Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Confederate History Month? Past Time for this to Stop.

Relatively-newly elected Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has ended 8 years of policy and declared the month of April "Confederate History Month" in his state.

I say enough.

Celebrate a war that killed the most Americans of all the wars we ever fought - and the fight being over which states got to keep slavery and which didn't?  No way.  Oh, we've all seen the excuses for this:  that it was over states' rights, that it's part of the South's "heritage" blah blah blah.  Let's be honest for once - this was a war for racism and the cheapest labor imaginable in the South as well as the largest act of treason in the history of the United States. 

Article 3 - The Judicial Branch
Section 3 - Treason

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
The treason charge is the biggest one.  As much as they hate him, the South should drop to their knees in thanks at the mere mention of President Abraham Lincoln - it's thanks to him that ol' Jeff Davis and Bobby E. Lee weren't swinging at the end of a rope after their War of Secession and that they weren't occupied and treated as a defeated enemy nation.  Take a look back in history - Lincoln's position was hardly a popular one in the victorious Union and his thanks was a bullet in the back of his head fired by a "Confederate patriot."

Let's take a look at the "heritage" claim for keeping alive the memory of an event in American history that should evoke shame every time it is mentioned.  The supporters of memorializing the late Confederate States of America bring up the concept that doing so is in remembrance of a genteel Southern culture that should be looked back upon in fondness.  If you are white that is - it was far from "genteel" if you are of another skin tone and your memory of the time is of your ancestors being brought against their will overseas to another country to be sold into bondage.

They also claim as fact that their ancestors fought bravely for their side and should be remembered.  It's hard to argue against that - until you remember that German soldiers fought bravely for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany as well.  Bravery doesn't excuse what either were fighting for and Germany, much to the chagrin of surviving Nazis there and their supporters, has chosen not to create a "Nazi Heritage Month" for very obvious reasons even though that chapter in German history is a lot more recent a past than our Civil War.  That would be as much a slap in the face to surviving German Jews and their families as a "Confederate Heritage Month" is to African-Americans.

So, what do we do about this?  The answer is in the response taken when certain Southern States insisted on flying what the NAACP and other civil rights groups have called the Confederate Swastika - aka the Rebel Flag - over their state capitols:  Boycott Virginia over this so-called "heritage" month declaration.  Virginia isn't the only state that does this, but it's a good start and just might send a message to the other Southern states that do this that celebrating a war for slavery is past due for ending.

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