Fake News: Remembering the Civil War, sort of as it happened

In the largest Civil War-era re-enactment ever staged, the entire South has elected conservative white chief executives whose anti-government positions, belief in state’s rights and the maintenance of a permanent underclass closely mirrors the region’s status of 150 years ago.

“On this sesquicentennial of the start of the War of Northern Aggression, we can take pride in looking back over a century and a half to see that — really — not that much has changed,” said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. “Blacks and poor whites living in the region are mere pawns in our effort to re-establish a right-wing Confederate States of America that serves only the wealthy, entrenched interests. Yee-haw!”

Barbour, being backed by many arch-conservatives as a potential presidential candidate in 2012, was asked about the large number of written accounts that claim the Union army defeated the Confederates in 1865.

“Hogwash!” the governor said. “Maybe that’s what they say in all those fancy history books written by progressives. But we can see the reality for ourselves. The South has risen again! As soon as we get the proper paperwork in order, we’ll be reinstituting both slavery and a plantation economy that marginalizes 95% of the white population.”

Smaller re-enactments and living history exhibits around the South have focused primarily on individual battles or issues. For example, a group in Charleston, S.C., staged a mock attack of Ft. Sumter early Tuesday. Later this summer, the fateful clash at Gettysburg will be re-imagined as a country music festival. Efforts have begun to plan a re-telling of the Lincoln assassination in 2015, with attempts at recruiting the last Southern liberal to play the slain log-splitter already underway.

“This is a region that takes great pride in its heritage,” said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has hinted that his state might be willing to lead the way to a second secession. “We also like to dress up and play soldier and make bang-bang sounds with our guns. So it’s natural that on the anniversary of the conflict that ripped this nation apart at the cost of 600,000 lives, we’re going to pretend like we won. I mean, look at the rednecks controlling state houses all across the old Confederacy — as lily white and reactionary as if Col. Robert E. Lee had developed the atomic bomb in time to avoid the surrender at Appomattox.”

When told that the current list of Republican governors in the South includes two Indian-Americans — Louisiana’s “Bobby” Jindall and South Carolina’s “Nikki” “Haley” — Perry said he counts them as white.

“That Jindall boy is a little on the extra-tan side,” Perry admitted. “But that Nikki, she’s as pale as pale can be.”

“And fine, too,” Barbour added.

Perry, Barbour and several other Southern executives are encouraging their citizens to participate in the anniversary spirit of America’s bloodiest war by attacking any representation of the federal government that they can find.

“Beat up a mailman. Lynch a nurse from the VA hospital. And if you don’t have the stomach to physically assault another human being, just grab a handful of postage stamps and rip ’em up,” Barbour said. “We want this commemoration to be special.”

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