We’ve mentioned a few times that the reason we had set today as the launch day of RSM is to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. A few astute observers pointed out that the war actually began on April 12, with the firing of the first shot over Fort Sumter. This begs the question: why April 9?
While the firing on Sumter indeed marked the official beginning of hostilities between North and South, that shot was loaded weeks earlier with the secession of the Southern states and subsequent founding of the Confederate States of America. But a loaded cannon does not a war make. A fuse must be lit.
On April 9, 1861, one hundred fifty years ago to this day, the Confederate cabinet met to decide a course of action with regard to the Union occupation of Fort Sumter in the Charleston harbor. CSA President Jefferson Davis had suggested the South seize the fort. His cabinet met to determine whether to follow his suggestion.
With CSA Secretary of State Robert Toombs the lone (and vehement) dissenting opinion, the cabinet chose to attack. The fuse was lit.
So the war truly began not with a shot, but with a decision. The men present in that room that April day had no way of knowing that their decision would not preserve the ways of the Old South, but slowly begin to demolish it, making way for a New South.
Today, we here at Real Southern Men are making a decision, too. Our decision, seemingly frivolous when first suggested, has evolved into something far more exciting. We are making a choice to no longer be ashamed of our Southern roots, to embrace everything good about the South while boldly facing up to the ghosts of our past, to strike a chord for our unique regional culture before franchised, mass-marketed homogeneity wipes it off the map, to figure out what it is about those men we consider Real Southern Men and do our damnedest to emulate it.
We are making a decision to become the best kind of men: honest men, honorable men, hard-working, well-heeled, well-versed and well-mannered men. Southern men.
It won’t be an easy process. We’ve only lit the fuse on the first shot of the war against bland sameness. We’ll shamelessly “wrassle” with our issues as we try to become Real Southern Men, because let’s face it, none of us are even close right now, least of all me.
Whether you’re a man or woman, live in the North, the South, East or West, if you love good food, good music and a tale well told, you’ll want to stick around for this. It’s gonna be the best war you ever fought!
(You can follow Wayne on Twitter.)