Sunday, January 31, 2016

The remarkable valediction of one of the men in my own personal pantheon of heroes.

A valediction (derivation from Latin vale dicere, "to say farewell"), or complimentary close in American English, is an expression used to say farewell, especially a word or phrase used to end a letter or message, or the act of saying parting words whether brief or extensive. -- Wikipedia.
Charles Christopher Sheats, Born 10 April 1839, Walker County, Alabama. Died 27 May 1904, Morgan County, Alabama.
Charles Christopher Sheats, better known as Chris Sheats up in the hollows and hills of Winston County, was an absolutely brave, incorruptible, modest and principled man who voted against secession at the Alabama convention in 1861 and was beaten and jailed for his resistance so the planters could later claim that the vote was unanimous. The Confederate authorities wanted to hang him throughout the war on a variety of treason charges, only to be deterred by the Federal promise to hang a number of Copperhead leaders in retaliation if they did.
You can find the marker of his grave today in McKendree United Methodist Church Cemetery off of Alabama 157, near Battleground. I have visited that plot and always marvel at the simplicity of the valediction on the tombstone:
"I love my country, my God and my kind. I have served them all. I want no praise of song or prose."
Despised by many of his fellow Alabamians while he was alive, constantly threatened with death by the planter class before, during and after the Civil War, he remains today all but unknown to history but still beloved by the descendants of the yeoman farmer mountain Unionists. The truth of his simple valediction rings throughout the years to those of us who have studied his life struggle. One could do far worse for a valediction. Sometime next month, I think I'll go back and visit with Chris one more time.
As William Faulkner once wrote: “The past is never dead. It's not even past.”


Anonymous said...

Bless your heart, Mike.

But Im surprised that the man who fired on fort sumter doesnt top your list of confederates.

I guess that no first use of force thing, eh?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 6:27,

It helps to read the post before you comment.

Nemesis said...

And I'll wager, that most of those who 'hated' this man had never bothered to meet with him.

johnnyreb said...

Reading comprehension; it's a blessing.

Chiu ChunLing said...

It's amazing how many people blind themselves to the fairly obvious fact that the Constitutional militia is fighting to preserve America against those who have illegitimately discarded the founding principles of our nation under whatever guise of 'democratic process' and 'judicial interpretation'.

Those who are today fighting to legitimize slavery and racist oppression (not always short of genocide) today are the intellectual and moral heirs of those who thus tried to pervert the Constitution in the remarkably similar tactics.

They may have improved their national media game, but that's really the only difference.

Anonymous said...

Chiu ChunLing,
Am just curious, who you are referring to, when you say, "Those who are today fighting to legitimize slavery and racist oppression..", that you are comparing to the Confederates of the past.


Chiu ChunLing said...

Slavery is that one man should work to serve others without his consent.

Who is it that tries to legitimize this idea in our day? That is your answer.

Anonymous said...

Your definition of slavery is nice and tidy! Without the pain and anguish, the daily beatings, the lack of freedom of movement and of association, and the lack of payment for services normally associated with enslavement.
Your definition is self-serving, militia doublespeak. BS.

But I get it. By this, anyone who has to pay taxes (namely all of us), are then slaves.
And the wealthy then must be the most enslaved. Under the yoke of the poor and infirm.
What BS.

Chiu ChunLing said...

Slaves can avoid the beatings and physical pain, and most of them did for much of history. Slave-masters throughout history may have exaggerated their boasts of how well they treated their slaves, but in fact a healthier and less abused slave is always more useful, and incentives do work both ways.

On the other hand, the beatings and even murders of those who refuse to submit do happen in your preferred system. It seems that you are no different from slavers of other generations in exaggerating how well you treat your slaves, how happy and free they are.

Anonymous said...

No, I've enslaved no one to date.
And I'm sorry for your poor plight, bent under the oppressive burden of the federal government, as it works its will upon you. I am truly sorry.

It is pretty clear that most of us are wretchedly mistaken in not seeing this, deluded, thinking we are enjoying the bounties of this great nation, in part due to our government and it's agencies. For example, I thought it a good thing, that the government protects certain land for all, and that it (we) fund research into scientific discovery and medical improvements. How foolish I have been in not seeing this as the whip that is killing us!

I pity you the more, because when you finally break and take up arms against this nation, most will no doubt feel as I wrongly have, and simply see you as a terrorist. And some will applaud your destruction.
I will not. But I think you have a lot of work to do to bend the will of the nation to your point of view, to avoid that end.
Do what you have to do.