The 45th president of the United States defiantly spat those words out an an angry press conference. His exact quote was “But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.”
Okay. Let’s go with that for a moment. Forget the swastikas. Erase the Nazi salutes and the black-shirts. Unhear the chants of “blood and soil” and the racial epithets being thrown around. Un-know the facts that a white supremacist and Hitler admirer rammed his car into a crowd, killing one and injuring many more. Pretend with me for a minute that the tiki-light vigil was just an ordinary gathering of concerned citizens assembling quietly in the night to “protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.”
The arguments of those gentile and polite protesters usually include something like this:
- This is our history being erased
- These monuments serve as a reminder of great generals and statesmen from _____(fill in the southern state of your choice)
- These monuments are about State’s rights
This is History Being Erased
There are no monuments in Germany to Adolph Hitler or the reign of terror and destruction he and his collaborators unleashed on the world. Do you know about it? Can you read about the Third Reich in a history book? Can you watch endless documentaries on The History Channel about World War Two? Of course you can. Erasing the visage and trappings and symbols of the Nazi war machine has done little to diminish the facts of what happened. Rather, the German people chose to focus on the impact of what happened and to whom it happened. What’s left are concentration camps, stark and repulsive reminders of what the Nazi movement stood for. The monuments are to the victims, not the perpetrators.
If the “good folk” that aren’t white supremacists want to preserve history, let the statues and monuments be housed in the National Slavery Museum. Oh! That’s right, there is no National Slavery Museum. Not in the North. Not in the South. Of the roughly 35,000 museums in the United States there are exactly TWO that have a substantial focus on slavery. One is brand new – The National Museum of African History and Culture, in Washington DC and a private museum in Louisiana called The Whitney Plantation. It’s almost like the history of slavery were being erased. Huh! How ’bout that?
These monuments serve as a reminder of great generals and statesmen
General Robert E. Lee was a general for the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy sought to secede from the United States and set up it’s own country, with it’s own constitution and laws. Seceding from the Union was an Act of War. After the Civil War, Lee was to be tried for treason for fighting against the Union. The penalty for treason was execution. Ulysses S. Grant interceded on Lee’s behalf, and implored President Andrew Johnson to include Lee in his Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon for those that had fought for the Confederacy. Lee was never actually pardoned and his citizenship remained revoked until the mid 1970s.
Frederick Douglass wrote, “We can scarcely take up a newspaper . . . that is not filled with nauseating flatteries” of Lee, from which “it would seem . . . that the soldier who kills the most men in battle, even in a bad cause, is the greatest Christian, and entitled to the highest place in heaven.”
So the heritage that the concerned and peaceful, not at all white supremacist folk, wish to preserve is that of a traitor to the United States, that had his citizenship stripped for insurrection and treason but was not hanged because another general asked that he be spared. That’s quite the resume that the good, American Patriots assembled in Charlottesville are wanting to keep alive. My guess is that they are also seeking to erect monuments to Benedict Arnold, Robert Hanssen, and Aldrich Ames, for similar reasons.
These monuments are about State’s rights
State’s Rights is the real reason the Civil War was fought, right? Just ask those completely not for white supremacy or the continuation of racism in America folks that were clearly just voicing their ever so respectful opinions, and they’ll tell you.
The document that spells out exactly what the rights of the new Confederate States would be is the Constitution of the Confederate States of America.
Here’s the preamble:
“We, the people of the Confederate States, each state acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America
Yep. Says it right there about each state acting in its independent character. Okay. It’s all about state’s rights. But “what are those rights?” I hear you ask?
Article I Section 9(1)The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country, other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.
You see, the slave trade had been made illegal for quite sometime. The new constitution upheld that practice, not without vigorous disagreement. It did allow for trade between states though. Let’s be clear here, “trade” means slaves. Slaves could be traded, of course.
Article I Section 9(2)Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of, or Territory not belonging to, this Confederacy.
This seems like a good right to add in. We shouldn’t be allowed to bring in more slaves, but we can continue to spread slavery. Yea. That’s a keeper.
Article I Section 9(4)No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.
Hmmm…not at all white supremacist or racist.
Article IV Section 2(1)The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.
Clearly not remotely related to white supremacy, the continued oppression of certain folk, or racist. Nope! This just says that if you gotta travel, you should be able to take your slaves with you and be given any shit about it by anyone else.
The Tweeter In Chief recently stated that he likes to have all the facts before he makes up his mind to comment on something. And if this president has demonstrated that he has one character trait in abundance, it’s his eternal search for the truth before speaking.
So here are the facts. Not everyone holding torches was a neo-nazi or member of the KKK. Every person gathered to protest their heritage being “erased” by having statues taken down was engaging in the continuation of white supremacy and primacy. EVERYONE!