Every once in a while I run across folks who like to style themselves as hailing from the Confederacy. I’ve seen people identify themselves as saying they are from (for example) “Virginia, CSA,” folks who fashion e-mail addresses as from the domain “csa.gov,” and so on. I’ve even come across a website claiming to be “the Confederate States of America Government Website,” which always seems to be under construction (or reconstruction). Lest you think I’m kidding, that site has a form whereby for $50 you can apply to be a Confederate citizen (by the way, it isn’t clear whether the $50 is in Confederate currency; perhaps the organizers secretly crave receiving engraved portraits of Ulysses S. Grant or ten portraits of Abraham Lincoln).
So I’ve got some questions to ask of these people who claim they are Confederates. Do they pay federal (or Federal) taxes? (You would think they would celebrate April 15 for another reason.) Do they file as foreign nationals? Do they have a US passport (how could they, if they really mean what they say)? Do they vote in US elections (talk about illegal aliens voting)? Do they have green cards? Or are these people who simply blow off steam but in fact do not have the courage of their convictions and are not willing to stand up for what they believe? Nor can they claim to be loyal citizens of the United States of America or think themselves entitled to any of the rights and privileges of such citizenship. They would be liars if they pledge allegiance to a flag they repudiate.
It seems to me that the Confederacy enjoyed more popularity after its demise in 1865 than it enjoyed between 1861 and 1865. Anne Sarah Rubin makes the same point in her fine book, A Shattered Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, 1861-1868. But there’s a difference between honoring one’s Confederate ancestors and claiming that one is a Confederate. It would be interesting if these so-called Confederates came out of the closet (or attic) and acted on their convictions. Otherwise, how can we ever take them at their word?
One thing’s for sure: you can’t claim to be a citizen of the United States of America and also claim you’re a Confederate citizen or hail from the Confederacy. Just sayin’ …