The Contradictory South

Vol. 7, No.4: Winter 2001

Return to issue

The Contradictory South

by Sheldon Hackney
Southern Cultures, Vol. 7, No. 4: Winter 2001

"The tension between individualism and organization is a central theme of American history, a running argument between Clint Eastwood and Bill Gates. It occurs in the South with a regional flavor."

Not long after the reelection of President Clinton in 1996, while the sore losers were picking through the rubble trying to figure out how such a flawed character could win, and when the press was feasting on the story about the hazing of four women cadets who had rushed through the breach blasted in the walls of the Citadel by Shannon Faulkner the year before, a car going very fast passed me while I was driving on the Interstate from Washington, D.C., to Charlottesville, Virginia.1 This would have been unremarkable had I not noticed as the other car pulled away from me that it sported two stickers on its rear bumper. One read, “Don’t blame me, I voted Libertarian.” The other simply announced its loyalty to “The Citadel.”