bookmark_borderPolitically correct bullies vote to remove Lee statue from Antietam

In yet another step in their quest to make the world as bad a place as possible, the politically correct bullies are senselessly attempting to get rid of the statue of Robert E. Lee on the Antietam battlefield in Maryland. The House of Representatives recently voted in favor of Resolution 970, which calls for the removal of the magnificent statue.

“It was commissioned with the explicit intent of honoring the Confederacy and glorifies the Confederacy — its leaders, the cause of slavery and open rebellion against the United States,” said Rep. Anthony Brown. “It’s also historically inaccurate. The monument depicts Gen. Lee riding up to the battlefield on horseback while evidence shows that the general actually traveled to a different part of the battlefield in an ambulance due to a broken wrist… Instead of teaching us the dark lessons of our history, this statue sanitizes the actions of men who fought a war to keep black Americans in chains. There is no reason why any of our nation’s public spaces should have monuments celebrating those who betrayed their country.” Brown also called Lee a “brutal slave owner” and called the institution of slavery “savage.” 

“I cannot find a single case of any other country on earth where monuments and memorials are put up to honor the generals of enemy forces in a civil war, or any other war,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin. “There’s something freakishly unusual about this practice.” He also called the Confederacy “neither noble nor heroic.”

Let’s go over these arguments:

First of all, the Confederacy was both noble and heroic. The fact that a statue honors and glorifies the Confederacy is a good thing, because the Confederacy deserves to be honored and glorified. This is because the Confederacy was in open rebellion against the United States. Contrary to what Representatives Brown and Raskin argue, rebelling against a government is a good thing, not a bad thing. The Confederacy was fighting to form an independent country, which is exactly what the colonies were doing during the Revolutionary War. If you believe the Confederacy was in the wrong, then in order to be logically consistent, you must also believe that America was in the wrong during the Revolutionary War and the British Empire in the right. 

To address Brown’s point about slavery, yes it is true that slavery was part of what the Confederacy was fighting for. It was one of the reasons why the southern states chose to secede from the United States. But the Confederacy’s primary cause was not slavery but secession itself. To treat the Confederacy as synonymous with slavery is to ignore the fact that the Confederates were fighting for their independence, while the Union side was fighting to force other people to remain part of the country against their will. Anyone who truly values liberty and opposes authoritarianism would believe, as I do, that the Confederate cause overall was morally better and more honorable than the Union cause.

As for Brown’s claim that slavery was savage, perhaps that is true, but in my opinion not as savage as the despicable acts of destruction and vandalism that have been perpetrated against statues across the country and world by those with similar ideologies to Representatives Brown and Raskin. Additionally, although Lee was a slave owner, he was not brutal as Brown claims. He inherited a farm with numerous slaves and was relatively kind as slave owners go, freeing the slaves once the debts of the estate were settled. 

It also bears mentioning that the argument that Confederate generals were bad because they fought for slavery somewhat contradicts the argument that Confederate generals were bad because they “betrayed their country” and “waged open rebellion against the United States.” Those who make the first argument criticize members of the Confederacy because they (allegedly) trampled on the rights of the underdog by forcing people to endure slavery. Those who make the second argument criticize members of the Confederacy because they were the underdog, fighting back against a federal government that was trampling on them. These arguments are inconsistent: is trampling on the underdog bad, or is it actually good, as is presumed by the second argument? I have noticed numerous instances lately in which people, including Brown and Raskin, make both arguments in the same speech, completely ignoring the fact that they are contradicting themselves. 

As for Raskin’s argument that America is the only country to erect monuments to enemy generals, that might be correct. This practice may indeed be unusual. But that has nothing to do with whether it is good or bad. In my opinion, allowing the losing side of a war to be honored is not only good, but to do anything else would be morally reprehensible. As I explained above, the Union side was wrong and the Confederate side right. Therefore, the leaders and soldiers of the Confederacy absolutely deserve to be honored with monuments and memorials. The Confederacy deserved to win the war; in fact the southern states deserved to be allowed to exist as an independent country without the United States even waging war against them. Given that the United States unjustly won a war that it didn’t even have a moral right to wage, the absolute least that the U.S. could do would be to allow the losing side to erect monuments to their leaders and soldiers. To take away the right to commemorate the Confederate dead, as politically correct bullies are doing across the country, is to compound horrific injustice with even more injustice. It is beyond despicable.

