My thoughts on Confederate History Month

First off, for those not in the know, I was born in the South and I was raised in the South. Take that for whatever’s its worth in context for the following opinions.

So Earlier this month, April 7th, Governor Robert McDonnell  of Virginia issued a proclamation that April is ‘Confederate History Month.” Beside the usual pot of hot water this create for a politician, McDonnell turned the temperature of his water by not even mentioning slavery in his proclamation.

This has cause all sorts of tirades and rants in the media and on the internet. One of the silliest I personally saw was CNN Analyst Roland Martin insisting that Confederate Soldiers were terrorists. I supposed it would have been too much of a stretch for the man to call them Fascists 60 years before fascism or Nazis 70 prior to that band of murderous thugs so he went for the current no-good and no question about term ‘terrorist.’  Just like the people who throw around, Fascists, Socialist, and anti-semtic as political insults Mr. Martin does himself no favor and achieves nothing for to degrade communication.

The soldiers of the Confederacy  were fighting to defend a vile and evil institution and they were wrong to do so, but they were not terrorists. The Confederacy fought in uniform, followed the Laws Of War as they were understood at the time and were easily distinguished from the civilian population around them. (Yes, you can violation of these general conditions just as you can for any conflict any time.) To accept Mr. Roland definition is render the word terrorist meaningless except as a combatant you don’t approve of.

But what about Confederate History Month itself? How do I feel about that?

Damn stupid idea.

The Confederacy took up arms against my country The United States Of America. I will not celebrate anyone taking up arms against my country while I still defend her. Why not a Lt. Colonel Francis Smith day? Or how about Isoroku Yamamoto on a stamp?

There is a lot to celebrate about Southern Culture. We in the south have a culture that is rich and has much to offer, but I would not put the Confederacy as part of that we should celebrate. The USA is my country and I consider myself a patriot and I will not honor those who attack my country.


2 thoughts on “My thoughts on Confederate History Month”

  1. I am not, by definition, Southern, but I have spent most of my life here and I like to think I have a better than average grasp of the Southern mind-set. Sometimes, I think being a Yankee transplant makes me appreciate the finer things about the South more than one native-born.

    While slavery was core issue of the Civil War, the greater issue was State rights versus Federal rights. Slavery was the core issue because prior to secession the Southern states were rightly worried about being overwhelmed in the Senate if there was ever a greater number of free states than slave states. After playing this game for some time(adding a slave state and a free state at the same time), the federal government decided not to maintain equity and the South seceded after the election of President Lincoln. This is significant, because the battle of State versus Federal rights continues to this day.

    In my understanding of the Consitution, the South had a point at that time. The 13th amendment would not be passed until after the war and slavery would have been covered under the section of the constitution that left everything else up to the states. (In fact, federally requiring a state to be a “Slave state” or a “Free state” violated the intent of that part of the Constitution, but that is another conversation.)

    The real issue for the Southerns was less likely slavery (although for many it was “our peculiar institution and a cherished way of life”) and more likely the Southern stubborness not to be told what to do by someone who wasn’t living with the situation. I have no problem with celebrating that independent spirit, though I regret that it was applied to something as reprehensible and evil as slavery.

    Anyone who refuses to acknowledge the evil of slavery is no better than those who deny that the Holocaust. Even though it is very hard to admit when a wrong has been done, it must be admitted so that society can move on. I do question – how much is enough? Certainly, no Southerner alive today has ever owned slaves. Must they continue to apologize for behavior by those long dead and buried? Is there no way to celebrate what was strong and right without diluting that with an apology every time, excluding genocide, naturally? (Germany does not get a pass on this, for they gloss over that pert of German history. I do agree we must NEVER FORGET, but that is different than being required to apologize for what one never did and never participated in. No one can apologize for what they’ve not done.)

    With all of that being said, I am personally sick to death of all the “history months”. February is “Black History”. March is “Woman’s History”. Now April is “Confederate History”. Give me a Break!!!! It is unnecessary and a waste of time! History, taught properly, integrates Black history, women’s history, Confederate history, Indian history, little polka-dotted people’s history, throughout its scope. We harm the teaching of history when we designate a month of focus on this or that. I would prefer to see history taught in a way that is inclusive of all parts, rather than segmenting it out into a special month and ignoring it the rest of the time (which , believe me, is exactly what happens!) Why can’t we just teach history well, in the truth to our best ability to understand it at this time, discussing the contribution of all as it occurs naturally in the timeline?

    1. I would love more celebration of Southern Heritage, but to specifically honor the Confederacy is to honor taking arms against the USA.
      Lee may have felt he was a Virginian first, but that is exactly what the war settled. You are a citizen of the United States first, not of your particular state.

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