I love telling a person regaling me with tales of his or her brave Confederate ancestors that my great, great, great uncle/grandfather/whoever was a part of Sherman’s March. That’s when northern troops rampaged through South Carolina and Georgia and burned everything in their path. Bringing that up always ends the conversation. It’s great.
Side note: General William Tecumseh Sherman took this philosophy of total war and used it on the Native Americans, so my bosom isn’t exactly swelling with pride recounting this.
Anyway, I suppose people like to be proud of their ancestors. I, for one, was overjoyed when I learned one of my forebearers played piano in a St. Louis whorehouse, and a few others, also in Missouri, sold cheap horses and lousy bullets to the Confederacy.
But I digress. I’ve been perturbed by the backlash against removing Confederate statues, especially people who claim that such monuments are nothing more than “Southern Pride.” Why are we even having this argument in 2017? Never mind, don’t answer that.
I was a huge Civil War buff when I was 10-years-old. I dragged family members to reenactments, read Shelby Foote books and made hard tack for some inexplicable reason. The Confederates fascinated me, in part because, even as a small child, I had little respect for authority. (That’s worked out well.) An entire country of rebels appealed to me.
I was overjoyed when I finally got to watch Ken Burns’ PBS documentary about the Civil War. Several hours in, the narrator talked about “The Battle of the Crater” when hundreds of Union Solders, caught in a pit formed by a large mine, were massacred. Well, some of them were massacred, and the rebel soldiers laid out who that was in seven words:
“Spare the white man, kill the nigger.”
Any romantic notions I had about the Confederacy died. Good riddance.
And now we have to litigate whether or not to keep up statues of people who fought to keep slavery legal and the flag they flew. If I could figure this out when I was 10, full grown adults should be able to as well. Sigh.
Part of the problem is that the Confederate Battle Flag is cool looking, and most of these people don’t look past that. You could make the argument that a swastika is cool looking, too, but you don’t see too many Germans with one on their belt buckle. (If you are about to say, “Well, John, the swastika is actually an ancient Tibetan …” just don’t. Please, just shut up. Thank you.)
Solution: All you Southern Pride folks should lose the Stars and Bars and get a Mexican flag for your pickup . It features an eagle killing a snake. That’s unassailably cool, and it doesn’t celebrate the subjugation of black people. Also, you’ll have a nice conversation starter with all those immigrants you profess to hate.
And put the statues in a museum. Where they belong.