‘Good Ole Rebel’ at the Everyman

My latest piece is up at the Everyman:

I’m very fond of the postbellum Confederate song ‘Good Ole’ Rebel’. Dating from the bitter days of Reconstruction, it offers a defiant rejection of the new order:

Oh, I’m a good ole’ rebel, now that’s just what I am 
For this ‘fair land of freedom’ I do not care a damn
I’m glad I fought against it, I only wish we’d won
And I don’t want no pardon for anything I’ve done.

The song then goes on to express the singer’s hatred for the victorious Yankees and the various emblems of Americana, including the flag, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, and wishing that the South had been able to kill ten times as many Yankees as they did. He then ends with a final expression of defiance:

I can’t take up my musket and fight ‘em now no more
But I ain’t a’gonna love ‘em, now that is certain sure
And I don’t want no pardon for what I was and am
I won’t be reconstructed and I don’t care a damn.

At about this point, you may be feeling some concern about my expressed admiration of this song, this paean of hatred. To clarify, it isn’t the least because I share the singer’s loathing of the United States and all its trappings. I certainly don’t, despite being a ‘good old Tory’.

What I like about the song is simply it’s unabashed, raw honesty. Here’s a man who, as he tells us, went to war for four years, was shot, frozen, and starved, all to see the nation he fought for finally conquered and destroyed…and now he’s being expected to show patriotic unity and brotherhood with the people who did all that to him.

I find it very refreshing to hear someone answer that with, essentially, “Stuff your self-righteous narratives; I am not playing along.”

Read the rest here. And here’s the song.

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