Daniel Ruth: Why do Confederate sons keep meeting in Temple Terrace? Maybe it reminds them of Gettysburg

Spanish moss covers oak trees along a fairway at the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club. The club’s board has banned the Sons of Confederate Veterans from holding its annual banquet at the club again. [MONICA HERNDON | Times (2017)]

What’s next? A Kristallnacht fish fry night at the Temple Terrace Country Club? Fun for the whole family, just as long as you’re not black, or Jewish, or — take your pick.

For a while now, the Sons of Confederate Veterans has had a thing about holding its annual banquet at the country club. Who knows what the appeal is? Perhaps the expansive fairways of the gold course reminds the alleged "southern heritage" group of Gettysburg.

But the presence of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has offended many residents of Temple Terrace as well as the club’s membership. It could be all this Doo-Dah, Doo-Dah revisionist history claptrap gets pretty stale after a while.

And thus, the club’s executive committee has voted not to book its banquet room for the group’s annual goober day festivities.

The bum’s rush from the country club royally annoyed David McCallister, the grand Gomer Pyle Hotsy-Tot of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who keeps insisting his organization is nothing more than a vanguard of Southern heritage for stuff like juleps on the verandah, William Faulkner and Smokey and the Bandit film festivals.

But some members of the club were distressed over reports that the last time the Sons of Confederate Veterans dined at the Temple Terrace Country Club to pay homage to all that gibberish about "heritage," the revelers included some yahoos sporting pins and pendants depicting nooses. Well one man’s "heritage" is another’s fear-mongering. Dignity, always dignity.

For his part McCallister insisted he knew nothing about the noose stuff. And if, by chance, any references to lynchings were uttered, they most certainly didn’t come from anyone who may have been on the banquet’s podium. McCallister’s obliviousness might well suggest this chap has the all the powers of observation of Sgt. Schultz.

It is true the Temple Terrace Country Club has struggled financially in recent years. And hosting banquets and other social functions is an important revenue stream for country clubs. Fair enough.

But how much is a reputation worth? In the pursuit of cash flow, how low is a business willing to go? What is the price for accepting a check from a potential customer, which is aligned with humanity’s worst instincts.

David McCallister can babble on endlessly about all this "Southern Heritage" balderdash. But this has nothing to do with "heritage" or culture, or some muddled misplaced sense of honor. At the end of the day, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is a group that celebrates the root cause of the Civil War — defending and maintaining the cruel institution of slavery.

If a group of Neo-Nazis approached the Temple Terrace Country Club and tried to book the banquet room for its annual Hermann Goering Bratwurst Festival, how long do you think it would take for the executive committee to give these folks the bum’s rush out the door?

And it’s rather doubtful the club would be interested in catering an event for the North American Man/Boy Love Association.

Why then, should the Temple Terrace Country Club have any obligation to rent space to an organization that, despite faux protestations it is merely a group honoring "Southern Heritage," is actually an association that pays homage to a history of hate and racism?

McCallister and his little Sons of Confederate Veterans friends have every free speech right to spout their fiddle-faddle about some amorphous concept of "Southern Heritage."

And the Temple Terrace Country Club has every right to deny McCallister and the Sons of Confederate Veterans a soap box to spew their twisted view of American history.

There are more than plenty of venues for the Sons of Confederate Veterans to hold their next soiree of illiteracy.

That’s why God created street corners. And dark holes, too.

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