Tag Archives: Confederate States of America

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.

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.

By all means, change the name of that school

Amarillo’s public school trustees have made the correct call in initiating the process of changing the name of a school identified with someone who sought to overthrow the government of the United States of America.

I refer to Lee Elementary School, once named Robert E. Lee Elementary School. Amarillo Independent School District trustees, feeling the heat over other communities’ struggles with monuments and buildings named after the Confederate Army general, decided to drop the “Robert E.” from the name, believing that would soften the impact of the general’s presence.

Now the name “Lee” is coming off the campus altogether. The AISD board is going to consider some suitable replacement.

This is a good call.

For starters, the school serves a predominantly African-American neighborhood. Why did Gen. Lee join with his native Virginia in seeking to overthrow the government during the Civil War? Well, because the Confederate States of America wanted the right to continue holding human beings — African-Americans — in bondage. They were slaves! Properties of their white masters!

Amarillo’s history is full of pioneers who were champions of public education, or they helped settle the region, or helped build the community. AISD’s elementary, middle, junior high and high schools already carry names of significance to Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle. They haven’t used ’em all up!

As for Gen. Lee, his name belongs in museums dedicated to explaining why he decided to go to war against the Union. It doesn’t belong on the side of a building serving a neighborhood full of descendants of those he and his Confederate comrades sought to enslave.

As AISD trustee John Ben Blanchard, who resigned from the board this week, said: “My hope is that the name of Lee Elementary will be changed to something that is not divisive or offensive to our community.”

It’s my hope, too.

Texas GOP wages new ‘civil war’ against cities

A progressive publication has called attention to what it sees as a fascinating new reaction to “liberal” cities’ attempts to rid themselves of monuments to arguably the darkest period in American history.

Texas cities are taking action to remove monuments to the Confederate States of America, which formed in 1861, declared war on the United States of America for the purpose of preserving states’ rights to enslave human beings, to allow them to be kept as property.

Dallas is the latest and perhaps most notable city to take action, according to the Texas Observer. The Texas Legislature led by a Republican super-majority in both legislative chambers, is fighting cities’ efforts to eradicate those symbols of treason against the United States.

The Observer notes that more than 30 Confederate monuments have been removed from Texas municipal property between 2015 and 2018. As the Observer noted: This has sparked an intense backlash from Anglo conservatives who see the removal of these monuments as an erasure of their Antebellum heritage. Activist groups pumped out robocalls and radio ads calling on Texas Republicans to keep the monuments in place.

The Dallas City Council approved a measure in 2018 to take down a century-old statue in downtown Dallas. It’s still standing. It has become a rallying cry, according to the Observer, of those who want such symbols to stand as a testament to Texas’s “heritage.”

Two bills, one in each legislative chamber, were introduced this legislative session that would strip local governments’ authority to take down these monuments or to rename public streets, parks or other property. As the Observer noted: Brandon Creighton, a Republican senator from suburban Houston who authored the upper-chamber version, brought the bill to the Senate floor Tuesday, prompting a heated and emotional debate. Houston Senator Borris Miles, one of the Senate’s two black members, called the legislation “disgraceful.”

Is this really going on here? Is this some sort of legislative hanky-panky aimed at circumventing cities’ ability to self-govern? What’s more, is it a form of “municipal aggression,” as the Observer calls it, launched by conservative legislators to get back at more, um, progressive/liberal politicians who wield power in city halls or county courthouses?

Again, from the Observer: Texas isn’t alone. For years, red states have enacted laws prohibiting cities from establishing local minimum wages and other labor protections. In the face of renewed public opposition to Confederate monuments, several Southern states have passed laws making it extremely difficult to remove historical monuments.

I continue to stand with those who believe the Confederacy is nothing to be saluted, or honored. The Confederate States of America committed treason against the United States of America. It was by the grace of President Lincoln who said in his second inaugural speech that he would  seek “with malice toward none and charity for all” to bind the wounds that the Civil War inflicted on the nation.

