To Kill a Watchman…
Good lord, is it so impossible to believe that a Southern Gentleman, born and bred in a post reconstruction culture, could still seek justice for a man he felt was innocent of the crimes he was accused? Do people actually believe that justice was absent from our Southern States for some 70 years after the War Between the States ended? Do they fail to realize that much of the antipathy between Negroes and Caucasians in Southern was occasioned by the legislative acts and actions of the Republican North, by the vindictive abolitionists and lying industrialists whose behavior was beyond the pale, and whose paid carpetbagging Yankees and draft dodging scalawags inflamed racial tensions in order to secure cheap foreclosed tax sale property and even cheaper labor for their mills and factories? I might add doing so then in much the same fashion as their descendants, Tri-Lateral Republicans and Globalist do now with NAFTA, the proposed TPP, and their patently deceptive “free” trade rhetoric.
Atticus Finch finally finds his voice, a survivor, a cynic, a man of his times, and yet a man who understands that “Justice” is the sine qua non of the Rule of Law, not some miss-perceived notion of “equality” and “fairness,” but Justice before the Bar and before God. Of course, Atticus didn’t have to pander to race, or tolerate incompetency; he didn’t have to break bread or mouth faint words of praise to appease a liberal press, or placate a politician. He simply had to hold true to the vision of Justice that Jefferson described and Madison codified, and that true American Patriots, not left wing Euroamerican partisans, espoused and died for in two revolutions, both of which were thought and fought primarily by Southerions, by gentleman just like Atticus Finch.
I believe Harper Lee hid away,for so many years, from the public eye not because she was ashamed of Southern culture or mores, but because she was ashamed she bent to the will of a progressive publisher who convinced her to prostitute her values and create a character who could never have existed, neither in Alabama, nor even in liberal New York. But like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s fanciful fiction, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, “To Kill a Mocking Bird” made for Lee, for Lippincott, a ton of, as the Apostle Peter called it in I Peter 5:2, “filthy lucre” for all. Worse, it failed to honestly portray her father, an honorable man as he was; it shamed him before a literary conceit, an idealized fable of manhood, her character Atticus Finch.
I thought “To Kill a Mockingbird” was simplistic and insulting when I read it in Fourth Grade, I rejoice that Ms. Lee belatedly gave her father the same feet of clay in her “fiction” that he had in life. Throughout modern literature, the novelty of Idealism runs strongly through the writing of the defeated and depressed, ordinary people are often dressed up as heroes, with the hope of the author absolution for some cultural sin. The shame is that the ordinary people, people like Ms. Harper’s father, or her mentally ill mother, perhaps portrayed in her writing as “Boo Radley,” are far more interesting in life than any glorified, embellished ideal of fiction.
Give me Zelda and Scott over “Jay Gatz” and “Daisy Fay” any day, and Thank the Lord that Ms. Lee finally let “Scout” admit the real Atticus, like her father, Amasa Coleman Lee, had feet of very ordinary, very human clay.