|Lincoln and Confederate remnants
||[Feb. 17th, 2009|05:17 pm]
It's dangerous to think toohard about programs seen on TV while sick, but sometimes it's impossible not to. I watched a PBS program on Lincoln...mythology, reality, straight history, legend, etc. In the course of the program, the narrator visited a convention of southern white guys who loathe Lincoln because their ancestors lost and they don't like their ancestors being called traitors to the Union.
A hundred and forty-odd years and these guys still don't get the point. Their ancestors *were* traitors, and they *did* lose the war of rebellion, and there was nevrer anything glorious about the Old South.
It ticks them off that schools don't teach their version of history. They want to believe great-grandpa (with however-many greats it takes) was a noble hero.
No, he wasn't. He may have been brave, but his cause was a bad cause,and he was willing to bust up the whole country to pursue it.
I grew up sixty miles from the last battle of the Civil War (at Fort Brown, cavalry battle) fought after the war had ended but word hadn't arrived yet in south Texas.
Word should have arrived by now, but clearly some folks have not listened. The Confederate flag never stood for freedom, equality and justice for all. The great cause was a cause of repression, subjugation, and race privilege. Every U.S. Army officer who turned against the Union to the south did so by breaking an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. There were brave men on the Confederate side...but they were all, every one of them, wrong. They were wrong then, and they were wrong when they passed the Jim Crow laws and raised the KKK and lynched and burned and threatened and just generally behaved like terrorists and not decent citizens of a civilized country.
These guys in North Carolina need to get over themselves, but as long as they can hire a hall, hang Confederate flags, and brag on great-great-grandpa, it's easier not to grow up.
Everyone wants to have ancestors to brag about. Back when I was a grade school kid, I was bragging about one of mine one day and the teacher walked up behind me and said "You know, it's all very well to be proud of your ancestor, but you might consider whether your ancestor would be proud of YOU. What have you done that would make your ancestor proud?" Um. Long silence. Because what really matters here, in this country, is not what your ancestors did...but what you do with your life. Are you making things better for the country, for the planet? If not, no amount of bragging on ancestors is worth diddly. If you've got ancestors who did stupid things, or bad things, you can do better...and the Lincoln-haters bragging on their Confederate forebears would do well to shut up, roll up their sleeves, face the reality of their not-at-all-glorious history and do better than their ancestors did.
Not that I expect they'll listen to me.