Another counterpoint to Raskin’s argument is that in most wars, both countries continue to exist after the war. It makes sense that each country would honor only its own generals, because generals from other countries would be honored in those countries. But in the Civil War, one of the warring nations was completely obliterated as an independent entity. It’s not possible to put statues of Confederate generals in their own country, because the Union’s victory in the Civil War means that what used to be the Confederacy is now part of the United States. According to Raskin’s logic, the generals of the losing side in any war for independence do not deserve to be memorialized at all. This is stomping on the underdog and is, for the reasons explained above, beyond despicable.

As for Brown’s point about historical accuracy, it is true that Lee traveled in an ambulance for most of his time at Antietam, as opposed to riding on horseback. His horse, Traveller, had gotten scared by something and bolted while Lee was holding his bridle, causing Lee to fall and break his arm. I don’t really get the argument that because of that, Lee should not be allowed to have a statue at Antietam. I suppose technically the statue of him on horseback, without any visible injury to his arm, is not perfectly historically accurate. But the fact that Lee was injured during a random accident with his horse doesn’t make him any less of a brilliant general or honorable man. It doesn’t make him any less deserving of a statue, and it is mean-spirited to use this as a reason to get rid of Lee’s monument.

What is particularly reprehensible about Resolution 970 is the fact that the statue being targeted is located on a battlefield. The whole purpose of a battlefield is to commemorate history, specifically the battle that took place there. And if a battle took place, there were necessarily two sides, each fighting bravely for what they believed was right. To argue that only one side in a battle should be honored is bigoted, intolerant, cruel, and mean-spirited. When the politically correct bullies first began to demand the removal of statues, they focused on those monuments located on city streets. Move the statues to more appropriate places such as museums and battlefields, they demanded. But now statues on battlefields are under attack as well, demonstrating that the bullies’ quest to strip away everything beautiful, good, magnificent, and glorious from the world knows no bounds. Every excuse for a human being who voted in favor of this resolution is a bigoted, mindless coward who deserves to burn in Hell for all eternity. 

bookmark_borderHorrendous legislation aims to remove Confederate statues from national parks and battlefields

Full of rage, grief, and devastation, I’ve read and watched news reports of the barbaric destruction of statues across America, beginning in 2015 and accelerating disturbingly over the past few months. Despite the senseless removal of statue after statue from our city streets and parks, there was one thing that I thought would always be safe: monuments at battlefields. But sadly, in this era of political correctness run amok, even that is no longer the case.

Last month, for example, someone vandalized the statue of Robert E. Lee at the Antietam battlefield in Maryland, writing messages such as “BLM,” “racist,” and “You lost the war.” (What do the results of a war have to do with the moral worth of a cause or the individuals associated with it?) Fortunately, the National Park Service, which manages the battlefield, cleaned off the graffiti.

More recently, two pieces of legislation were introduced that would – and it hurts to even type these words – order the removal of all Confederate monuments from the Gettysburg battlefield. The Battle of Gettysburg, which took place from July 1-3, 1863, was the deadliest battle in U.S. history. Approximately 50,000 people lost their lives in the brutal fighting between the Army of Northern Virginia, led by General Robert E. Lee, and the Army of the Potomac, led by General George Meade. Today 1,328 statues and plaques commemorate the individuals, regiments, and brigades who fought there.

Commemorating history being a foreign concept to many people today, the House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior, called HR-7608, on July 24. It would require the National Park Service, which manages dozens of battlefields and historical sites across the country, including Gettysburg and Antietam, to “remove from display all physical Confederate commemorative works, such as statues, monuments, sculptures, memorials, and plaques” within 180 days. Representative Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota), who authored this provision, said in a press release that “our public spaces must be open and inviting to all,” which is interesting because honoring only one side of a war does the exact opposite of this. Fortunately, according to the blog Emerging Civil War, this bill was referred to the Appropriations Committee in the Senate and is considered “dead on arrival.”  

Sadly, there was also a resolution introduced in the General Assembly of Pennsylvania on August 6 calling for the removal of all Confederate statues and monuments in the state. Known as Resolution 954, it does not specifically mention Gettysburg, but given that Gettysburg is in Pennsylvania, its monuments presumably would be included. The resolution, which alleges that Confederate ideals “were on the wrong side of history” and “comprise treason and traitors to this nation,” was referred to the Committee on Rules.

Making things even worse, just this week, Representative Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) introduced a bill calling for the removal of Confederate monuments across the country, not-so-cleverly called the Rejecting and Eliminating the Foul Use of Symbols Exulting (REFUSE) Confederate Principles Act. This bill would create a grant program called the Emancipation Historic Preservation Program to pay for the removal of the statues. “It’s past time that we eradicate these totems of treason and replace them with symbols that represent the true promise of America, such as the emancipation of Black Americans,” Rush said. He also called Confederate statues “abhorrent” and demanded that they be replaced with art that “we can actually be proud of.”

