I would be curious to know how well Lincoln played in Dixie last year. Would southerners flock in droves to watch a reenactment of a war and a political reality which changed the ‘way of life’ of their great-great-grandparents? Are the ‘Confederate apologists’ in an uproar that, having spent 150 years trying to place the Confederate ’cause’ on a positive spin, their efforts might be dashed through a single Hollywood film? Surely these apologists are unhappy that their spin- the emphasis of states rights and Northern aggression- may have become unwound in a single 2-hour film.
But then, how easy is it for rural southerners to get to a movie theater? The north, on the other hand, is dotted with small cities where movie-going is easy. As a result, I suspect that more Yankees saw Lincoln than Rebs.
As the North and the South continue to move in opposite directions politically, socially and religiously, the notion of ‘unity’ appears to be fading as quickly now as it was before the Civil War. The Lincoln film may have agitated the fault line.The recent remark by Justice Scalia during the proceedings on the Civil Rights Voting Law angered people in the Blue States, and may have peeled back that old 50-year-old scab initiated by the pen stroke of Lyndon Johnson.
The states-rights issue apparently has never been put to bed- as far as the South is concerned. Within the past few years words that were common during the Lincoln Presidency were once again raised up. Words like nullification and interposition. Words that were heard from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia whose state legislators opposed the desegregation rulings and refused to enforce the desegregation of public schools. Actions that were captured in Martin Luther King’s famous speech, “I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
Have Americans forgotten their history? Their recent history?
Why is it that here, in the 2nd decade of the 21st century, these same two words are heard ‘dripping’ off the lips of southern politicians?
The war, the legislation and the attitude of The People are viewed much differently as one crosses the Mason-Dixon line. Politics, culture and religion make a rapid change on the other side. I fear that it will remain this way far into the lives of my great-grandchildren. Or great-great-grandchildren.