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View Diary: The Tea Party's Neoconfederacy Fights the Civil War (Again) (81 comments)

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  •  It is unfortunate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jagger

    that the qualities worthy of celebration amongst the Confederacy are inextricably entwined with the prevalent racism.  I see the "Heritage not Hate" bumper stickers, and I see the pride in flying the Confederate flags; and part of me understands that part of the basis for these attitudes lies in an admiration of the courage of the individual men who dedicated their lives to a cause and who banded together to throw off the yoke of an oppressor.  In that objective sense, the pride in the Confederacy is fine with me.  It's not that different from our own armed secession from Great Britain.

    Unfortunately, their cause was not just.  Nonetheless, it's possible to separate the soldier from the fight.  We do that today in celebrating our own men and women in war regardless of our displeasure with their reasons for being there.  We celebrate the soldiers, not their war.  If those espousing "heritage not hate" could do that, I'd buy 'em a beer.

    But they don't, and I don't think they can.  Too long and too deeply, the Confederacy's celebration today is rooted in racism to the extent that the issues of slavery and states rights hardly matter.  The Confederate flag and mantras have become an inescapable shorthand thinly obfuscating an attitude that blacks are second-class citizens.

    It's too bad.   Except for among some historians and military buffs, the lessons we should learn from the Civil War are drowned out by dogwhistles of hate.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:49:17 AM PDT

    •  It would be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wmc418, Leftwing Noise Machine

      exactly the same if we celebrated the German soldiers who fought in WWII.  While courageous and brave in the defense of their country it is the offense from that country that is not to be admired in any way.  The argument that the North started the Civil War and the South was the wronged party is stupid and willfully ignoring the facts of the Confederacy.  The twisting and contortions to make their egos feel better in relation to the War needs medical intervention to cure.  It is a sickness.

      And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

      by tobendaro on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:12:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not analogous IMO (0+ / 0-)

        My point was that in the America Revolution, it was we who declared ourselves separate from the parent country and without question committed treason in their eyes.  The difference is that we prevailed, so our revolutionaries are patriots and heros.

        And being of German descent, I have a similar problem as Southerners in being proud of my ancestry without celebrating the evil of the Nazi regime.  I have little doubt that many southerners are as disgusted by the racist taint on their heritage as I am by that stain on mine.

        You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

        by rb608 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:47:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Revolutionary War (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb608

          was fought to attain independence from another country.  It was fought to become self governing, a nobel cause.   You may see similarities but I don't.  Southerners may say that is the reason the South sought to rend the Union but reality and the facts show that they fought to keep slavery which was their economic engine.  An ignoble cause.  They fought to keep their way of life, immoral as it was.  That is not admirable just as the German fighter was not to be admired in his efforts to aid Hitler's goals.  I am also of German descent.  I would like to think if I had been living Germany at that time I would have not fallen for Hitler's ideas nor would I have been able to support Southern aggression against Africans.

          And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

          by tobendaro on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:46:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. I'm sure there were decent German (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tobendaro

        soldiers caught up in defending their country and not hating others.  Still, the goal was so obscene, so immoral, that we need not waste our time compromising the issue and trying to parce the Nazi war machine.  

        The same is true with the Confederacy.  Sure there were decent folk who acted in good faith (though I suspect they were dimnishingly few in number).  But the cause was so immoral and tainted with a viscious system of exploitation that the whole enterprise should be rejected.   We don't have any duty to gloss it.

        An imbalance between the rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

        by Leftwing Noise Machine on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:54:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The yoke of an oppressor? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Loge, rb608

      Er, it wasn't the white rebels who were wearing the yolk.  

      I'm sorry but honoring their bravery and sacrifice is one thing.  You're still tying it to a fantasy cause.  

      You know, Erwin Rommel was a great general.  But you don't see the Germans polishing statues of him all over Germany explaining that it's just pride in their heritage.

      “There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires,” -Barack Obama

      by Sun dog on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:24:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You do see this in Japan, though. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sun dog, rb608

        I remember either Esquire or GQ getting in trouble for naming Rommel one of the best dressed men of the century.  Does he get a pass for trying to kill Hitler?  I guess not.

