Let's Face Facts. The Confederates Were Traitors!

I should make one thing crystal clear, removing memorials to Confederate "heroes" does not imply in any way that I would like to see this blot against our nation's honor forgotten in any way. We MUST remember what the Confederacy was all about. We must NEVER allow ourselves to forget that from the very beginning, the Civil War was about slavery. But the fact that the memory of this atrocity should be burned into our collective memory does NOT mean we ought to honor those traitors who betrayed their country and led an armed rebellion to overthrow the duly elected government of the United States.

Confederate apologists may well contend that the REAL root cause of the Civil War was much more benign in nature. They would argue that the Civil War was merely an extension of a philosophical or Constitutional disagreement, that the deaths of over six hundred thousand people was really a disputation over the rights of the individual versus the overwhelming power of the federal government. What is conveniently lost in this maze of pure balderdash, is that the primary individual right the leaders of the Confederacy wanted to preserve was the right of a white man to own a black man like so much property. Those who would justify the South's position in the Civil War can fuss and fume from now until doomsday, but when you get right down to it, the leaders of the Confederacy were willing to spill the blood of countless young men in a bloody battle to hold on to their "right" to keep slavery alive in this country.

What makes honoring the leaders of the Confederacy such an affront is that they were perfectly willing to smash to pieces what our Founding Fathers fought so hard to achieve, one nation under God. Yes, many of the leaders of the American Revolution were unabashed slave owners themselves, and efforts were made to ban the institution of slavery through our Constitution. Those efforts failed, much to our disgrace. But the Founding Fathers left us the ways and means to deal with the issue of slavery peacefully, something called democracy. What Southern political leaders REALLY feared was the democratic system. They positively shook in their boots that slavery could be put to a vote, that a majority of their fellow citizens in a free and fair election could have the power to tell them what to do. In fact, the election of Abraham Lincoln to be President only exacerbated their fears. And so Southern political leaders chose to go to war rather than submit to the "tyranny" of democracy. These are the people the South chose to honor in a most public and conspicuous way.

Refusing to honor these traitors publicly is NOT a denial of their very existence, rather it is a strong statement that we, as a country, refuse to honor those people who would betray the principles of democracy, to defend the indefensible. There is no statue of Benedict Arnold in the U.S. Capitol. There are no Air Force bases named for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. There are no public schools named for Alger Hiss. These people sought to harm their country, and as such do not deserve public recognition. Neither do Confederate traitors.

Charlottesville tells us that there are elements in our society who would have us return to "the good old days". They are entitled to their own opinions, of course. But the fact that we erect and maintain honorifics to traitors only serves to lend a patina of respectability to an untenable point of view. In this climate, hatred and racism will flourish rather than fade!

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  • The hysteria over long ago dead "traitors" is truly amazing, especially because it is coming from the same people who do not believe in the concept of national borders and of admitting any and all who want to come to the US regardless of intent. It is also interesting that Abraham Lincoln sent those "traitors" home with their arms and as reunited brothers.... "With malice towards none and charity for all...." and the modern day iconoclasts, who shed no blood or treasure in the Civil War, want to purge the evil of our history. Most of the statues were erected by the Democrat Party, and I have yet to see the Party of Slavery and Jim Crow issue an apology for those past sins and the erection of monuments to their hate.

  • And, surprise, guess who just outed himself while I was typing. Finally tired of hiding under a rock? Sued by Con Agra?

  • Always interesting to see the contortions apologists for Confederate traitors will go to for the sake of their whataboutism.

    A traitor is a traitor no matter what. And Confederates were, no matter your rationalizations or deflections.

  • Geez, I never knew that :-). Alt-right philosophical idiots like Chef posted on Byrne that Lincoln was a war criminal.

    But speaking of democracy, I wonder if they are going to erect a monument to the Kansas secretary of state who heads the fraudulent Voter Fraud Commission, who can't even legally comply with his own demands.

