Tag Archives: Civil War

Donald ramps up his demagoguery

Let’s call it Demagoguery by The Donald.

It was on full display this weekend as Donald Trump spoke to the nation during two Independence Day events.

He said this, among other things: “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”

How about that? Makes you proud, right? Well, if it does, then you’re as sick as Donald Trump.

Trump’s full-on, all-out assault on our nation’s culture contains so many red flags, I almost don’t know where to begin.

A “merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes …”

I want to visit with that statement for just a moment.

Defaming “our heroes” is nowhere to be found in this current effort. The “heroes” to whom Trump refers are actually traitors to the nation. These are the individuals who sided with the Confederacy that in 1861 seceded from the Union. Their aim was to overthrow the federal government. They went to war against the United States.

Why? Because they wanted to preserve slavery. They wanted to retain the ability to enslave human beings, to treat them as property.

These individuals might be “heroes” to those who endorsed the treason they committed, but not to the rest of us. They are traitors.

Yet these are the individuals Donald Trump wants to salute. These are the treasonous characters Trump wants to salute.

I am having trouble recalling a time in my life when I’ve heard such blatant, bald-faced demagoguery coming from the president of the United States.

There it is. Laid out there for all to see and hear.

This individual is a disgrace.

An awakening has occurred about our history

Americans have been awakened perhaps in an unprecedented fashion about the history of the nation and the stone-cold reality that some of it is ugly and need not be displayed alongside the glorious chapters written along our national journey.

They are taking down Confederate monuments. These are statues of men who committed treason by joining a military force that sought to overthrow the government of the United States.

This awakening occurred, as you know, with the recent deaths of African-Americans at the hands of white police officers. There has been an explosion of anger at the injustice many Americans perceive in the nation.

Donald Trump, quite naturally, believes the monuments should remain. He is tone deaf and blind to what they represent. Or … he knows what they mean but is steeped in appealing only to the base of supporters who continue to stand with him even while the rest of the nation turns its back on Trump’s Stone Age notion of national history.

Trump’s stated concern is that we are seeking to forget that part of our history. I beg to differ. With emphasis.

The issue has not a thing to do with forgetting or ignoring the Civil War, or the reasons why we fought it. I don’t hear demonstrators saying such nonsense. I hear them say instead that we need to consign these artifacts to their proper place.

Statues of Confederate generals do not belong on public property. They belong in museums, where they can be displayed along with text and other reference material that tells visitors what these men did and why they did it. Why did the Confederate States of America declare war on the United States of America? To preserve the rights of states to own slaves, to keep human beings in bondage.

That is a history worth celebrating? No. It isn’t. It is a history worth remembering and studying for eternity, but not to celebrate or to honor or to salute.

So, let’s just ignore Donald Trump’s mindless rants about preserving history. No one wants erase the Civil War from our textbooks or deny children knowledge of what happened in the 19th century.

We have awakened to what I believe is an obvious conclusion … that the men who fought against the U.S. government were traitors and we should remember them as such.

No desire to ‘salute’ such horror

Yes, by all means look at this picture.

The message was posted on Facebook I presume by someone who opposes the takedown of Confederate memorials. The text is spot on … until we get to the last line.

Auschwitz stands as a grim reminder of humankind’s cruelty. It doesn’t glorify anything or anyone. Nor do any of the other memorials scattered throughout Europe that take note of the Holocaust and the evil that produced it.

Therefore, I still stand with those who oppose the glorification of the American Civil War and the Confederate States of America’s secession from the Union to fight to preserve slavery.

Those who fly the Confederate flag do so by and large to celebrate what the CSA did, which was to commit treason against the federal government and to bring on the bloodiest conflict in American history.

My wife and I went to Germany in 2016. We stayed with friends in Nuremberg. I had the chance to tour the Documentation Center in the city where Nazi and Japanese leaders were put on trial for crimes against humanity. Our friend in Nuremberg told us that Germans do not fly the swastika to celebrate what the Nazis did; nor do they salute picture of Adolf Hitler. They have erected or preserved these structures to remind the world — and themselves — of the horror that humanity is capable of bringing to itself.

I never will accept the notion that the Confederacy, the Civil War and the reason for fighting it should stand as proud symbol of our nation’s “heritage” and “history.” Sure, keep the statues — but place them in museums and tell the world about the evil they represent.

KKK = Confederate flag

I cannot let this photo stand without offering a brief comment about the juxtaposition of two key elements this picture contains.

