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Bad Judgment in Virginia [Apr. 7th, 2010|10:38 pm]
[Current Mood |determined]

So the Republican governor of Virginia decides to declare "Confederate History Month" and talk about states fighting for their independence, their freedom....without mentioning slavery, the root of the so-called glory.

History lesson:   the South did not fight for "freedom".   The white men of the South fought for the right to enslave others.  And thank God Almighty, they lost.   Over a  hundred years ago.  

The Confederate flag never stood for freedom and justice for all.  It never stood for respect for all men regardless of race, color, creed, or origin.  It stood for slavery.  It stood for bigotry.  It stood and stands for racism, for rape, for lynching  black men, for burning crosses on lawns, for burning churches, for cowards that put sheets over their heads because they know--they know perfectly well--that they need to hide their faces when they do their evil deeds.

There were indeed brave men who fought for the Confederacy.   Gallant men.   Men who believed in what they fought for.  But in honoring their courage--which I do not doubt--we must also face their shame.  They not only lost a war, they should have lost that war, because they were fighting for the wrong things.  They fought against freedom.  They fought against justice.   They fought against "All men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,"   the very reasons which had brought this nation to birth in the Revolution.   They fought for a lie, the lie that one race is more human--more endowed by God with these rights--than another. 

It is utterly impossible to mention, let alone celebrate, "Confederate history" without putting the issues of racism, slavery, bigotry front and center.  

I am glad that Virginia's governor admitted he'd made a blunder.   But I am sorry that anyone in authority in this nation--at any level--could make such a blunder in the first place.   

[User Picture]From: wcg
2010-04-08 03:42 am (UTC)
I thought Tom Ricks had the best response to this nonsense. If we're going to study Confederate History, let's be sure to have a Nat Turner Day too.
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[User Picture]From: lighthawk
2010-04-08 04:18 am (UTC)
I think the line he was aiming for was the overlying issue that the Confederacy was fighting for "state's rights" over "national rights." Basically, the southern states were fighting the war to do whatever they pleased without interference from the federal government. That is what many of the more noble people in that conflict believed.

And I think that is an issue that will come backup again with this current political divide. :(

Unfortunately, the "state's rights" that they were fighting over...was the right to oppress another human being.

But the state's rights thing is what most of the people that are trying to honor the Confederacy is trying to believe the war was about, not the slavery issue. Unfortunately, history is not so easy to whitewash.

But this whole debacle doesn't really surprise me. My own opinion on the governor of Virginia is that he's an idiot. I've never been impressed by what I've seen from him.
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[User Picture]From: ckd
2010-04-08 04:26 pm (UTC)
Yup, it was all about states' rights. That's why the southern states voted against the Fugitive Slave Act, which got in the way of northern states' rights to, y'know, have their own laws on the subject....

...what, they didn't?

You mean they only believed in their states having rights?

But...that would mean that the war wasn't about such a high-minded concept, and that the "states' rights" folks are full of crap.

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[User Picture]From: lighthawk
2010-04-08 06:07 pm (UTC)
I won't say you're wrong, I'm in full agreement. But that's the spin a lot of people try to play when they pull crap like the Virginia governor did.
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[User Picture]From: jordan179
2010-04-08 08:09 pm (UTC)
It is unfortunate that "states' rights" has become confused with the "right" of one group of people to own another group of people. And that it has is squarely the fault of the Confederate States of America, and their later apologists, with devastating consequences for our system of federal government.
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[User Picture]From: martianmooncrab
2010-04-08 07:29 am (UTC)
maybe a Virginia History Month might have been a better topic.
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[User Picture]From: beccastareyes
2010-04-08 12:51 pm (UTC)
Or Virginia Veterans Remembrance Month, if you wanted to focus more in 'we had a lot of very skilled soldiers who came out of Virginia'. Or heck, Virginia Military History Month, if you wanted to focus on all the old battlefields in Virginia -- not just from the Civil War, but from the Revolutionary War as well.
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[User Picture]From: martianmooncrab
2010-04-08 05:59 pm (UTC)
Because Virginia's history is more than 1860-65 ...
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-04-08 05:22 pm (UTC)
Though I'd agree it's important to keep reminding people the Confederacy lost (and all the many background reasons for that loss, that show why fragments of a nation do not fare well after a split) I think it's even more important to convey how, by what means of rationalization, slaveholders convinced themselves it was OK. Because rationalization of evil is with us today (has always been there in human history,for that matter) and is always going to be with us. Use the Confederacy as an example of how good men and women go wrong...and compare their Rakes' Progress to degradation to that of today's leaders.
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[User Picture]From: blueeowyn
2010-04-08 01:36 pm (UTC)
A friend of mine posted yesterday about wanting to celebrate Union History Month and linked to this Elizabeth Van Lew biography.

The fact that some people still refer to the "War of Northern Agression" makes me sad.
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[User Picture]From: redrose3125
2010-04-08 04:45 pm (UTC)
The War of Northern Aggression? Oh, you mean the Slaveholders' Rebellion! ;)
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From: llennhoff
2010-04-08 08:52 pm (UTC)
My friend from Richmond, while he lived in Boston, always politely referred to it as "The Recent Unpleasantness".
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[User Picture]From: kaplooeymom
2010-04-08 01:55 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, I'm a Virginian that has to live with this governor. My first reaction on hearing this news was "He did WHAT?" Of COURSE it's going to be misunderstood, and anyone with common sense is going to link the Confederacy with slavery, even if General Lee explained it was about States' Rights.

However, this just feeds right in to the Republican stereotype. And maybe that's a good thing. The more they shoot themselves in the foot, the sooner it will be obvious they don't have a leg to stand on. Even if people insult my state.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-04-08 05:17 pm (UTC)
We have a bad governor too, and Texas has taken a lot of (sometimes justified) heat for the political idiocies of its Senators, Congresscritters, governors and former governors. Living here, I know that not every Texan is a bonehead...but having run into a guy at church (at church!!) who couldn't see why anyone would object to a display of the Confederate flag, I know that some are.

I don't think Virginia's governor's pronouncement was "misunderstood." I think it was misunderstood just fine. It was an attempt to glorify the Confederacy.

We certainly should study Confederate history, to make clear how people who started out no worse than anyone else could ever come to believe that not only was slavery OK, but that they should start a war to defend their right to hold slaves.

Incidentally, when you get these horror stories about modern day people holding farmworkers or ranch workers as slaves...guess what their background is.

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[User Picture]From: chris_gerrib
2010-04-08 03:09 pm (UTC)
Proud of Being Ignorant. Key quote:

The GOP is, effectively, the party of willfully unlettered Utopians. It is the party of choice for those who believe global warming is a hoax, that humans roamed the earth with dinosaurs, and that homosexuals should work harder at not being gay.
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[User Picture]From: moonsinger
2010-04-08 06:06 pm (UTC)
I can't disagree with what you said. I'm ashamed to this day that my state (Texas) left the Union and primarily so that the landholders could continue to own slaves. It is sad that slave owners caused the powers of the states to be weakened because they wanted to own another human being. I must say I'm in favor of it being remembered primarily because I don't want to see such mistakes repeated. After all, we have Holcaust deniers floating around, so I am concerned especially with the fundies on the Board of Education that the Civil War might be sugar coated.

Oh and Perry ticks me off, too!
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From: 6_penny
2010-04-08 10:07 pm (UTC)
Edward Ball's book 'Slaves in the Family' was a fascinating exploration of the post Civil War myths that developed in his southern family - and his investigation of what the true history was.
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