  • The Confederacy was based on an economic system dependent on slavery, which made them defacto racists.

    While I would like to see every statue of Robert E. Lee torn down, it seems unfair to label Confederate soldiers as traitors, any more than you can label the perps of the Boston Tea Party or the rest of the patriots who fought the king and his loyalists as traitors.

    Fighting to throw of the shackles of unfair treatment is a long standing tradition in this world. I don't condemn the Confederates for standing up to a government that they felt was oppressive, I do condemn them for thinking that owning other human beings was the same as owning horses or pianos.

  • In reply to Bob Abrams:

    Not to disagree with you, but there is the debate that the North didn't adopt slavery because it was more economical to hire indentured servants and then lay them off. But the Confederates didn't secede because Lincoln was going to work with Douglas to route railroads through Chicago instead of Atlanta. And I doubt they formed the KKK solely for economic reasons.

  • Let's be clear what treason is. It is defined by 18 USC 2381, which is in turn based on Art. III, Sect. 3 of the Constitution. "Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason...."

    What Jefferson Davis, his cabinet, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and the other Confederate Generals and soldiers did was treason. No one disputed this after the Civil War. Andrew Johnson pardoned them under varying conditions, but no one doubted that what they did was treasonous.

    Compare this with Chef's definition, which would apparently define treason as taking an immigration position other than his.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    To be slightly fair (which he doesn't deserve), he used "traitor" not "treason." Fortunately, neither he nor his President have taken over the federal court system yet. Yet, I remember when "Richard Davis" ranted during the Obama administration about "one man," not realizing that his orange "one man" thinks he can do everything by executive order. As in the case when "Chef Boy RD" complained about posters not using their real names, you pointed out that he's not the model of consistency.

  • I'm not at all hysterical about the "long dead traitors", I merely stated the obvious, that the leaders of the Confederacy and all who followed them were guilty of treason and not "heroes" who deserved public monuments to be erected in their honor.

    While I fail to see the connection between slavery and undocumented immigration, I do not support the concept of people entering America illegally. As the grandson of immigrants, however, I think there has to be a more humane and rational way to approach the issue other than mass deportation.

    I would also point out that the people MOST responsible for undocumented immigrants in this country are those who own the corporate farms that exploit the labor of those self-same illegal immigrants. Although I might add that the same blame applies to wealthy real estate moguls who use undocumented immigrants on their re-modeling projects, as busboys and waiters in their restaurants, as gardeners at their country clubs, and as nannies to their children.

  • I see your point that the Confederate officers were traitors. However, I am very nervous about removing history. It smacks of the history-editing that goes on in George Orwell's "1984." Anything that does not conform to the party's present stance must be removed from history and history must be rebuilt. The scene that will stay with me longest from "1984" is when the hero, Winston Smith, begins to write his own diary. He has control over what is remembered and recorded. No politician does.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Margaret, I have to disagree with your comparison of those who want to remove statues and monuments to Confederate heroes from public squares with the Thought Police in George Orwell's "1984." First, statues are not history, nor even history lessons. They are designed to solicit reverence for the subject of the statue, not to teach history. History is taught in books, films, essays, manuscripts, recordings and excavations.

    For example, Germany has long prohibited all public displays of statues and monuments to Adolph Hitler and his Nazis, including the Nazi flag. Have they removed books from their libraries or films from their theaters? Have Germans been deprived to information on this era of their history? Indeed, a new edition of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" was recently published in Germany.

    I think the equivalence you have drawn with Orwell's Thought Police is a false one.

  • Margaret, if you notice, I talk about removing public memorials honoring Confederate Civil War figures. I say nothing about excising the Confederacy from the pages of history. I don't believe we ought to honor people who were traitors to their country. It's that simple.

    Even if we remove every public memorial honoring Confederate "heroes", there will ALWAYS be people who feel compelled to honor their memories. So I don't think there is ANY prospect of a 1984-like erasure from history!

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