Look at the fellow gesturing. He is a Ku Klux Klansman demonstrating in 2017 in Charlottesville, Va., the site of that terrible riot that killed a young woman protesting against the Klan, neo-Nazis and assorted white supremacists.

Now, look at the flags flying behind him. Do you see a familiar pattern? It’s the Confederate flag, the piece of cloth that some Americans want to keep displaying in public places because it “symbolizes heritage” and is a “piece of American history.”

It seems to be lost on those pro-Rebel flag folks that the KKK stands with that flag because of what it represents: the maintaining of slavery in states that seceded from the Union in 1861 and launched the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history. Then again, maybe it isn’t lost on them at all!

The Confederate flag represents the very thing that the moron seen in this picture snapped by the New York Post represents.

It represents oppression, which my reading of history tells me caused our founders to create this nation in the first place, to live in a place free of the kind of oppression symbolized by the Confederate flag.

Spare me, then, the clap-trap about “history” and “heritage.”

Juneteenth rushes to the fore!

Americans are getting a major wake-up call on a matter of profound historical significance.

It was brought to us by the deaths of African-American men who died in police custody. It has evolved into demonstrations, peaceful protests and, yes, into terrible riots. Set aside the violence for a moment and let’s look at the event that has been thrust into our consciousness.

Juneteenth is celebrated every June 19 by the African-American community. It marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston to tell blacks they had been emancipated, freed from enslavement. They were free men, women and children.

Many millions of Americans knew of Juneteenth, they knew about the event that some of us celebrate every year. We now are being educated. Juneteenth represents a seminal moment in American history.

Accordingly, we now are hearing from members of Congress — yes, from both major political parties — who are calling for Juneteenth to become a federal holiday. I am not usually a fan of legislative remedies of this sort, matters brought to us through tragedy. They too often seem like an overreaction.

Not this time! Juneteenth is as significant an event as any that have occurred. It brought an end — finally! — to the curse of enslavement. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution wiped slavery off the books at the end of 1865.

I am heartened to see Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas present legislation seeking to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday. He no doubt will have plenty of Democratic support among his Senate colleagues.

I realize fully that creating a new federal holiday will not assuage the concerns of Americans about the treatment of black citizens at the hands of some white-dominated law enforcement agencies. The work to right those wrongs must proceed. I also realize that not all police are evil, that the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers are men and women of high honor and integrity. The events of recent weeks have brought vivid clarity to the concerns raised for too long by African-Americans about the treatment they receive from police agencies.

That clarity now also includes an understanding of the significance of Juneteenth, not just to African-Americans, but also to the entire nation. Yes, it is past time to set that day aside as a national holiday.

Glad to resume Confederacy debate

If only we could have had this debate when I was a kid.

We didn’t. When I was a youngster studying the Civil War in my Portland, Ore., hometown, I recall only being taught that 13 states seceded from the Union, fought to form a new country south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The South lost the war, which was fought for reasons that, as I recall, went over my head. The nation rebuilt itself over a lengthy period of time.

End of story.

We were not taught by our teachers about matters relating to treason or whether those who ran the Southern states were traitors to the country from which they separated. Oh sure, we talked about slavery. I knew that black Americans were enslaved and that they were set free after the Civil War. I do not recall, though, linking slavery with the war that killed 700,000 Americans on battlefields throughout much of the eastern part of the country.

We’re now re-engaging that debate. It involves whether we should keep statues of Confederate soldiers in public places. We’re talking about removing the names of Confederate generals from the gates of military installations. Gosh, we never discussed the hideous irony of Army posts operating under the names of men who fought against our armed forces. We are now … and for that I am grateful.

I prefer that we take the names of these traitors off our military installations. I want the statues and other structures taken off our public places and put in museums where we can tour them, study them and teach our children and grandchildren about the treasonous act they committed by declaring war on the United States of America.

Let the debate continue.

No need to ‘erase history’

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and the senior senator from this state, is now “open” to the possibility of changing the names of U.S. military posts that contain the names of Confederate traitors against the nation.

He formerly opposed it. Now he’s willing to study it along with members of both parties in the Senate.

“I realize these are contentious issues,” he continued. “What I don’t want us to do is to try to erase our history because, frankly, if you forget your history, you’re condemned to relive it.”

