Friday, September 11, 2015
How De-Confederate America Will We Go? What's Next For the Symbols of the Confederacy and the South?
I have no brief for the Confederacy or the Confederate Battle Flag. It does not reflect my ancestry, heritage, culture, or values, but I believe that in a pluralistic society we need to respect the culture of other citizens. The Confederacy lost the Civil War, the War Between the States, That Recent Unpleasantness, the Lost Cause, the War Between the States. Call it what you want, the South lost and slavery ended in the United States. The slaves were free. The South lost, but its spirit lived on. The Confederate Battle Flag of the Army of Virginia became the symbol of official defiance during the emerging Civil Rights Movement. It came to fly over the statehouses of the South, becoming a national symbol of the South. The flag was increasingly furled in recent years, but it survived in states like South Carolina. The South was divided. Whites wanted to keep the flag unfurled, while Blacks wanted it to disappear. Dylann Roof, a crazed racist, settled the dispute on June 17, 2015. He joined a Bible study session at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina for an hour, whereupon he pulled out a Glock 45 and started shooting. He killed nine African Americans, including senior pastor and state senator Clementa C. Pinckney, and wounded one. His expressed goal was to start a race war, as he hurled racial epithets. The result was the opposite. He brought both races together on the issue of the Confederate Flag. His website had pictures of him with the Confederate Battle Flag. South Carolina’s course is clear. It will try, convict and execute Dylann Roof, unless Supreme Court Justice Kennedy rules the death penalty unconstitutional. Governor Nikki Haley, who opposed removal of the Flag from the State Capitol last year, held a press conference on June 22 in which she requested the South Carolina Legislature approve by the required 2/3 margin the removal of the Flag. She said: The “Flag was an integral part of our past, but it does not represent the future.” The Legislature concurred two weeks later. The Flag was furled on July 10. Walmart announced it would stop selling products with the Confederate Flag, followed by a host of other retailers, including Sears, Kmart, Target, Amazon and EBay. Warner Brothers announced the General Lee, the Dukes of Hazzard Dodge Charger, was persona non gratis. The new paroxysm of political correctness did not end there. It extends to “historical correctness.” Let us therefore remove all symbols of the past that we currently find unacceptable. Thus the next cry was to remove the names of prominent Confederate leaders from streets, schools, and buildings. Robert E. Lee would be removed from many schools around the nation. Jefferson Davis’ name would have to be removed from the Virginia highway across the Potomac from Washington, D.C. Yale announced a discussion about the future of John C. Calhoun’s name on a dorm. The Congressman, Senator and Vice President from South Carolina was an ardent supporter of Nullification and slavery, and a proponent of secession He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale in 1804, and thus was one of its most famous grads from early years. Yale’s dilemma is compounded because it is named for an early benefactor, Elihu Yale, who made his fortune in India with the East India Company, He supervised the Slave Trade. Brown University has a greater naming problem, being named for Nicholas Brown Jr., whose family fortune was built on the Slave Trade. Much of the early wealth of New England came from maritime trades, especially slavery and whaling. Washington and Lee University announced it was removing the Confederate flags at the Lee chapel on the campus. Why stop with half measures? Shouldn’t it logically also remove “Lee” from its name? Robert E. Lee was the most significant Confederate general. Yet, he was also a voice of reconciliation after the war. If Lee must go, then so do should Washington. George Washington is the Father of this country, but he was also a slaveholder. Hence, it will now be the District of Columbia, but that too is suspect because many accuse Christopher Columbus of unleashing the European genocide on the Native Populations of North and South America. Washington State can become the State of Evergreen. The University of Washington, Washington State, George Washington University, and Washington University will also need a new name. Washington State can now officially go as WaZoo. Thomas Jefferson, one of our great Founding fathers, as a slaveholder may also have been the father of the slave Sally Hemings’ six children. He and Andrew Jackson were the founders of the modern Democratic Party. General Jackson won the battle of New Orleans, but as President, the slave owning President, initiated the Trail of Tears. Hence, Connecticut and Iowa just dropped “The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner” from the annual Democratic celebration and fundraiser. States will have to rename the counties of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, and Monroe, who also gave us in some minds the imperialistic Monroe Doctrine. The Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial must have a new name. All the Confederate War generals and soldiers immortalized on town square statues should be replaced, perhaps with statues of carpetbaggers and scallywags, or even General Grant, who only owned one slave for a short time. I’ve long believed that if we are to be consistent in this form of abject political, correctness then we should remove Chief Justice Earl Warren’s name from the University of California Berkeley Law School. He was one of the two drivers of one of our most reprehensible acts of the 20th Century, the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. The University of Texas is moving Jefferson Davis from his pedestal near the library to an archive of the Civil War. The penultimate act of penance will be Georgia destroying Stone Mountain, thereby joining the ranks of ISIS and the Taliban. Some liberals are even demanding that President Obama replace President Reagan’s name on National Airport. We are using today’s standards to judge conduct of centuries ago, whose values, mores, and culture were very different reflecting a different era. We are looking foolish in doing so.