WASHINGTON, December 24, 2014 — The end of the 20th century and the dawn of the 21st has brought with it vicious and oftentimes demeaning characterizations of the south. Hollywood and mainstream media are the primary culprits.
Hollywood has pursued a uniform objective, which is to portray the deep south as caught in a perpetual time warp between 1865 and the late 1960’s. Hollywood and liberals want Americans to believe that southerners are race-hating, bible absorbed zealots who are armed to the teeth, with guns poking out from their windows and doors.
Last year, the left launched an attack on Duck Dynasty Star Phil Robertson for his Christian beliefs, tying it in with their narrative of an ignorant, racist south. The attacks crystallized the baseless, anti-Christian bias that is used to smear southerners like Robertson. It backfired, and support for his already popular show grew.
This regional bigotry is not unique to entertainment; aside from TV and movies, it appears in news articles, speeches and in negative political advertising. It is used to promote an agenda of hate designed to marginalize the south politically, thus dismissing senators and representatives from the region, who are predominantly Republican, as ignorant, Bible-thumping racists.
The point is to create fear and resentment, and create political capital for liberals and their candidates. By weaponizing hate, liberals attempt to discredit southern conservatives both black and white.
This regional mistrust began to surface when Ronald Reagan took the White House in 1981. Reagan spoke the language of the straight-talking south. It was also the language of people who had increasingly become angered by entitlement policies and affirmative action programs that were in direct opposition to Rev. King’s vision of an America where people were judged on the content of their character and not on the color of their skin.
Liberals in the camps of President Carter and his biggest Democratic opponent, Senator Edward Kennedy, supported more, not less federal welfare, and without any work or education incentives. Colorblind solutions were not on the agenda. This built dissension and created a more divided, not unified America. The political reality that Reagan campaigned on in 1980 was one where affirmative action had no end date and would discriminate in perpetuity.
For southerners as well as many Americans, the nation had lost its moral course and would need a new direction.
A Realignment Begins
I wrote a 1980 New York Time article to discuss the challenges that lay ahead for both Republicans and Democrats in dealing with urban America in Detroit’s Rumble Seat. The city was host to the Republican National Convention which gave Reagan the nomination, resulting in the launch of the new conservative presidency. Reagan would build a new a new conservative movement that the south would embrace, a movement based upon principles needed to establish Reagan’s “shining city on the hill.”
The groundwork was done by foot soldiers who embraced conservative religious values. Jerry Falwell and his new Moral Majority would lead the way.
New Civil War
The new civil war would emerge as a political force with a religious foundation that Falwell said was needed to fight the nation’s moral decay. The battles would be embraced by supporters who wanted civic leaders and classroom teachers to be led by biblical principles.
Parents stood to fight against having their children stripped of their right to read a Bible, say the pledge of allegiance in a classroom, or perform in a Christmas pageant. The fought for the sanctity of life, which was being eradicated in southern cities and urban areas by Planned Parenthood abortion clinics.
Over the next two decades, the courtroom became the battlefield as southern patriots fought against pro-abortion forces in cases to ensure that the right to life was protected. They also brought cases to defend the right to display public nativity scenes, as well as display the Ten Commandments at courthouses and public buildings. Parents went to court to ensure that their children had the right to read the Bible in school. The tide was changing, and the south was becoming more and more unified behind the belief that with the new century, a new civil war was needed based on biblical and conservative values.
Tea Party Revolution and Colorblind election wins
Elections have consequences, and with the rise of the Tea Party, a new south was emerging as well. Blacks were running for office in southern states as Republicans, and they were fully embracing colorblind universal issues like smaller government, pro-life, pro Second Amendment, and balanced budgets.
Prominent among the new southern and national Tea Party leadership is Lloyd Marcus, Chairman of the Conservative Campaign Committee and creator of the Tea Party Anthem.
The Tea Party leader joined with other conservative organizations to rack up win after win in the South and across the nation beginning in 2010. By 2014, the political setting was perfect for black southern conservatives to grab the brass ring. A year earlier, Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory announced that he was becoming a Republican. He explained his decision to the nation in a popular YouTube video, “Why I Am a Republican.” The video was a hit; it has garnered over 1.2 million views since its 2013 release.
The 2014 mid-term elections set the stage for a southern comeback, a new “civil war” fought on biblical values, the Second Amendment, and protection of the unborn. The south would set the stage.
By the time the last ballots were counted on December 6, a solid Republican south stretched from the Carolinas to Texas and history was made. First, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott became the first black person elected to the U.S. Senate from the south since reconstruction. Former CIA officer Will Hurd became the first black Republican ever elected to a U.S. Congressional seat in that state.
2016 will help cement the gains of a newly strengthened south. With new black conservative candidates joining the GOP, the founding fathers’ principles and values, which secured a nation in both war and peace, will be front and center. The American presidency may become the final battleground over the future direction of the nation.
Will the south, following the vision of Ronald Reagan, offer up a governor or senator who can run and win the White House in 2016? Can the solution for the nation’s future challenges be found in a new south?
Next: A South Renewed and Reborn: 2016, concludes three part series: The Red, White and Blue American Wave – A New South Rises.