Tag Archives: Confederate States of America

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.”

Espy vs. Hyde-Smith: Race still matters . . . sadly

I do wish this weren’t the case, but race still matters in determining our elected leadership in many of our states.

I fear we’re going to see an example of it at the end of today when they count the ballots in Mississippi, a state long held up as an example where bigotry and racism run rampant.

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is running for election to a seat to which she was appointed. The Republican is facing Democrat Mike Espy, a former agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s a runoff election, with Hyde-Smith and Espy competing as the top two finishers in an open contest featuring candidates from both major parties.

It doesn’t look good for Espy at this moment. Why? Well, Espy is an African-American candidate. He also is known as a moderate Democrat, a thoughtful fellow with extensive government experience.

Hyde-Smith has been caught in a number of troubling incidents. She said just a few weeks ago that she would be on the front row if she were invited to a “public hanging.” Many substituted the term “hanging” with “lynching,” which of course sounds the siren to African-Americans who know what that entails.

She then offered one of those idiotic non-apologies, saying she is sorry to “anyone who was offended” by her remarks. She also had her picture taken in 2014 wearing a Confederate cap, packing a rifle under a caption that extolled the Confederacy’s glowing role in state history.

Sheesh, man!

Mississippi is a deeply Republican state. Espy is hoping to capture lightning with a record African-American turnout today, while winning roughly a quarter of the white vote. Will it happen? I hope it does.

Here, though, is one more kick in the gut: The third-place finisher in that earlier election was a Donald Trump sycophant, Chris McDaniel; most of the votes that McDaniel got are damn near a cinch to end up in Hyde-Smith’s column at day’s end.

Yes, we should all should be interested in this race, even though it’s down yonder in Mississippi. The winner will help write national laws that affect all of us.

Thus, I am pulling for Mike Espy.

Yes, on renaming Virginia highway!

Good job, Alexandria (Va.) City Council.

The council has yanked the name of an American traitor off a highway that runs from Arlington to Richmond.

It thoroughfare was formerly known as the Jefferson Davis Highway. Its new name will be the Richmond Highway.

Jefferson Davis, of course, was the president of the Confederate States of America. The CSA decided in 1861 to declare war against the United States of America. Confederate artillery gunners then opened fire on the Union garrison at Fort Sumpter, S.C.

Thus, the Civil War began. It would end four years later with roughly 600,000 men dying on battlefields throughout the North and South.

Jefferson Davis’s complicity in launching that war is beyond dispute. He was a traitor to the nation. Do we honor such individuals? Should we honor them? Of course not! Indeed, a school in Richmond will be renamed in honor of Barack H. Obama, after carrying the name of Confederate Army Gen. (and another traitor) J.E.B. Stuart.

As The Hill reported: There has been a massive push to rename markers and landmarks named after members of the Confederacy following the Charleston shooting and the Charlottesville, Va., white supremacy rally last year.

Accordingly, the Arlington City Council has just struck down one more tribute to an infamous historical figure.

AISD might join important national debate

Amarillo isn’t known as a community to get involved deeply in intense national debates.

So it is with some surprise that I have learned that the Amarillo Independent School District is considering whether to change the name of an elementary school named after a Confederate army general.

Robert E. Lee Elementary School is now in the AISD crosshairs, joining other such public structures that have been targeted in the wake of recent controversy surrounding the a sad and tragic chapter in our nation’s history.

Lee School sits in the middle of a largely African-American neighborhood. We all know, of course, who Robert E. Lee was. For those who don’t, I’ll just explain briefly: He was the commander of Confederate army forces that fought on the losing side of the American Civil War. Oh, and why did the Confederates fight against the United States of America? They wanted to break up the Union.

Those who fought for the Confederacy fought against the United States. By my way of looking at it, the Confederates were traitors. Do we honor them, therefore, by putting their names on public buildings?

So, AISD trustees next week are going to visit with legal counsel to discuss a possible name change. The decision to consider such a thing has met with approval from local NAACP leaders.

AISD building-naming policy follows that new schools are named after the neighborhood they serve. AISD does make some exceptions, such as naming a school in a largely black neighborhood after a man who fought to preserve slavery.

This issue came to a full boil in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., riot involving white supremacists, Klansmen and neo-Nazis who fought against counter protesters. It’s simmered down somewhat, but a serious national conversation has continued.

It has arrived in Amarillo, Texas.

AISD board president James Austin said he hasn’t yet made up his mind on whether to support a name change. That’s fine. Take your time, Mr. President.

I happen to think a name change is in order. But that’s just me.

‘Socialistic fear mongers’? C’mon, Commissioner Miller

Sid Miller thinks badly of Six Flag of Texas’s decision to remove the Confederate flag from its entrance in Arlington.

The state agriculture commissioner is entitled to his opinion. I wonder, though, why someone with responsibility of Texas farm and ranch policy would weigh in on a matter over which he has zero influence.

He is an elected public official. Miller, thus, is entitled to speak out.

Since he is an elected official and since he has taken his anger out on Six Flags, I intend to respond briefly here.

First, pipe down. Second, the Confederate flag represents something quite different to millions of Miller’s fellow Texans. As the Texas Tribune reported: “The monuments honoring our southern soldiers are but a first step in a trend that very well could eventually bring down the American flag at some point if this trend is allowed to continue,” Miller said. “I was extremely disappointed to hear that Six Flags over Texas in Arlington had succumb to this scourge of race baiting, liberal activism and that the company had decided to bring down the six historic flags that flew over Texas.”

Good grief, dude! No one is going to “bring down the American flag.” Settle down, commissioner.

