Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down



The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
By Robbie Robertson 

Virgil Kane is the name
And I served on the Danville train
'Till Stoneman's cavalry came
And tore up the tracks again

In the winter of '65
We were hungry, just barely alive
By May the 10th, Richmond had fell
It's a time I remember, oh so well

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, "Na, na, la, na, na, la"

Back with my wife in Tennessee
When one day she called to me
"Virgil, quick, come see,
There goes Robert E. Lee!"

Now, I don't mind chopping wood
And I don't care if the money's no good
You take what you need
And you leave the rest
But they should never
Have taken the very best

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, "Na, na, la, na, na, la"

Like my father before me
I will work the land
And like my brother above me
Who took a rebel stand

He was just 18, proud and brave
But a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
You can't raise a Kane back up
When he's in defeat

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, "Na, na, la, na, na, la"

The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, "Na, na, la, na, na, la"


Robbie Robertson wrote this song, which is about the American Civil War - "Dixie" is a term indicating the old American South, and was defeated by the Union army. Robertson came up with the music for this song, and then got the idea for the lyrics when he thought about the saying "The South will rise again," which he heard the first time he visited the South. This led him to research the Civil War. 

The song's lyric refers to conditions in the Southern states in the winter of early 1865 ("We were hungry / Just barely alive"); the Confederate states are starving and defeated. Reference is made to the date May 10, 1865, by which time the Confederate capital of Richmond had long since fallen (in April); May 10 marked the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the definitive end of the Confederacy.

I decided to choose this song because of the Supreme Court turned away appeals Monday from five states seeking to prohibit same-sex marriages, paving the way for an immediate expansion of gay and lesbian unions.  By refusing to hear the appeals, the Supreme Court is driving Old Dixie down.  Yesterday's decision only effects the southern state of Virginia, plus four northern states (though Oklahoma can be considered either).

The justices on Monday did not comment in rejecting the appeals from Wisconsin, Indiana (both Seventh Circuit), Oklahoma, Utah (both Tenth Circuit), and Virginia (Fourth Circuit).   The First, Second, and Third Circuits are made up of states with marriage equality already in force.

The court's order immediately ends delays on marriage in those states. Couples in six other states — Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming — should be able to get married in short order. Those states would be bound by the same appellate rulings that were put on hold pending the Supreme Court's review.

That would make same-sex marriage legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia.  No other state cases were currently pending with the high court, but the justices stopped short of resolving for now the question of same-sex marriage nationwide.

Two other appeals courts, in Cincinnati and San Francisco, could issue decisions any time in same-sex marriage cases. Judges in the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit who are weighing pro-gay marriage rulings in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, appeared more likely to rule in favor of state bans than did the Ninth Circuit judges in San Francisco, who are considering Idaho and Nevada restrictions on marriage.  This would leave only the Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits without rulings on marriage equality, though cases are making their way through the courts in these Circuits.

Experts and advocates on both sides of the issue believed the justices would step in and decide gay marriage cases this term.  However, the justices sidestepped the issue for now.  Advocates believe that the justices have an obligation to settle an issue of such national importance, not abdicate that responsibility to lower court judges. Opting out of hearing the cases leaves those lower court rulings in place, but it leaves twenty states in a state of limbo.

It takes just four of the nine justices to vote to hear a case, but it takes a majority of at least five for an eventual ruling. Monday's opaque order did not indicate how the justices voted on whether to hear the appeals.  Of there is a dispute with the Sixth Circuit ruling against marriage equality, then the Supreme Court will likely be forced to hear the case and make a nationwide decision.  Only time will tell, but the Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits will likely eventually rule along the lines of what is expected of the Sixth Circuit, which will be further reason for the Court to take the case since their will be conflict in the lower courts. The Fifth and Eleventh Circuits are comprised of the Old Confederacy, a section of the country that is staunchly anti-LGBT rights.  Virginia may have been brought down but the fight is not over.   

5 comments:

Mike said...

One of my favorite songs. My mom made a mix tape (not CD) for me when I was a kid with like oldies and folk novelty songs including "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats, "Doo Wah Diddy," "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down," by Joan Baez, "Ghostriders in the Sky," and a few more...

Mike said...

Zac Brown Band does a pretty good rendition of the song

Jay M. said...

I love the song. I love the progress more!

Peace <3
Jay

Andrew Weiss said...

Reading comments on AOL was quite depressing, all the stupidity, vicious hatred and blatant homophobia being spewed by many people. It is scary in the sense that a couple bad election cycles could undo our gains, by simply allowing a few homophobic Justices to be appointed to serve on the Supreme Court.

Amanda said...

Each little step helps to move us toward equality. I look forward to that day. :)