Editor’s Note: Written by Stephen Clay McGehee. Reposted with permission from Be A Southern Gentleman: http://beasoutherngentleman.com/
Many of us uphold the culture of the Old South as our ideal. We draw on the lives of men like Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson to understand what that culture was like. We look at contemporary writing, at the art and the architecture, at the politics, and at whatever else we can find to learn about that culture. In the end though, we are left with our own individual interpretation of the culture of the Old South.
An interpreted culture is one that is shaped by those who are doing the interpreting. How we shape this culture says a lot about who we are. What we are doing here is shaping a culture that retains and builds on the best aspects of what we know about the original culture of the Old South.
What an opportunity we have! In reality, those of every culture have that same opportunity, but there are few forces at work trying to shape the current culture of the Old South, so we have a great amount of latitude in shaping that culture. What are we going to do with that opportunity? What choices will we make? Most importantly – how will we incorporate that into our own lives?
The culture of the Southern gentleman is the culture of the Old South. We can shape our lives to be true Southern gentlemen, true Southern ladies, and to raise our children and our grandchildren to follow in those footsteps. Will we? Or will we just go along with the crowd with what passes for culture today? The lyrics of Silence is Golden 1 include the words, “Talking is cheap, people follow like sheep, even though there is nowhere to go.”
We have a great opportunity to shape our lives and our families. Let’s not squander that opportunity.
- The Tremeloes, 1967
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