Like so many people associated with the Black Lives Matter movement and its accompanying cult of political correctness, Rush demonstrates no acknowledgement of, or consideration for, opinions that differ from his own. News flash: some people are actually proud of Confederate statues. Just because you are not proud of something does not mean that no one is. And even those who do not admire the Confederacy or its leaders must acknowledge that monuments at battlefields are priceless historical artifacts and crucial parts of what makes these sites so important.

To its credit, the National Park Service has stood up for statues, calling those at Gettysburg “an important part of the cultural landscape.” On a webpage about Confederate monuments, the NPS writes:

Across the country, the National Park Service maintains and interprets monuments, markers, and plaques that commemorate and memorialize those who fought during the Civil War. These memorials represent an important, if controversial, chapter in our Nation’s history. The National Park Service is committed to preserving these memorials while simultaneously educating visitors holistically about the actions, motivations, and causes of the soldiers and states they commemorate. A hallmark of American progress is our ability to learn from our history….

Still other monuments, while lacking legislative authorization, may have existed in parks long enough to qualify as historic features. A key aspect of their historical interest is that they reflect the knowledge, attitudes, and tastes of the people who designed and placed them. Unless directed by legislation, it is the policy of the National Park Service that these works and their inscriptions will not be altered, relocated, obscured, or removed, even when they are deemed inaccurate or incompatible with prevailing present-day values… The NPS will continue to provide historical context and interpretation for all of our sites and monuments in order to reflect a fuller view of past events and the values under which they occurred.

Additionally, the NPS reiterated their support for preserving statues in a statement to Newsweek. They correctly called the removal attempts “part of a sustained effort to erase from the history of the Nation those who do not meet an ever-shifting standard of conduct.”

Guides who work at Gettysburg and other battlefields have also expressed opposition to the attempts to remove the monuments. “We urge the U.S. Senate to strip out this provision that would destroy the unequaled collection of monuments, Union and Confederate, that set Gettysburg apart as a great battlefield park and a top visitor destination,” Les Fowler, the president of the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, said in a press release in response to HR-7608. “The monuments representing all of the soldiers who fought here are a critical component of interpreting these sacred grounds.”

Fowler also wrote an excellent opinion piece for the York Daily Record in which he explains exactly what the legislation would do:

If enacted into law, the House bill would mean a visit to any of these battlefield parks would be immeasurably diminished… It would mean removing the five-figure sculpture group at Gettysburg’s North Carolina Memorial, a masterpiece that depicts the emotions of men facing a desperate attack. It would mean the loss of the emotional “Angel of Marye’s Heights” sculpture at Fredericksburg depicting Confederate Richard Kirkland coming to the aid of a fallen Union soldier. It would mean taking down Shiloh’s Mississippi Memorial just five years after it was put up.

Gary Gallagher also wrote an editorial in defense of Gettysburg’s monuments for the Civil War Times. “No education of any value depends on selective erasure of troubling dimensions of America’s story,” he writes. “History should not be turned into a simplistic morality play juxtaposing good and evil, heroes and villains, and contrived to serve current political goals.”

The fact that opinion pieces would even need to be written in defense of Gettysburg’s monuments is heartbreaking. This issue should not even be up for debate. To say that I oppose these bills that would order the removal of Confederate statues from battlefields and national parks is a gross understatement. Every single person on earth should be against these pieces of legislation, and there is no reason whatsoever for anyone to support them. The fact that members of the House of Representatives actually voted in favor of requiring battlefield monuments to be removed is disgusting. What makes Gettysburg an important historic site is the fact that it was the location of a momentous battle fought by two sides. Soldiers on both sides bravely fought, and in many cases sacrificed their lives, for what they believed in. To remove the monuments to the losing side of this battle and war is not only bigoted, intolerant, and authoritarian; it also completely defeats the entire purpose of the Gettysburg battlefield.

bookmark_borderNew National Civil War Memorial is exactly what America needs

In Taneytown, Maryland, plans are afoot to possibly build a brand new Civil War memorial. Sculptor and historian Gary Casteel is lobbying to build a timeline of the war  – which he hopes will become America’s first official national Civil War memorial – including 20 sculpted panels, 17 bronze statues, and 32 portraits of various significant people from the war, including Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, George Meade, and John Wilkes Booth.

It is the inclusion of Booth that has caused some controversy.

Continue reading “New National Civil War Memorial is exactly what America needs”