Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Bad Ole Days


Confederate History Month sounds like a bad Saturday Night Live skit for April Fool's Day. The Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, says that Confederate history "should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered" because its leaders "fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today." The Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust and the Crusades were also different times, but that is no excuse to celebrate them.

The NAACP objected. Can you imagine? Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour claims that he was not aware of any complaints that the holiday was offensive and says the "dustup" over Virginia's proclamation seems like a "nit," a lot of noise over something that "doesn't amount to diddly." I wonder why the state with the largest Black population in the nation doesn't have a Black Governor, and also why no one has put a muzzle on this guy. His white hood probably got in the way.

19 comments:

nick said...

As a Brit, I was ignorant of Confederate History Month, but Wiki points out the Confederacy's active support of African-American enslavement. In which case, sure it should be studied, understood and remembered, like history generally, as long as the brutality is emphasised along with the rest of it.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

It's not often that I am speechless but I am shaking my head. By all means, study it. In fact do an autopsy to see why it died and should remain buried.

furiousBall said...

as someone that lived in the South for over 13 years of my life, I can yes it's all true and the racists that support this kind of crap claim it's "History, Not Hate"

So when is Nazi month in Germany?

Warty Mammal said...

Stone cold racism is alive and well.

My husband likes to speculate that thinly-veiled racism is the motive behind many societal issues. Actually, what he likes to say is more along the lines of "Hey, assholes! There was a big fat war over this crap and YOU LOST!"

Bob said...

There's another side to this that I think people are missing.

I think the reason why these (republican) governors are pushing confederate history month is because the issue of state's rights is getting a lot of attention in the republican party, one of many stated reasons they oppose the recent health care reforms. This is a continued appeal to lower-middle income whites in southern states. It's an as inappropriate fit today as it was when Dubya went to a nascar race (for the first and only time) to show he was a regular guy, just like "them".

As someone said above, the issue of states rights vs. national sovereignty was settled in 1865. Get over it already.

meno said...

Not so thinly veiled racism in my opinion. The disingenuous manner in which people claim it's history is appalling. Yeah, it's history and as such should not be forgotten, but where's the celebration of Japanese internment????

mrwriteon said...

Confederate history should be remembered, as should the Holocaust, but only as cautionary notes reminding us of how evil can prevail if we are not vigilant.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Nick,

I am not a Brit and have lived in the American South, but was still blissfully unaware of this obscene travesty, although I witnessed people driving around with gigantic Confederate flags unfurled from the backs of pickup trucks. And these commemorators are completely ignoring the brutality and inhumanity of slavery.

Calvin,

I am appalled, too. So many idiots, so little time.

Van,

Really. When I lived in the South, it was evident that to many people, the Civil War was recent history and they were plotting a rematch.

Warts,

Hatred dies hard. This is one of those times when I want to go and live with dogs because I'm ashamed of being human.

Bob,

Racism is rarely subtle. And like the Holocaust, the Confederacy and all it stood for should be remembered so that particular history won't repeat itself, but celebrating it is horrifying.

Meno,

Yet another stellar chapter in American history.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Ian,

Exactly! Well-said. Thank you.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around this. I am speechless right along with Squirrel.

What strange fruit, indeed.

The atrocities that mankind does to itself are unforgivable. Learning from them so that they are never repeated is a moral obligation not only to the victims of the past, but to those living now and to the generations of people to come.

We are duty bound to face the ugliness of our histories - regardless of geography, race, or belief, remember those obscenities with solemnity, and use those horrors as a tool to teach every generation the precious value of life; an immeasureable worth that knows no limits or boundaries.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

TaraDharma said...

i'll just add my voice to those who are appalled and agape at the racism and bad judgement involved in this issue. Just when I think we've made progress in this country, something (like this) causes me to mourn all over again.

secret agent woman said...

My younger son said a kid who was wearing a confederate bandanna asked him if he thought the Confederate flag is racist. My son said, "I don't think the flag is racist, I think it is symbolic of a government that included slavery." I can't imagine letting my kid out of the house wearing a Confederate flag.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Scarlett,

To such eloquence, I can only add, "Yep."

Tara,

Baby steps, one forward and two or three backward. We are a confused and confusing species.

Agent,

I hope your son goes into politics. We badly need his level head and articulateness.

The other kid is wearing the Confederate flag with his parent's approval -- hate is learned at home.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I'm not done with this.

Celebrating a history steeped in genocide is horrifying and soulless.

I am absolutely astounded that it could even be suggested. I am appalled that anyone has the audacity to speak so casually about it, as though it were nothing at all in the world.

It boggles the mind and tears at the heart.

It must end.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

the walking man said...

He is right it should be studied and understood. The entire issue of the confederacy should be studied and understood because in very elemental ways we are beginning to repeat that mind set of the pre-1860 America.

It should be studied and understood just like the Coolidge and Hoover eras should be studied and understood. Once we understand what happened between 1927 and 1930 we will understand exactly happened between 2006-2009 and forward.

Same shit as ever. It seems the cycles are turning again and deplorable as they are them who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.

Maria said...

I get sort of speechless at this shit. But...you know, that southern loyalty thing runs rampant. My partner is originally from Louisiana and is one of the most fair minded people I have ever met, yet she waxes poetically about the south as if her heritage is something to be proud of.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Scarlett,

Everything you say is right on the mark. As for "audacity," consider the source.

Mark,

It's bizarre that they are able to dissociate the Confederacy from slavery as that is what it stood for. Anything that follows is just bullshit.

Maria,

Louisiana cuisine is marvelous, but I also fail to understand how Southerners who are not bigots can blithely separate babies from bathwater.

Laura Lee said...

Pardon me, but I think any political person who uses words like "nit" and "diddly" in a serious statement to the press probably has problems already.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Laura Lee,

Good point! I think so too. But consider the source.