There’s also this from the Tribune: In his statement, Miller suggested the park was “implying that one should look upon [the removed flags] with shame and dismay,” and appeasing a  “band of socialistic fear mongers.”

Sheesh.

The monuments honoring “our southern soldiers” also remind many of us that the Confederacy was formed out of an act of treason. It took form when states — such as Texas — seceded from the Union and then went to war with the United States of America.

Why did they do that? They went to war to fight for the right of states to continue hold human beings in bondage, to keep them enslaved.

All Six Flags did was take down the Confederate flag — one of the flags under which Texas has existed — because the Confederacy represents division, bloodshed and, yes, slavery. It chose instead to fly just Old Glory at its front gate.

What’s so wrong with flying the Red, White and Blue?

Put Confederates in museums, and study what they did

I suppose it’s time to make a decision on what I think we should do with these Confederates statues scattered around many of our states.

Put ’em in museums. Make displays of them and then explain to visitors who these men were, what they did and tell the world about the consequences of their actions.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott weighed in this week on the subject in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., mayhem that left a young woman and two Virginia state troopers dead. The pro-Nazi/white supremacist/Klan march prompted a counter protest that turned violent.

And for what? Because the hate groups sought to protest the removal of a statue from a public park of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general who led the army that fought against the United States of America.

According to the Texas Tribune  — “Racist and hate-filled violence – in any form — is never acceptable, and as Governor I have acted to quell it,” Abbott said in the statement. “My goal as governor is to eliminate the racist and hate-filled environment we are seeing in our country today.”

“But we must remember that our history isn’t perfect,” Abbott added. “If we do not learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Instead of trying to bury our past, we must learn from it and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Tearing down monuments won’t erase our nation’s past, and it doesn’t advance our nation’s future. As Governor, I will advance that future through peace, not violence, and I will do all I can to keep our citizens safe.”

Those are noble words and sentiments. I am not going to go the distance on these monuments. I share Gov. Abbott’s view that they shouldn’t be torn down and destroyed. But I also share the view of those who wonder why we “honor” individuals who turned on the Republic, ignited a bloody Civil War and fought to preserve “states’ rights” to enslave human beings.

These traitors to the nation don’t deserve to be honored with parks and structures that carry their names. They don’t deserve to have statues displayed in public places frequented by Americans who are direct descendants of those who had been kept in bondage.

I rather would see these monuments relocated as museum pieces accompanied by narratives that explain who they are and the role they played in that terrible, dark chapter in our otherwise glorious national story.

The governor said removing the statues “won’t erase our nation’s past, and it doesn’t advance our nation’s future.”

It shouldn’t erase the past, governor. As for the future, well, we advance it by keeping the egregious errors of our past in full view and presenting it in complete context to ensure we don’t repeat them.

Violence erupts in a city known for knowledge

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia and a community associated with one of our greatest Americans, our nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson.

Donald J. Trump has condemned the violence that has erupted there, as he should have done. “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!” the president said via Twitter. Exactly, Mr. President.

White nationalists, some of them wearing Ku Klux Klan garb, are protesting the removal of a Confederate statue. Their presence has prompted counter protests; thus, the clash that is threatening to blow the community apart.

I keep noticing something about the white nationalists marching through Charlottesville. It’s the presence of the Stars and Bars, the flag generally associated with the Confederate States of America, which seceded from the Union in 1861 and commenced the Civil War.

We’ve been debating for the past 150 or so years about the reason for the Civil War. Was it about slavery? About race? Was it about states’ rights? Or southern “heritage”?

Defenders of the Confederacy keep suggesting the Civil War wasn’t about race, or about slavery. They point to the “heritage” issue as the linchpin issue, and that the states didn’t want the federal government dictating to them how to run their internal affairs.

OK. If that’s the case, why do these white nationalists keep marching under the Stars and Bars? What does the presence of the Confederate symbol mean in that context?

For that matter, I should note, too, that one sees that symbol displayed with great “pride” at KKK rallies. Someone will have to explain to me the juxtaposition of the Stars and Bars and the KKK/white nationalists.

I’m all ears. You may now have the floor.

Should this statue come down?

Amarillo, Texas, isn’t known as a hotbed of social or political activism.

Folks are fairly laid back. They’re friendly. They go about their business. They talk to each other a lot about the weather, which keeps residents on their toes, given its volatility.

I want to bring up an issue that likely isn’t on the top of most Amarillo residents’ minds. There’s a statue at Ellwood Park that pays tribute to the soldiers of the Confederate States of America. It went up in 1931. The Daughters of the Confederacy got it done. It depicts a soldier leaning on a rifle. You see the pedestal in the picture attached to this blog post.

Why mention it here? Why today? They’re taking down Confederate statues in New Orleans, where I reckon there exists a good bit more social/political activism — not to mention a population demographic that would take offense at any “monument” to the Confederacy.

That demographic would be the African-American population majority in the Big Easy.

Amarillo’s population has a far smaller percentage of African-American residents, so a Confederate statue isn’t likely to rile rank-and-file Amarillo residents.

However, if a movement to take that statue down were to materialize, I am one Amarillo resident who wouldn’t register a single objection. Why? The nation fought a war from 1861 until 1865 that killed more Americans than any other conflict in the nation’s history.

States seceded from the Union. Texas was one of them. The root cause of the Civil War continues to be debated, largely in classrooms throughout the former Confederate states.

The cause, as I was taught, centered on whether some states wanted to retain slave ownership, despite opposition to that policy from the federal government. The slavery issue has morphed in many Americans’ minds over the years into a “states’ rights” matter.

I don’t get it. Then again, that’s how I was taught.

Do I expect a take-the-statue-down movement to erupt in our relatively sleepy city? Nope. If it did, I’d simply say: Go for it!