Hello friends! Today I am going to talk about American history and why I strongly support the tearing down of Confederate Statues and the renaming of military bases.
I feel pretty comfortable about this, because it’s white people are awful history.
Americans aren’t taught their whole history. They’re taught the Great White Man of History Highlight reel. Here’s what’s in an AP American History book:
George Washington wins the Revolution! Smart dudes ratify the Constitution! Everything is great until we hit the Civil War which was about “state’s rights” but we never really talk about which right we’re talking about. (Hint: it was over the expansion of slavery into the Western Territories — ie, the state’s right to own other human beings.) Then absolutely nothing happens until America gloriously swoops down into Europe and wins WWI. Then we have the Depression, and that’s sad, but then we rise like a goddamn phoenix to smash some Nazis. Then we screw up Korea and there’s oh nevermind those wars are lame and now you are here!
I’m putting on my teacher hat to talk about Reconstruction.
Reconstruction was the period between 1865-1877 where America thought very hard about one day fixing some of its wrongs. It had its genesis in Lincoln’s post-war plan. He wanted to rebuild America.
In the good column, the Reconstruction period Congress passed three Amendments to the Constitution that are called the “Reconstruction Amendments:” the 13th, 14th, and 15th. Abolished slavery, established birth citizenship, and explicitly gave the previously (male) enslaved the vote forevermore. In the bad column, the moment Lincoln was dead, the drive to right those wrongs died with him.
God, what a mess. Andrew Johnson wanted to hand the power over to the Confederate states to enact the requirements of the peace however they saw fit. The Confederate States were to abolish slavery, repudiate the confederacy, and abrogate all confederate debt. But in Johnson’s plan, they could rebuild however they wanted. There kicks off a very ugly struggle between the Northern Abolitionists who demand liberty for all and the Southern Slaveholders who wanted to get back to the business of shipping cotton and forcing freed-slaves to sign labor agreements that were slavery in everything except name. Impeachment was tried, and failed by one vote.
(I am looking at an ugly picture of Thaddeus Stevens right now. That dude is always pissed off. That’s a whole Northern Abolitionist thing. Being pissed off.)
Thus Congress passed the Reconstruction Act of 1866 and started Reconstruction, which broke the South into five military districts, the North took full control of Southern Governments, and set about dragging the South kicking and screaming into the 19th century.
There’s alot of crazy and bad things that happen during Reconstruction, and you can go read about them. But, during that period, the South produced 16 black congressmen and nearly 600 black elected officials. Huge political and economic opportunity opened up for some. In reaction, we saw the rise of the Klan. Ulysses S Grant — a President tarred through history by the South as an alcoholic — destroyed them. Grant won the war and he was damn well going to win the peace.
No one built any statues to or named any military bases for Confederate Generals during Reconstruction.
And then, Grant left office after two terms. Reconstruction ended.
The end of Reconstruction heralded the beginning of Southern control over their states and segregation. Look at the dates for when these statues were built or bases established. They were all built in the 1880-1910 period during rapid expansion and colonialism. Hilariously, we call this period the “Progressive Age.”
Riding on a wave, Northern factories cranked out Southern Confederate statues for profit and Confederate sympathizers stood them up on street corners as symbols of white oppression.
Naming a military base after a Confederate General simply entrenches the oppression and backs it with the might of the US Army. When was Fort Bragg named? 1909.
People, an angry two generations who grew up under Reconstruction, were going to have their revenge.
There is nothing good or glorious about those statues. They are not some revered symbol of the past. They are not something to be cherished. They should never have been made in the first place. They’re statues to northern profiteers taking advantage of white racism.
An end to fantasizing about the Confederacy, says I. It’s not romantic. It’s not the sign of the “rebel.” The Confederacy is about horrific 17th and 18th century white oppression stretched unreasonably far all the way into the 20th. It was all about enslaving other human beings. Anything else is just a lie.
We are seeing the Memorial Day spike in COVID-19. Everyone who thought that the virus was gone, well, was wrong.
- 21,467,820 tested
- 2,023,762 positive cases
- 114,242 confirmed dead
- 60,116 cases in MD with 2,915 dead
- 1 in 145 people have it in Howard County
Infection rates are tracked at rt.live.