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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Responding To A Regressive Hysterian On Controversial VA Cemetery Vote

Earlier this week, the US House of Representatives voted on a regressive bill to remove and limit the display of the Dixie Cross banner on the graves of Confederate dead in federal cemeteries controlled by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

One individual who decided to weigh in on this is a very familiar name to this blogger one Mr. Kevin Levin. 

Uh no, not the character from Ben 10. This guy is a cartoon character in his own right though. Levin is an alleged "educator" at a private school in Boston, Massachussetts, noted Black Conferate Denier, and blogger. 

His noted epic failures at refuting points I made to him in the past, and subsequent actions to try - and fail - to silence me is also one of the reasons this blogger is known in some circles as: The Man Deniers Fear The Most, but that is a tale for another day.

For today, this blogger will refute Mr. Levin's half-brained talking points step as they were written in the following article from the useless Left-wing publication Daily Beast. The rag itself has no comment section for people with opposing viewpoints, so I decided to offer my rebuttal here at my UNCENSORED blog.



Confederate Flag Loses More Hallowed Ground as US House Votes to Ban Flag in VA Cemeteries

The appropriate title should read:
US House Votes to Support White Supremacist Regressive Idealism By Recognizing Their Wrongful Misuse of the Dixie Cross as Legitimate 

The US House voted this week to ban the Confederate flag at VA graveyards, another step in the remarkable across the board rebuke of a noxious symbol.

Not entirely remarkable when you consider that such wrong-thinking, pro-racist "rebukes" (largely non-issues engineered by anti-Confederate heritage reactionaries) have been going on for close to three decades. 

During the presidential election of 2004, Democratic candidate Howard Dean
Who nobody really remembers, nor cares about. 

told a reporter, “I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks.”
Twelve years later and it is very difficult to envision a presidential candidate appealing to this same demographic with references to the Confederate flag without having to deal with the legacy of slavery and racism.
It would probably shock Mr Levin to know that the vast majority of those who honor that flag could care less about the flag being referenced in Presidential politics - or politics of any sort for that matter. 

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have spoken out publicly against the display of the flag and just yesterday the House of Representatives voted 265 to 164 (with 84 Republicans joining almost all Democrats) to ban the Confederate battle flag from display in all Veterans Administration cemeteries. An exception was included to allow for small flags to be displayed on individual graves only on Memorial Day and Confederate Memorial Day.
A largely symbolic gesture that - truth be known - is far from a major defeat for either the Southern heritage community, or the defense of the battle flag itself. I will explain why this is the case presently. 
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), who proposed the amendment, spoke for many when he asked, “Why in the year 2016 are we still condoning displays of this hateful symbol on our sacred national cemeteries?”
Actually the REAL question should be: "Why in the year 2016 are we still promoting a wrong-thinking, pro-white supremacist view of a symbol that 57% of Americans firmly rejects?" 

The House vote caps off a year of the most sustained pushback against the public display of the Confederate battle flag throughout much of the country—especially in the South—since the violent shootings in Charleston, S.C., in June 2015.
Of course, Mr Levin mentions nothing of the pushback against the so-called pushback and the rise of the new flagger movements across the country. Nor the rise of anti-Confederate heritage reactionary violence that included among other things the murder of a black Southern man named Anthony Hervey. Then again I didn't really expect him to, so I thought I'd remind everyone. 

In addition to banning the display of the flag,
Which may or may not be legal under the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution, but that will be a matter for the courts to decide - presuming this law is in fact passed. a number of communities, including New Orleans, Baltimore, Louisville, and Charlottesville,
All cities largely run by regressive Leftists and assorted cronies. Places that are not have had very different outcomes.
have passed or are considering legislation for the removal of monuments to the Confederacy. This pushback has enjoyed a good deal of bipartisan support on the local and state levels.
See previous statements. 

