Tag Archives: Civil War

Irony abounds in this political debate

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As I watch and listen to the contemporary political debate, I am struck by the profound irony I see and hear almost daily.

It slaps me in the puss, punches me in the gut, gnaws at my innards.

Here’s what I mean.

I listen to those on the far right fringes of our nation’s political spectrum proclaim their “patriotism,” their “love of country” and their devotion to the Constitution. Then I see the occasional image of these “patriots” standing under a Confederate flag. Or they lambaste the movement known as “Antifa,” which — as you might know — is a sort of short-hand for “anti-fascist.”

The irony? Well, the first ironic notion is obvious, given that the Confederacy stands as the nation’s most profound enemy of the state. The Confederate States of American seceded from the Union and went to war to protect the institution of slavery within those states.

In recent times, of course, many of us has awakened to what the Confederacy really represented: treason against the United States of America. Statues of Confederate soldiers have come down. Americans have rioted to protest their removal. A president of the United States tried to make excuses for their riotous behavior by referring to “fine people … on both sides” of a riot that included Klansmen and Nazis.

That dovetails into the second profound irony of this real-time debate. Antifa has become a four-letter word. It is used in some circles as an epithet meant to demonize those who speak out against police brutality or seek justice for those who have been mistreated by rogue cops.

The root of the term Antifa, though, is what brings this irony into sharp focus for me. Let us never forget that The Greatest Generation of Americans went to war against fascism. The German Nazis who, along with their Italian partners, sought to subjugate Europe under the heavy hand of fascism. They were joined by their tyrants in Japan, who dragged this country into the world’s bloodiest war. My own father was one of those young Americans who left the comforts of their home and went to war against the fascists.

Yes, Dad was an Antifa member.

I simply cannot let this irony go without offering this comment on its hideous nature in this current political debate.

It sickens me.

Secession? Are they serious?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s close being declared official, that the Texas Republican Party has lost what passes for its mind. Hey, maybe it already is an official declaration!

Get a load of this: the Texas GOP has signed on to a proposal to allow Texans to vote on whether the state should secede from the Union and form an independent nation.

The Guardian reports: In a talk show interview, the party chair, Allen West, argued that: “Texans have a right to voice their opinions on [this] critical issue.

“I don’t understand why anyone would feel that they need to prevent people from having a voice in something that is part of the Texas constitution,” the former Florida congressman said of the Texas Referendum Independence Act. “You cannot prevent the people from having a voice.”

Texas Republicans endorse legislation to allow vote on secession from US | Texas | The Guardian

Allen West is out of his mind. He has gone around the bend. His butter has slipped off his noodle.

What are we to expect from a one-term Florida congressman who moved to Texas specifically to hijack the state GOP. Oh, I should also mention that he resigned from the Army after being accused of mistreating Iraqi prisoners of war during the Iraq War.

Now he is lending his voice to the craziest notion since, oh, the last time Texas seceded from the U.S. of A., in 1861, when it joined the Confederate States of America, which then lost the Civil War, the bloodiest armed conflict in our nation’s history!

This secession issue has been around ever since. It keeps cropping up during Texas legislative sessions. Kinda like the way fire ant mounds pop up after a spring thunderstorm.

The Texas Tribune reported in January that secession is illegal.

Texas can’t secede from the U.S. Here’s why. | The Texas Tribune

You don’t have to take my word for it; a lot of brainiacs have said that any notion that Texas can secede is the stuff of lunatics.

When in the name of political sanity is the Texas Republican Party going to pull its head out of its a**? Ever?

Listen up: Texas cannot secede!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Is it OK to presume that every state legislative body has a wacky caucus in its ranks? If so, then Texas isn’t alone in the legislative wackiness that presents itself from time to time.

Consider this from a Republican state representative, Kyle Biedermann of Fredericksburg, who has pitched a resolution calling for a statewide election to determine whether Texas can secede from the Union.

Yes, the secessionists have returned! Oh, my. When does the madness stop? Don’t answer that. I know that it will never stop. It will never end.

The Texas Tribune reports what many of us know already, that the state cannot secede legally. The Civil War took care of that, right?

Texas seceded once already, joining the Confederacy in trying to break apart the United States of America. It went to war against the government, against fellow Americans. The issue? Slavery. The Civil War ended correctly, with the Union prevailing.

The Tribune wrote this about Biedermann’s idea:

“It is now time that the People of Texas are allowed the right to decide their own future,” he said in a statement announcing the legislation.

The bill d oesn’t appear to have much of a chance. And even if it did, experts say, Texas can’t just secede.

“The legality of seceding is problematic,” Eric McDaniel, associate professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, told The Texas Tribune in 2016. “The Civil War played a very big role in establishing the power of the federal government and cementing that the federal government has the final say in these issues.”

