States of America. The governor of Virginia has decided his state will officially honor all
Virginians who took up arms against their country in an attempt to overthrow the legitimately
elected government. The governor of Virginia, in his remarks honoring those who would have
destroyed this nation, totally failed to mention the issue of slavery or how the Virginians
wanted to end this experiment in democracy; simply saying that the month-long homage
would be good for tourism.
The Confederate States of America declared war on the United States. They said it was
a "holy war" which God had ordained and God would insure their victory. What do you think
the reaction would have been if the governor had declared a month honoring Osama bin Laden?
His too is a "holy war" which is aimed at destroying this nation; and he too is convinced Allah
is on his side. Too outlandish you say? Crazy! The analogy doesn't work, you cry! Typical
Yankee bleeding heart liberal reaction, you opine!
I listened to former Bush advisor and adopted Southerner, Mary Matalin, try to defend
the Virginia resolution. She talked about Southern culture and courage. She waxed eloquently
about all the Civil War battles which occurred in Virginia. She saw no harm in honoring
traitors bent on destroying this nation. Then she dropped the big one: "Few Southerners
owned slaves and this was never a war about slavery anyway."
This revisionist history has been repeated and spouted practically since the war ended,
but particularly as civil rights and voting rights became popular topics and as acceptance of
African-Americans entered the mainstream of American culture. The Civil War was about
state's rights. It was not about slavery. Lincoln would have gladly let the South keep its
slaves to preserve the Union. Slavery was not the overriding issue which caused the war.
It is a way for those who love the Confederacy and want to fly a rebel flag and paint Southern
soldiers as patriots; to be able to get around the fact that if the Confederacy had been
successful, then hundreds of thousands of African-American slaves would still be in chains.
Yes, Lincoln would have allowed the South to have slavery to preserve the Union. He didn't
believe he had the constitutional authority to end it. However, in his inaugural address and
other speeches Lincoln opposed any expansion of slavery into new states. His opposition to
the expansion of slavery is what caused the South to declare war. They knew the institution
of slavery was doomed if they could not expand it. (They were so desperate to preserve and
expand slavery that there were plans proposed to conquer Cuba and have armed forces sent
to try to subdue a Latin American nation so as to expand slavery into those locations.)
The Confederate States of America and their supporters were traitors. They came closer
to destroying this nation than bin Laden or any other terrorist ever will. As a result of their
treason, 500,000 Americans died (2,900 died on September 11th; 2,800 died at Pearl Harbor).
How do you declare a month to honor those whose stated purpose was to end this nation?
What is it that the governor of Virginia finds is worth honoring in their efforts? Is he sorry
they lost? Is he honoring them for all the Yankees they killed? When you honor the
Confederacy and its cause, do you also honor those Confederate sympathizers who
assassinated President Lincoln?
Imagine being an African-American living in Virginia. Imagine picking up the morning
paper and reading how the governor wants to spend the month of April honoring those who
may have enslaved your relatives and wanted to preserve slavery in your home. How would
you feel? What subtle message does this send about the governor and his party's values
where you, a person of color, are concerned?
The governor of Virginia took an oath to preserve the Constitution. It is the same
Constitution the Confederate States of America wanted to destroy. How do you square that
Former Republican Senator Trent Lott from Mississippi suggested that this
country would have been better off if a segregationist, Strom Thurmond, had been elected
president in 1948. Republicans in South Carolina and other Southern states defend flying
the Confederate flag. The Republicans used the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act,
supported by Democrats, to scare white voters into changing parties and turning the South
into a solid Republican block. Republicans led the opposition to a national holiday honoring
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and now a Republican governor wants to honor the traitors who
tried to destroy this nation in order to preserve a system of human subjugation.
I have suggested more than once that this nation would have been better off today if
the South had been allowed to secede. Imagine a United States without Texas, Mississippi,
or Alabama. It is said with tongue firmly inserted in cheek, but it is interesting to imagine.
There is nothing glorious, courageous, or romantic in the attempt of some Americans
to destroy this country and preserve an institution as morally bankrupt as slavery. Perhaps
the only thing worse in 2010 is to have a white, regressive, and tone-deaf politician trying
to honor the effort. What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals. Please
send them to firstname.lastname@example.org