It was Republican Gov. (and Establishment shill) Nikki Haley, who set the ball rolling with her call to remove the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia, S.C., just shortly after the Charleston shootings, followed by an order to remove four flags from Alabama’s state capitol grounds by another Republican governor.
If I were you, Kevin, I'd be keeping an eye on both States for the next year or so. Especially SC. The local heritage defense activists - yours truly included - are planning a pushback of our own. Afraid I won't divulge the details, suffice to say that Gov. Haley is going to be leaving a much bigger legacy when it comes to this issue than even she could have dreamed of. 
A few Republican-controlled state legislatures—notably in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia—have attempted to stem this tide, but they will likely remain on the defensive with fewer and fewer elected leaders running openly on their record defending symbols of the Confederacy. Even Mississippi, which is the only state that still includes the Confederate battle flag in its design, is now dealing with the embarrassment of seeing colleges, universities, and even local municipalities remove it from their grounds.
Something tells me that if US politics goes the way many thing it will go over the next year, or so; these same politicians and media establishment types are going to have much more to worry about than the fate of a flag. Time will tell on that score though.
What happened?
I am sure you will offer a somewhat amusing attempt at explaining. You always do tend to be comedy gold. 
By the turn of the 20th century, the Confederate battle flag became part of a tenuous movement toward sectional reconciliation between North and South.
Well now that IS interesting. According to most anti-Confederate heritage reactionaries online the official story is that the flag did not re-emerge after the war until the 50s and 60s. Should you be worried you are going against the narrative? It has been my observation that your side isn't very forgiving, nor particularly generous toward those who screw up in the internal dialogue of the Establishment's paradime. 
Confederate veterans displayed their battle flags proudly at their own reunions and other public events throughout the South to remind their communities of their brave struggle and to unify a new generation of white Southerners around a set of shared values. Flags were on full display even during reunions with their one-time enemies, including the 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg in 1913, which was organized by the federal government. Confederate veterans unfurled their flags as a sign of their dual loyalty to their Lost Cause and the United States. Auxiliary organizations such as the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) and United Daughters of the Confederacy carefully regulated the display of the battle flag in an attempt to control its meaning.
You forgot to add the little detail about the captured battle flags held by the US government being returned to the South and the United Confederate Veterans by Presidential order in 1905. 
Apart from scattered public pronouncements the Confederate battle flag was recognized as a soldiers flag that had little to do with the Confederacy’s explicit goal of establishing an independent slaveholding republic that protected white supremacy.
Might come as a bit of a world-view changer for you to realize that honoring soldiers themselves and honoring the causes they fought for might be considered two separate issues entirely. Granted one cannot entirely divorce one from the other, but the role of governments and their aims in war ranks a very distant second in the eyes of veterans when it comes to remembering their honored dead. This is not exclusive to American veterans either, or their descendants. 
After all, by the beginning of the 20th century former Confederate states achieved in defeat what they could not achieve through war: governments that enshrined white supremacy through the passage of Jim Crow laws that resulted in the disfranchisement of the vast majority of black citizens. Confederate monuments and flags served merely as window dressing.
Or the presence of the monuments and flags could simply have been what they were - simply ways to honor the dead, with no real hidden messages or implied agenda behind them. Not everything is political motivated - at least, not from the point of view of people who don't consider government power to be god. 

The first cracks in this consensus took place with the embrace of the battle flag by Southern “Dixiecrats” in 1948, who, according to presidential nominee Strom Thurmond, believed the federal government intended to “break down segregation and admit the negro race into our theaters, our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.”
Obviously a mistake and misuse of an honored living symbol of the South, one that was spoken out against by many historians and Southern veterans groups at the time. Including one Mr. Bell I Wiley who spoke these great words at Mercer University in Macon, GA on Jan. 19, 1961:

"It is inconceivable that Lee, if he were alive today, would advocate resistance to national authority or in any way abet social turmoil or racial hatred. Certainly, he would staunchly oppose the use of the Confederate flag to cloak sordid causes and shield unworthy persons. To him the Confederate flag was a symbol of suffering, gallantry, and heroism of the highest and noblest sort. He would be infuriated by the sight of self-seeking demagogues and wrong-thinking agents of bigotry, hatred and violence wrapping themselves in this revered emblem in an effort to acquire respectability and enhance their influence."  

There is also this little article from 1964 written in the Chicago Tribune of all places condemning the misappropriation of the Southern banner as a tool of hatred among other things.
It is regretful that the angriest voices of the time did not listen, or that those who spoke up failed to so do loudly. But while such will always be a part of that flag's history, it is far FAR from the defining aspect of the overall history of that flag. Something that legitimate Southern heritage groups work to prove today - and succeed in doing so more often than Mr. Levin would ever admit.

The battle flag emerged as one of the most popular symbols of "massive resistance" throughout the Civil Rights Movement. 
Really? Humm, let's see here....
Guess these folks didn't get that particular memo?

White Southerners did not so much re-interpret the meaning of the flag as much as they re-discovered a meaning that had always been present going back to the war itself.
Only from one narrow interpretation of history sir. 
The battle flag’s prominent place as a symbol of white resistance during the Civil Rights era
Wow, didn't pay attention to the visual aids much did you?
has made it difficult for those who would have the public see it merely as a soldiers’ flag.
Or is it really the fault of anti-Confederate heritage reactionaries and regressive Leftist ideologies that have done nothing but stand in the way of true progress? Ideologies that have never once attempted to give those who honor that banner and Confederate heritage in proper ways the benefit of the doubt. Who not only reject and scorn the defenders of that heritage, but also willingly promote violence against those people through toxic rhetoric and wrongful labeling.
Confederate heritage organizations like the Sons of Confederate Veterans have attempted to adjust to this new reality (you mean YOUR new reality, not reality itself) by promoting stories of loyal slaves, Hispanics, Asians, and Jews as a means to distance itself from the centrality of slavery and promote a theme of inclusiveness for a population that is now much more racially and ethnically diverse.
The truth - which you have rejected time and time again - is that those stories that you claim have popped up recently have been around a very long time, well before the 1950s. Any promotion of them today has more to do with the accurate telling of Southern history in regards to Confederate service than any "neo-Confederate" conspiracy theory on your part.
Another thing to consider is that, until very recently in US history, the military service of non-white Americans has been woefully neglected. Thankfully this is being corrected at present.
And finally, how exactly would the fact that the Confederate army included non-whites in any way refute the overall causes of the war? The answer is that it does not, and even this blogger concedes that point. Plus, since we established before that honoring soldier themselves is not the same thing as honoring their cause itself, the question is a moot point.
So why exactly does the thought that any non-white willingly fought for the South in the War cause you so much mental distress? May have to explore that particular subject in a later post.