Texas can’t secede from the U.S. Here’s why. | The Texas Tribune

Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1836. We joined the Union in 1845, adopting a resolution that contained language that said the state could partition itself into four parts if it wanted. Indeed, a former Texas Panhandle legislator, David Swinford of Dumas, once pitched the notion as recently as 1991. I asked Rep. Swinford whether he meant it as a serious proposal … and he did not say he was joking. 

Secession, though, is a non-starter. The Tribune cites a bit of wisdom offered by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: “The answer is clear,” Scalia wrote. “If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘one Nation, indivisible.’)”

Confederate flag also represents treason, oppression

Donald J. Trump just cannot bring himself to acknowledge what a majority of American southerners now admit … that the Confederate flag symbolizes racism.

Oh, no. Trump declares the flag is a symbol of “Southern history.” Well, yeah. It is that. The history, though, includes the Civil War. I know Trump has heard of it.

The war began when the Confederate States of America decided it wanted to form a new country. To do so it had to separate from the United States of America. Then the rebels fired on the Union garrison in Charleston, S.C. harbor. The war was on!

The conflict killed more than 600,000 Americans. Yes, I include the Confederate forces as “Americans,” even though they committed a treasonous act by taking up arms against the federal government.

Why did they go to war? Because their states wanted to keep human beings enslaved. They wanted the right to “own” humans as property. It’s been referred to euphemistically as a “states rights” issue. It is no such thing. The CSA wanted to retain the right to oppress human beings.

They fought the Union forces under the Confederate flag that Donald Trump — the man who has no understanding of history and its complexities — says represents “Southern history.”

The Confederate flag well might symbolize “history” to many Americans. To many others it represents hatred, oppression and enslavement. It is no coincidence that contemporary hate groups — the KKK, instance — flies the Confederate flag while spewing hate speech aimed at African-Americans.

Is that worth honoring? Hardly.

Lincoln Project firing on all cylinders

It’s called the Lincoln Project.

It is a political organization comprising former and even some current Republican politicians and political operatives. They all have one important trait in common.

They want to defeat Donald John Trump in this year’s presidential election. Why is that so unusual? Well, let’s see: Oh, yeah … Trump calls himself a Republican.

But … is he really created in the same mold as the man after whom the Lincoln Project is named? Hardly.

Abraham Lincoln was the nation’s first Republican president. He is arguably the greatest man ever to hold the office. He fought to preserve the Union that had been torn apart by Civil War. The Union won the war, but that victory cost Lincoln his life at Ford’s Theater.

The party that Donald Trump now controls bears no resemblance to the party that Lincoln helped create. The Lincoln Project has taken an astonishingly high profile in this campaign. No only is the Lincoln Project working overtime to defeat Trump, it is working equally hard to elect a Democrat, Joseph Biden Jr., to succeed Trump.

As this election continues to take shape, I am struck by the number of GOP operatives — if not active-duty GOP politicians — who have spoken of their utter disgust with Donald Trump. GOP members of Congress remain essentially silent as Trump continues to bungle the national response to the COVID-19 crisis. Trump also appears feckless as the nation reels from incidents of brutality against African-Americans, not to mention his shameful silence over reports that Russian government officials placed bounties on the heads of American service personnel killed in battle in Afghanistan.

Thus, the Lincoln Project is looking for a suitable alternative to the man masquerading as president. At this moment, the only possible alternative happens to be Democrat, Joe Biden.

And so the Lincoln Project, which carries the name of arguably the nation’s greatest president, is seeking to remove the individual who to my way of thinking has carved out his own niche as the nation’s worst president.

Gen. Milley: Confederates were ‘traitors’

U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley laid it on the line before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.

He has staked out a position regarding the naming of Army posts after Confederate generals that is diametrically opposed to the position taken by the commander in chief.

On these matters, I will stand with the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman every … single … time.

Milley told committee members that the officers who signed up with the Confederacy were traitors to the nation and they violated the sacred oath they took when they were commissioned as American military officers.

What’s more, Milley said he supports a top-to-bottom review of the 10 Army posts named after these traitors and pledged to work to ensure the nation does right by the places that today house and train American warriors.

Of course, that is opposite of what Donald Trump wants. He said just recently, via Twitter: “The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

I won’t quarrel with what Trump said about how those bases “trained and deployed” these heroic Americans. That isn’t the point of this discussion. The point is about whether it is appropriate to commemorate the memories of men who committed an act of treason — which is the highest crime one can commit against our government, which carries a death sentence under federal law.

As Gen. Milley noted, “The American Civil War … was an act of treason at the time against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution — and those officers turned their backs on their oath. Now, some have a different view of that. Some think it’s heritage. Others think it’s hate.”

You may count me as one who believes in the latter description. Our nation fought the Civil Ware because the Confederacy wanted to retain the “states’ right” to keep human beings in bondage.

Isn’t that the definition of “hate”?

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.”