Tag Archives: Confederacy

Gen. Lee? Traitor!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Gen. Robert E. Lee keeps creeping back into the news and onto social media platforms.

The late Confederate army officer still has his fans 150-plus years after his side surrendered to the Union Army to end the Civil War.

For the life of me I am having trouble understanding the infatuation with this fellow.

I will acknowledge that coming of age in Portland, Ore., far away from the actual fighting of the Civil War that I didn’t have a full understanding and appreciation for what transpired prior to the start of the shooting. I knew about Lee’s loyalty to Virginia. I knew that he had been given a choice: remain an officer in the United States Army or defect to the Confederacy, which had seceded and formed a “nation” of its own.

Lee chose the latter. He said “to hell with my country,” or something to that effect. He decided he would be loyal to his state. Some folks find honor in that. I do not. He committed an act of treason. Lee was disloyal to his country and ordered the men under his Confederate command to kill soldiers who were fighting to preserve the United States of America.

How can there be any honor in that? I find it impossible, the older I get, to see how this man continues to hold some sort of spell over those who worship his memory.

Public entities are seeking to remove vestiges of his presence. They want to take down statues erected in his honor. They want to turn these artifacts into museum pieces and explain this fellow’s true place in U.S. history, which in summary form is that he fought to destroy the United States of America.

That is honorable? I think not!

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.

Strike the Confederate colors!

Defense Secretary Mark Esper wrote the following today in a memorandum that has gotten worldwide attention: “The flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols.”

You only get a single guess on which flag he targeted with this message. Time’s up.

Yep, it’s the Confederate flag, which has been banned at all military installations. Period. Full stop.

I am going to hand it to Mark Esper. His order flies directly into a headwind created by opposition from the commander in chief, Donald Trump, who has made no secret of his outrage over the Confederate flag being targeted as a symbol of hate and national division … which it most certainly is.

Trump has this peculiar affection for the rebel flag, which to my eye symbolizes bloodshed, treason and enslavement.

We fought the nation’s bloodiest conflict, the Civil War, with one side rallying under that flag on the battlefield, where more than 600,000 Americans died. The Confederate States of America committed treason by rebelling against the federal government, seeking to overthrow it … and why? Because the CSA wanted to retain the right of states to allow people to keep other people enslaved.

There you have it. Defense Secretary Esper says all flags that fly on U.S. military installations must comport with the ideals of the nation. Slavery and treason aren’t part of the package.

Now I am wondering at this moment whether the commander in chief is going to override that order. Donald Trump has the legal authority to do it. Will he dare?

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.

Toss in ‘hate’ to replace ‘heritage’ and ‘history’

So much for the “heritage” and “history” argument for flying the Confederate flag.

Let’s consider “hate” as well, shall we?

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, the only African-American driver among the top tier of drivers in the popular sport, recently led the call for NASCAR to remove the Confederate flag from its events. NASCAR listened and issued an order banning the flag that is the symbol of the Confederacy, the group of states that seceded from the Union in 1861 and went to war with the U.S. of A. They went to war because they wanted to preserve states’ rights to sanction the enslavement of human beings.

Not all of NASCAR’s base of fans is happy with the removal of the flag. They disagree that it symbolizes racism, that it merely reflects people’s respect for their “heritage” and the “history” of the nation.

Well, what do you suppose happened over the weekend?

Someone got into Wallace’s garage at a Southern track and left a noose. Hmm. Heritage and history … my a**!

You know what the noose represents. It represents hate in a raw, despicable form.

Let’s quit the crap about the Confederate flag symbolic importance to people’s heritage and the nation’s history. The flag represents a disgraceful chapter in America’s story.

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.

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.

How can you ‘honor’ a Klansman?

How in the name of human decency can a governor of one of our 50 states proclaim a desire to honor the memory of a Ku Klux Klan leader?

That’s what happened in Tennessee, where Gov. Bill Lee signed a proclamation honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, a onetime Confederate general … who also happened to be a slave trader and a grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Honor a Klansman? Really?

This is disgraceful in the extreme. Lee’s declaration has drawn rebuke, understandably, from Democrats but also from fellow Republicans, such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

“This is wrong,” Cruz said on Twitter. “Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general & delegate to the 1868 Democratic convention. He was also a slave trader 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK. Tennessee should not have an official day honoring him. Change the law.”

Cruz also said he doesn’t necessarily disagree with honoring Confederate soldiers, but that’s another topic for another day.

Any law that sanctions such commemoration of individuals who took part in brutality against fellow human beings, such as the Klan, must be repealed.

Gov. Lee said he was following the law. Are you kidding? Does the law require a governor to honor someone who sanctioned the killing of others because of their race?


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.