Look, there is no need to “erase our history” by removing the names. Just put those names in the proper museums, allowing our children to study them and to understand what they did to have their names eliminated from those military installations.

For the record, what they did was declare war against the United States, fight for the Confederate States of America, inflict hundreds of thousands of casualties on American warriors. And for what purpose? To allow states to keep human beings in bondage as slaves.

Lesson over. Take the names down.

I hope Sen. Cornyn’s views on the subject continue to evolve in the right direction.

Glad to re-engage this Confederate debate

I am so very happy that Americans are re-engaging each other in this debate over the Confederacy, the Confederate States of America and whether we should be naming public institutions — namely military establishments — in honor of enemies of the state.

The debate has been joined yet again because many Americans are awakening to the realization that the CSA was formed in 1861 for one purpose: to destroy the United States of America. Why? To enable states to continue to enslave human beings, to allow them to be kept as property of other human beings.

So the Confederacy fired on a Union garrison in Charleston Harbor, S.C., and ignited the Civil War.

The men who fought for the CSA were traitors to the nation. There is no other way to consider them. So now we have resumed the debate over whether their names belong on places such as Army posts, which trains, houses and equips men and women to defend this country against its enemies. The irony is astounding.

You may spare me the tired notion that the Confederate statues and the names of these individuals on buildings and other public establishments is a recognition of the nation’s “heritage.” The heritage that some of us want to protect does not deserve the honor it has been given. That it took so long to understand that perhaps is the most astonishing aspect of this debate.

The argument that the CSA was steeped in protecting “states’ rights” also has been revealed as a tired euphemism for what it really intended to protect. Slavery is this nation’s original sin and we must deal with it forthrightly.

Now is as good a time as any, given that so much time has passed since those Americans were set free and granted the rights of citizenship they deserved to possess all along.

This debate, of course, is lacking one key voice … that of the commander in chief, who says he won’t accept the idea of changing the names of military posts. Donald Trump cannot offer a single reason to keeping these names, other than to placate those among his political base who demand that they remain.

Someone said today that the names of these enemies of the Union — and the flag under which they fought — deserve to be displayed in museums … alongside other enemies of the United States: the Nazis, fascists, ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Soviet Union, the North Vietnamese communists, the People’s Republic of China.

Should they remain attached to places of high honor and respect? Absolutely not!

How’s this for irony?

Irony can be found all across the political landscape, such as when “family values” politicians are caught taking a tumble in the sack with someone other than their spouse.

Let’s try this one on for size, too: Naming a U.S. military installation in honor or memory of someone who once fought against the U.S. military during the bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history. 

A move is afoot to change the names of several such installations — primarily Army posts — because they carry the names of Confederate officers who went to war against the United States of America.

Donald Trump — the Dipsh** in Chief who doesn’t understand anything about U.S. history — won’t have it. He vows to veto any legislation that comes to his desk that seeks to change these names. He stands behind the Confederate traitors rather than understanding or appreciating the supreme irony in their names being attached to these military installations.

Of course, Trump is appealing to that “base” of voters who believe that the Confederate States of America wasn’t all that bad a chapter in our nation’s history. I mean, all those CSA officials wanted was to retain the right to own human beings, to enslave them and treat them as three-fifths human, personal property. So, they seceded from the Union and went to war with the United States. The Civil War, incidentally, killed more than 600,000 individuals on both sides of the divide.

And some of us still want to continue to honor the memories of these men who went to war against the United States? Please. No.

Flag means more than ‘heritage’

I am so glad that NASCAR has decided to strike down the Confederate flag, banning it from being displayed at its events.

My Southern friends contend the flag symbolizes their “heritage.” Here’s my take on it.

The “heritage” includes:

  • States rights. Sure it does. The states rights issue precipitated the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history. The Confederate States of America started that war so that they could preserve states rights to own slaves, to put Americans in bondage.
  • Racial hatred. That, too. It is no mystery why the Confederate flag is seen flying at Ku Klux Klan rallies. The hate group that used to lynch African-Americans flies the Stars and Bars at its rallies to this day as a statement of solidarity with what the flag represents to them. In the KKK’s eyes, the Stars and Bars symbolizes their desire to continue their hatred against citizens who happen to be of African descent.

NASCAR shouldn’t be condemned necessarily for waiting so long to do the right thing. Instead, I merely will salute the racing governing body for doing it … period.

The organization that was born in the South but which seeks to expand its fan base far beyond its Southern base has lined up on the right side of history.