        "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

        by Loge on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:18:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Japan (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb608, Leftwing Noise Machine

          has a shameful history of whitewashing their role in WWII.  

          As for Rommel trying to kill Hitler; he joined the conspiracy once he knew Germany was doomed in the war.  He showed no signs of disloyalty when the Reich was riding high.  I mean, Hermann Goring eventually bailed on Hitler too but so what?  Rats jumping off a sinking ship.  

          “There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires,” -Barack Obama

          by Sun dog on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:24:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Light bulb (0+ / 0-)

            People reach conclusions and decisions when the light bulb goes on.  What is important is that the light bulb went off and they recognized their past mistakes.

            Blaming all members of a nation for the actions of their political or ecoomic leadership is no better than blaming every American for the invasion of Iraq.

            •  There's a difference. Nazi Germany was (0+ / 0-)

              pathological at heart, so it is appropriate to blame anybody who didn't distance themselve from it.   The same is true of the antebellum South.  It was a pathological culture based on the brutal exploitation of millions of slaves, to promote a weird ideology of Southern aristocracy.   Those that accepted that pathology shouldn't be excused.

              An imbalance between the rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

              by Leftwing Noise Machine on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:58:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think you can separate those things. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sun dog, wmc418

      The 9/11 hijackers gave their lives for a cause they truly believed was just.  I don't and won't celebrate their courage.

      A lot of Germans joined up with the Nazis and gave their lives in a cause that they truly believed was just.  I don't and won't celebrate their courage.

      It matters, indelibly, why you do what you do.  All of our scholarship shows that the states of the Confederacy broke away to make slavery permanent, and that the men and women who enlisted in the cause by and large did so in order to help make slavery permanent.  They were fighting bravely, and laying down their lives, for a dark and evil cause.  I don't and won't celebrate their courage.

      "We reject as false the choice between our safety and our values." Barack Hussein Obama

      by jem6x on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:30:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't for a minute excuse or celebrate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sun dog

        the Nazi cause; but I'd offer as an illustration of my point the movie "Das Boot".  It was a gripping drama about how that band of men worked, struggled, and survived together.  Their nationality was immaterial to their courage as portrayed.  

        In the larger picture, of course, they were serving an inhuman regime that was murdering millions; but in the microcosm of their individual struggles, I can find courage to admire.

        You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

        by rb608 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:52:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here's where you came off the rails a little bit (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb608, jem6x, Leftwing Noise Machine
          men who dedicated their lives to a cause and who banded together to throw off the yoke of an oppressor.

          The evocation of Confederates "throwing off the yoke of an oppressor," is actually kind of offensive, if you think about it.  

          I get what you're saying here but you're navigating some pretty choppy water and that should be done with more care.  

          Das Boot did, indeed, manage to celebrate the humanity of those men without celebrating the cause of the government they served.  In that, it was a true work of art.  

          “There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires,” -Barack Obama

          by Sun dog on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:17:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yoke of the oppressor... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sun dog

            Yeah, I don't agree with that either; I was trying to imagine the southern mindset.  And yes, I know I'm on pretty thin ice with the whole idea.   I think I'm a victim of the over-romaticization of the conflict through Hollywood's eyes from Shenandoah to GWTW, etc.

            You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

            by rb608 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:49:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The southern mindset (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jem6x, rb608

              I think is where much of the nation came off the rails too.  I've done the same thing you're talking about and so has just about every Civil War buff.  But mostly the white ones.  It's always important to remember that.  

              In truth white southerners should, by all rights, be the first to burn the Confederate flag or just leave it in the museum where it belongs.  It was the false and evil cause so many of their predecessors tragically rallied around, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.  The prowess of leaders like Lee should be recognized as part of the tragedy that prolonged the war and the suffering.  They shouldn't be polishing statues of him.  Over the years, my feelings on this have become quite unambiguous.  I also recognize that if I wasn't white, it wouldn't have taken years.  

              “There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires,” -Barack Obama

              by Sun dog on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:13:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Does this apply to ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... Bull Connor in his war against equality in the 50s and 60s?

      Nonetheless, it's possible to separate the soldier from the fight.

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