. Personally I think that is a disingenuous argument, because even if the Unions didn’t exist the wages paid outside the US are less than would have been paid in the US without unions. That is just my opinion however.

Certainly the Unions lost sight of their primary goal which was the employment of Americans at fair wages with fair benefits, but anyone who has observed recent Union discussions would see them appearing to return to their primary goals. In that, they deserve recognition as an organization who lost their way but returned to the old paths which the Bible says are the good ways.

There are new Dragons to be slain in America today. Dragons who say its okay to criticize any and all things Southern, and that mock the traditional Southern Values of GOD, Family, Country and the basic belief that every life is worth living.

A prospective new Dragon Slayer has to deal with the three organizations above and the corrupt Federal Courts system that says your beliefs are wrong. Such a Slayer has to be able to bring together the hundreds of Southern viewpoints and focus them on a single battle at a time. The new Slayer will have to thicken some Southern skins and halt Southern in-fighting. The Slayer will have to teach moderation in the face of the constant criticism from those outside the South, so that even in the face of hatred for Southern traditions and Confederate symbols, we can remain civil in our responses.

It appears the new Slayer would need to be a planner on the order of General Lee, an encourager of people like Stonewall Jackson, a recruiter like General Nathan Bedford Forrest, and with the stealthy qualities of General Mosby and General Stuart, the moral conviction of President Davis and the diplomacy of Judah Benjamin (Confederate Sec. of State), and like Cherokee General Stan Waite the unwillingness to surrender even if the Cause appears lost. In the past it took the qualities of a lot of great men pulling together… please, GOD, let them rise again in our future.

Until that time, Oh LORD, May the GODLY Southern Spirit remain strong in your people.

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