Greetings and Salutations fellow travelers!
After soundly defeating two anti-Confederate heritage reactionaries in a row, I honestly didn't think I would be back with another one quite so soon.
I was hoping to actually begin other topics for the new year, but as fate would have it a new snowflake from Richmond, Virginia had a meltdown and decided to use the practice of offering New Year resolutions to offer a plea for regressive and reactionary idealism....something this blogger feels the need to respond to in detail.
The original post for this article can be found HERE. As always this blogger's responses are in red. Enjoy.
A NEW YEAR’S REQUEST
Richard Meagher column: A plea for the new year: No more Confederate nonsense, please
I have a hope for the New Year. (I do too, though I think we are about to wind up at cross purposes.)
I turn to this hope during every battle over moving or removing a Confederate monument in Virginia, or renaming one of the many streets named after Jefferson Davis. I feel this hope every time I drive past another Virginia Flaggers demonstration, or when I see the Confederate battle flag hung on a truck or in a dorm window.(I also have hopes that come from all of those events....again I believe we are about to take different forks in the road.)
My hope leads me to this teensy request: Can we drop the Confederate nostalgia? Finally?
(*Sighs dramatically.* Well Mr. Meagher, I am certain you are about to explain in detail what you mean by "Confederate nostalgia" in specific terms. Let's see if you are willing to do so in a coherent manner.)
There’s no other way to put this: The American South has been on the wrong end of history for 200 years. It’s time to get over it.
(I have always found that particular Leftist regressive term "wrong end of history" somewhat bizzare. History itself is not a singular thing, nor even something universally agreed upon depending upon any one ideology. How exactly someone can be on the "wrong side" in any particular way is beyond me. Add to that your statement that the American South has been for 200 years when much of the American South has in fact been a huge participant in American economic progress and military victory against foreign enemies and I think you will find the American South has been on the winning side for much of that, thank you very much.)
I realize that as a transplanted Northerner, my opinion will be less than worthless to a number of the “from-heres” among us. (Not LESS than worthless, but if you feel your opinions are so low rent then why post anything at all? I mean you sound like you suffer from very low self esteem buddy.) But longtime Southerners might consider how, to an outsider, Confederate nostalgia looks. (Again that term: Confederate nostalga -- which you have yet to define in any meaningful way.) My question has always been this: What, exactly, are these people celebrating? (A part of a living cultural identity, the bravery of the Confederate dead. That about sums it up in a nutshell small enough for you to understand.)
When I teach my politics courses, I remind students that the long history of American politics boils down to the repeated need to placate racist Southerners. (Oh my! If that is what you are teaching your students, then there are bigger problems with the American education system than I truly believed.) Beginning with the three-fifths compromise in the Constitution, and continuing through decades of compromises to prevent a Civil War, Northern politicians did their best to tolerate the brutal apartheid regime that was improbably nested within their developing democracy. (You mean the same "brutal apartheid regime" that they largely helped fund through Northern-based clandestine and illegal slave trading from Africa in violation of international slave trade laws of the time? The same Northern politicians who profited from Southern economic tariffs and taxes for decades? Oh yes, they did indeed "tolerate" such brutality even while they legally supported brutality against Native American tribes and displaced them for Northern white settlers.)
And then, even after a devastating war failed to preserve this oppressive regime, we had to spend another century mollifying stubbornly racist Southern states. FDR’s New Deal coalition, for example, was made possible by the support of Southern white Democrats. In exchange, Southern states were allowed to make sure that blacks never got to benefit from any of the New Deal’s generous social programs. (And what are you suggesting they should have done? Let them go in the first place? You almost sound like some Southern Nationalist tool for a second there, buddy. Consider that without the South backing FDR the USA would almost certainly have lost WW2 to the Axis Powers....and talk about the "wrong side of history" there. Trying reading Philip K. Dick for references to how that would have looked.) It took the civil rights movement and the entire second half of the 20th century to finally dislodge the racist power structures of the American South, in a process that is still ongoing. (Dislodging secregation -- both in the North as well as the South and America as a whole for that matter -- was indeed necessary. And I would agree that we have a long ways to go to have a balanced and fair society for all....though your definition of that might also be at odds considering that mine does not involve politically correct double-standards.)
No single factor “explains” American political history, but this basic divide — North vs. South, free vs. slave, democracy vs. racist regime — comes the closest. The idea that we should celebrate the losing side in this long battle not only dishonors the brave warriors who finally defeated the forces of bigotry; it undermines the victory itself. And it was a resounding, triumphant victory, in both the Civil War and a century later. (Oh....oh my! You're one of those people huh? One of those negationist Leftist historians who somehow view the events of the Union cause of the American Civil War and modern-day Social "Just Us" Warrior idealism in the American cultural wars in the same political continuity. Oh....wow. This one is going to be a doozy folks!
As for your other charge about it "dishonoring the brave warriors" who fought for the Union:
|Union and Confederate Veterans shaking hands across the stone wall at Gettysburg Reunion. July 3, 1914.|
Guess someone didn't give the men who ACTUALLY FOUGHT THE WAR that particular memo about being a united American people -- you know the cause the Union men fought for -- being "dishonorable" to the men who fought to defeat the CSA.)
To put it bluntly: The Confederates were the bad guys, ("From a certain point of view," as one Obi-Wan Kenobi would put it.) as were their Jim Crow descendants. (You are aware that a number of Southerners were in fact Pro-Unionist and many of their own descendants also supported Jim Crow? No? Humm....well now you know. Might wanna add that little detail into your next "history lesson" there.) They lost, and the country is immeasurably better for it.