The most recent celebration of Confederate Memorial Day in Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery—the birthplace of secession and rebellion—suggests that their efforts have enjoyed little success.

Tisk tisk. Try again Kevin.

Roughly 50 people—most of whom are older—took part in this ceremony while low attendance elsewhere points to a bleak future for those who believe that the Confederate soldier and his flag still has lessons to impart to the community.
Oh wow, looks like you caught me there. I mean....oh wait!
You seem to either overlook - or just turn a blind eye to - the fact that there was NOT JUST ONE Confederate Memorial Day event in South Carolina over the course of two weekends, but over a dozen of them, including the largest service run by the SC Divisions of the SCV and UDC in Columbia, SC about the same time which included close to 700 people of all ages. The details can be seen HERE

So 50 in Charleston, another 100 in Greenville and Myrtle Beach, maybe 70 more in Darlington, Spartanburg, North Augusta's 100 or so....and the big whopping 700 in Columbia. None of these are counting the individuals who took the time to decorate the graves and monuments themselves with flags and flowers on May 10th (the date of Confederate Memorial Day in SC).
Your predictions about the celebrations "dying out" may be a wee bit premature dude.

The larger problem for Confederate heritage advocates is that the flag itself has been accommodated by so many people and for so many different reasons that from a certain perspective it has been all but rendered meaningless.
Uh....well, if that is the case, then how could anyone conclusively call it "a hateful symbol of slavery and racism" then? That kind of blows away the entire argument of the Opposition doesn't it?

Before George Zimmerman auctioned off the gun that killed Trayvon Martin, he offered up for sale his own painting of a Confederate battle flag to raise money for a “Muslim-free” gun store.
And nobody on our side took him up on the offer. Indeed nobody who mattered did, so what does it have to do with the price of grits in Florida?
This month H.K. Edgerton, a former black president of an NAACP chapter in North Carolina,
And a noble guy we know you personally have this strange little strange love-hate affair with on your comedy blog. 

is walking through Florida with a battle flag on what he is calling a Southern Cross Revival March to promote Confederate heritage.
And he is doing a very wonderful job - including standing firm against white supremacist bigots and encouraging others to stand against evil and promote the truth about Southern-Confederate historical heritage. Not the only one doing so as members of the SCV and UDC actively do the same things all the time, though not always in the dramatic fashion as Mr. Edgerton. 
And just this past week, Cody Nelson, a high school senior in Minnesota, was (wrongly) suspended from school just days before his graduation for displaying a Confederate flag on his car. Cody and his parents defended his actions as a reflection of his Southern pride.
Not the only young person in the last 20 or so years so targeted based on the adherence to a wrongful, pro-white supremacist view of a flag promoted by anti-Confederate heritage reactionaries and soundly rejected by the majority of Americans as a whole.

One can only imagine what Confederate veterans might make of these flag embraces.
One can only imagine what the veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic and other Union veterans who stood over the stone wall at Gettysburg in 1913 and 1938 shaking hands with those same Confederate veterans and fellow Americans might think of a Northern-born "history" blogger like you who seeks to undo the very unity in America that they fought and died for in that ugly war. 

"I personally think Levin guy is a huge asshole," says Billy Yank.
"You ain't just whistling
Dixie there, sir!" Replies Johnny Reb.

It is likely that the Senate will follow the House’s vote on Confederate flag at VA cemeteries and limit even further the right to display it on public property. We may not be far from a time when the only place that you can display a Confederate battle flag is on the back of a pickup truck.
Well, time will tell on that, fella. I propose that we may not be far from a time when the display of that flag will not be seen as a negative. Where any misuse of it by racial haters is scoffed at and ignored as irrelevant. Where no person regardless of skin color need fear either that flag, or the vast majority of honorable people who display it.
I believe that pushes like the one done in the US House and other groups will lead to an even larger backlash against such wrongful views of that flag the moment the pendulum of history turns the other way - which it shows all signs of doing in the coming decades.
Only time, God, and history will determine which one of us is right in the end. We can only wait and see, and be a part of that history in one way or another. 

Kevin M. Levin is a (self-serving narcissist and puseod-) historian and "educator" (sic) based in Boston. He is the author of Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder (2012) (A book I rate as a solid B- for composition, but B+ for research only out of respect for the men of the USCT.) and is at work on Searching For Black Confederate Soldiers: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth. (I'll be looking forward to cataloging that one in the fiction section of my library. Hee Hee.)   

On June 24th the House bill to limit the display of the Dixie Cross over Confederate graves at cemeteries run by the US Department of Veteran Affairs was killed in the legislature. 

However, knowing the regressive forces at work behind this legislative act against the Confederate dead, I firmly believe that this issue will be brought up again - unless the current political upheavals in American politics keeps them too distracted. 

Time will tell.

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