Welcome to my TED talk on honoring Confederate traitor Robert E. Lee
Well, noted moron Donald Trump, currently squatting in the Oval Office, decided today would be a good day to revisit the comments he made immediately after the Nazi riots in Charlottesville, where he claimed there were “very fine people” on both sides of the protests. He claims he was merely defending those who were silently protesting the removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue.
Ah, yes, Robert E. Lee was a great general. That’s undeniable. He regularly beat armies larger than his own, until he finally met his match in a general of equal genius, Ulysses S. Grant.
But, despite the myth which has built up around him, one can say that in many instances he didn’t have much care for those who served under him.
That’s right. He allowed good, white, Christian, Southern men wallow in Union POW camps rather than exchange them for black Union soldiers. One wonders what those Confederate prisoners thought of that.
And, of course, we have to remember one salient fact: Lee was offered command of the Union armies by President Abraham Lincoln at the outset of the rebellion. He chose—consciously—to set aside his loyalty to the nation in order to serve the rebels. He chose to serve a cause whose stated aim was to keep millions of human beings in chattel bondage. He chose to help to rip apart the Republic.
In a comment on the previous thread, I made a comparison between Lee and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Both exemplary generals, military geniuses. But both chose to serve regimes which were moral evils. Just as Germany has no statues to Rommel, it beggars belief that any part of this Union should have statues honoring those who wanted to destroy the union. And, of Rommel it can be said that he wasn’t a Nazi Party member; Lee was a full believer in the Confederate cause.
But, be that as it may, it’s at best disingenuous for Trump to say that his “very fine people” remark referred to those “silently” protesting Lee’s statue’s removal.
The statue was a mere pretext for Nazis to gather and riot. We all saw it live on television and the Internet. There’s no doubt as to what Trump meant by his remarks. Those people are his base. He depends on nascent Trump Shirts to bully opponents into quiescence. Lee’s statue was merely a fig leaf. The real meaning is clear for any child to see.
The Civil War never ended. The North had a chance to remake the South through Reconstruction; instead, the dominant Republican Party ended it early, and allowed the planter class to again virtually enslave the southern freedmen, in a corrupt political deal with the then-racist Democrats. (When a Republican fulminates that the GOP freed the slaves, remind them of this little inconvenient fact.) The tensions inherent in the country’s founding have never been resolved. And now we are in a virtual cold civil war. Until we accept this fact, we’ll never be able to reach solutions to the country’s racial justice problems.
And part of accepting this is by uprooting every Confederate memorial, root and branch. It wasn’t a noble lost cause. It was a cause which sought to keep millions enslaved. It was a cause which sought to rupture the Republic. It was a cause of traitors. That’s what should be taught in every southern—and northern, and western—class room. They were not noble. They were our Nazis.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk. Take a doughnut on your way out.
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