At this point, Confederate sympathizers (Another nonsense and disambiguous term. You seem to be pretty good at throwing those little brain-farts out.) might want to trot out the longstanding claims about the Civil War: that it was about states’ rights, not slavery; (To one degree yes, to another so-so....a fact this blogger had never denied in past posts.) that it was fought for economic reasons; (That would also be true even if you only considered keeping slavery a part of that deal, as you seem to. What is your point here?) that it was about the principle of secession. (Also true in part.) I have no patience for these preposterous claims — any economic differences or demands for states’ rights were based on the preservation of an oppressive way of life literally built on the backs of forced labor. The Confederate slaveocracy (Ah yes, a Righteous Cause Apologist term. I was waiting for one of those.) deserves its place in the dustbin of history. (Well the CSA as a political entity does not exist anymore, except perhaps in whatever paranoia you seem to be exhibiting.)
I have much more sympathy for the idea that the South has changed; that the racism of the past is not reflected in the new cities like Richmond that are rising in the South. (America as a whole has changed, and so does every other country throughout history at some point. Every new generation brings on new aspects to a culture and identity -- this is what we call a "living cultural identity" dude.) This argument is fine as far as it goes; I like to see lists of how Richmond is one of the country’s “most-_____ ” cities as much as the next guy.
But let’s say we can set aside the still powerful effects of our racist past, such as the demographics of poverty, or the dramatic racial segregation found in housing. How are we supposed to believe in this post-racial South when Confederate Flaggers are out in front of the art museum every weekend, supporting … well, whatever it is they are supporting? (The return of two battle flags wrongly removed from a chapel on the grounds of the museum. I believe that is their specific goal. I also suspect they will eventually leave when: (a) the flag are restored, or; (b) if the museum compromised, put a flag pole up and put a battle flag on it permanently.) When white Southerners respond to criticism of the Confederacy with nonsense phrases like “heritage, not hate”? (Not JUST white Southerners dude....but wait, you are Northern born and therefore do not understand. I believe that was your point from earlier wasn't it? Right.) When they seem more interested in honoring the (obvious) bravery of Confederate soldiers than in acknowledging the absolute moral bankruptcy of the cause for which those soldiers fought? (The cause of doing one's duty to defend their homes from invasion by what was at the time a foreign power. Yes, I can see how self-defense is "morally bankrupt" in the mind of an SJW regressive.)
There’s nothing wrong with studying and protecting (all of) Virginia’s history, including its racist past. But there’s a difference between celebrating and commemorating. (Depends on what it is you think we are celebrating and commemorating. From what I have gathered you are pretty damn clueless fella.) We should reserve street and school names for heroes, not the architects of apartheid; history can be acknowledged without endorsement. (Problem with picking and choosing based on political idealism is that politics -- much like history -- are not absolute constants. One person's hero is often another person's oppressor, depending on how one interprets things. You have not shown that the current street and school names are there for any sinister purposes. If you want to name other streets and schools for people who represent your values -- such as they are -- go ahead and do so, just leave the ones in place alone. That is what REAL people of good conscience call compromise and inclusion.)
So, for example, there is no need to move statues off of Richmond’s Monument Avenue, as RVA mayoral candidate Joe Morrissey proposed during this year’s election season. (Until he un-proposed it, then proposed it again.) I like the suggestion made most clearly to me by another candidate, Jon Baliles: Let’s add to the monuments, so that Maggie Walker takes her place in line with Stonewall Jackson. Let’s use Monument Avenue to commemorate the full history of Richmond and the South. (Or you could go ambition and make a second avenue and put up those monuments there and connect them to the existing avenue....what do you think?)
But no matter what, we need to stop holding up the Confederacy as something to honor. (Honoring the Confederate soldier is not the exactly the same thing as supporting the Confederate government. But since you haven't been very helpful, or in-depth on the nature of "Confederate Nostalgia" and what you think Confederate heritage supporters support, then I don't see how we can come to terms here.) We need to stop celebrating the history of America’s worst impulses and institutions. We need to stop with the Confederacy nonsense. (I would see we need to stop with the political correctness fascism nonsense first, then see what happens after that.)
My hope might be a long shot in an America that just elected Donald Trump. (Wow you snowflakes just can't separate politics from this can you? No you can't it is after all your religion of choice.) The divisions in our country seem worse than ever, and it might be too much to ask for people to let go of a past that should be dishonored when they feel so lost in the present. (Or maybe those divisions come about because one group in power choose to tell others that what they believe in and their heroes represented the worst things, tried to shove that view down everyone's throats, then ended up shocked when many of those same people didn't see it their way and failed to comply? Maybe now you have a slight grasp of what it feels like to be -- how was it you put it? Oh yes! -- on the "wrong side of history" for once.)
Still, I will keep my hope, and repeat my request. In the New Year, can we finally move on from the Confederacy?
This blogger's response to that request:
Richard Meagher is (an ass)
ociate professor of political science at
Randolph-Macon College; he blogs about Virginia politics at rvapol.com.
Contact him at XXXXXXXXXXXXX. (blah blah blah)
Now that I have broken down Mr. Meager's angry and regressive rant, it is time for this blogger to offer a New Year's plea of my own, which would be to end this judgmental view of why many Southerners honor their Confederate ancestry in positive terms. That people marching forth into this new year should do so with a clean slate, and certainly by giving the benefit of the doubt. That despite their concerns people should take the time to talk to someone holding a Southern battle flag and know why they stand at monuments and decorate graves on certain days of the year, instead of assuming the worst and living in what might be misguided fear.
Go on, give that one a try. You may find yourself surprised. You might not always agree with the reasons, but you might find that you can disagree without being disagreeable in the process. You might also find that the person you disagree with is indeed human like you; and a free-thinking individual, not some social construct exhibiting a group-think stereotype fed to you by someone else.
Have a blessed day, y'all!