None of that, though, should stand as a reason to honor the cause of that bloodshed.

Another Confederate monument to come down

The Dallas City Council has joined the chorus of governing bodies to speak out against the memorialization of a struggle that sought to destroy the United States of America.

Voting 11-4, the council decided to remove a Confederate war memorial from property near City Hall in downtown Dallas.

I will stand and cheer the council’s decision.

The monument, as stated at the council meeting, is “non-contributing structure for the historic overlay district.” I guess that’s some sort of code that means the structure is of no discernable value.

Bring it down! The council voted to spend $480,000 to disassemble and remove it.

Confederate War Memorial is coming down

Statues such as this have a place in museums. They don’t belong necessarily on public property. Other communities have been going through this debate for some time. They are taking down these structures — statues, plaques, engravings, etc. — that commemorate the Civil War, the nation’s bloodiest conflict.

Let’s not be coy or cagey about why the Confederacy came into being: Those states wanted to retain the power to enslave human beings, to relegate them to be the “property” of slave owners.

To preserve that hideous policy, they formed the Confederate States of America and then some Confederate troops opened fire on the Union garrison in Charleston Bay, S.C.

Thus, in April 1861, the Civil War began with an act of treason!

We shouldn’t honor such an act.

The Civil War plaque is coming down! Yes!

Texas Republicans must be smitten with a rash of reason and sanity.

The GOP-influenced State Preservation Board that oversees the Texas Capitol grounds has voted to remove a plaque that declares that the Confederacy did not launch a “rebellion” that started the Civil War and that the bloody conflict’s “underlying cause” was not to “sustain slavery.”

Of course it was to allow states to keep slaves and it most certainly was a “rebellion” ignited by the Confederate States of America.

The plaque was installed by the Children of the Confederate Creed. It had been the subject of a yearlong string of complaints from those who called it historically false.

Gov. Greg Abbott, who chairs the board, called for the plaque’s removal, as did House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. State Rep. Jeff Leach, a Plano Republican who was just appointed to the board by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, said, “If I had a sledgehammer in my office, I’d go up there right now and remove it. But I’m told that’s not necessary as it will be removed very soon.”

There you have it. Reason has prevailed.

The plaque needs to come down. Thank goodness it will.

This plaque is a museum piece

The presumptive speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is making his presence felt even before the next Legislature convenes.

Republican Dennis Bonnen has joined the chorus of those who want to remove a plaque in the State Capitol Building that declares that the Civil War was “not a rebellion” and that its “underlying cause (was not) to retain slavery.”

Duh! Of course it was to keep allowing people to enslave fellow human beings. And, yes, it was a rebellion by 13 states comprising the Confederate States of America to separate from the United States of America.

Bonnen has joined Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, a fellow Republican, in calling for the removal of the plaque. Indeed, Gov. Greg Abbott — yet another GOP officeholder — has assigned a board in charge with managing state grounds to consider whether to remove the plaque. Abbott’s decision comes after Attorney General Ken Paxton ruled that the board has the authority to remove the plaque if it sees fit to do so.

The plaque contains text under the heading “Children of the Confederacy Creed.” It revises history to suggest that the Civil War, which began when Confederates opened fire on the Union garrison stationed in Charleston, S.C., was not a rebellion. It most certainly was!

As for the slavery issue, the CSA formed to preserve what it called “states’ rights,” which included the “right” for citizens to keep owning slaves, denying fellow human beings any semblance of citizenship.

According to the Texas Tribune, state Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, whose office is next to the plaque, wrote Texas Historic Preservation Board, telling the agency that the plaque “is not historically accurate in the slightest, to which any legitimate, peer-reviewed Civil War historian will attest.”

Yep, the plaque needs to come down. As George P. Bush stated in a tweet, “these displays belong in museums, not in our state capitol.”