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Perhaps reading that title you wonder why the Bentonville AR retailer would want to place a megastore in the middle of nowhere.  They don't.  Were you a Civil War aficionado you might immediately grasp that the threat is something just as serious.  The retailer wants to build the store on a hill directly across a road from the national military park commemorating one of the most significant battlefields in our nation's history, That threat is addressed in today's Washington Post by Pulitzer Prize winning Civil War historian James McPherson of Princeton.  You can read that piece here, and I will quote from it in due course.  

It is not that McPherson and other opponents of this particular site are opposed to Wal-Mart being in the area.  As this week marks the 145th Anniversary of that battle, not so far from our national capital, perhaps it is helpful to understand its significance in our history, and the nature of historic preservation.  So allow me as a Social Studies teacher to offer a brief excursus on the battle, as a resident of Virginia on the nature of sacred landscape, and as an admirer some of the words of McPherson.

One cannot live in the Virginia suburbs of our National Capital without an awareness of history:  we have many significant locations.  The County in which I live, Arlington, is named for the residence of Robert E. Lee, confiscated illegally by the Union Army in retaliation for Lee's having left the Union Army for his role in the South.  To ensure the permanent dispossession of the Lee family, the grounds were used for burials of Union war dead.  Built by George Washington Parke Custis, step-grandson of George Washington, whose own home of Mount Vernon is today an easy drive down a parkway that passes alongside the Potomac in front of the mansion, becomes a thoroughfare in Alexandria, then again becomes a Parkway down to the President's home, it is known as the Custis-Lee Mansion because the Confederate military hero, who himself grew up in Alexandria, married the only daughter of Custis.  Lee's widow eventually won a lawsuit that the property should not have been seized, but by then the burials started by Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs had irrevocably established what is now our most famous National Cemetery, also named Arlington.

There are the remains of several Civil War era forts in Arlington and neighboring Alexandria.   Within an hour's drive or so are many important sites from the Civil War, whose first major land battle took place at Manassas Junction, near the stream whose name is Bull Run, where a second battle occurred later.  To the west are the key cities of Harper's Ferry, site of John Brown's raid, where he was captured by a detachment of U. S. Marines under the command of an army officer named Robert E. Lee, and the city of Winchester at the top of the Shenandoah Valley, breadbasket of the Confederacy.  These two cities changed hands multiple times during the War.

Southwest of the Capital is Brandy Station, site of the largest cavalry encounter on the North American continent.  We can head South from the District of Columbia to the area around Fredericksburg.  I will return there anon, but as we go further South we come upon the Richmond area, with so many battles it is hard to list them all, whether the Siege of Petersburg, the Peninsular Campaign, or so many other encounters it is difficult to keep them all in mind.  And as the fighting had begun in Virginia, in a field owned by one Wilmer McLean, the war officially ended when Lee surrendered in the parlor of the home owned by that same gentleman near Appomattox Court House in April of 1865.

Fredericksburg is in some ways the heart of the battles in Virginia.  Three are of great importance.  First came that ofr Fredericksburg itself, in late 1862, where the Union charge up Marye's Heights lead to such devastation that Lee was heard to remark that "It is good that war is so terrible, or we should grow to like it too much."  Half a year later when Pickett's Charge was repelled at Gettysburg, the Union troops could be heard to shout "Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg" so horrible had been that event.

In the area near Fredericksburg was a region known as the Wildnerness, rough ground with lots of scrub and trees.  Two major battles were fought there.  The earlier one, in the Spring of 1863, is known as Chancellorsville.  Lee chose to fight in the woods because his troops were heavily outnumbered and the terrain enabled him to mask the movements of troops.  He won perhaps his most important battle, albeit at the very heavy cost of the death of Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, his key lieutenant, who was accidentally shot by one of his own sentries.   Much of that battlefield has already been lost to development.  Key parts abut now busy roads and strip malls, although the heart of the battlefield remains.

Wilderness was not, as is sometimes thought, fought on the same ground - there is very little overlap, because in 1864 Grant wanted to avoid the problems of the terrain of the earlier battle. Lee, outnumbered around 100,000 to 60,000, wanted that terrain, which largely eliminated the Union advantage in artillery.  

The battle could be considered either a draw, since the Confederates at least temporarily stalled the Union advance southward, or even a Confederat victory, because Grant chose to withdraw, an action normally taken by the Commander of the losing forces.  But that would be to think merely tactically.  Grant knew he had an important advantage in manpower and materiel, and was determined to ground down Lee's forces.  That process began with Wilderness, as inexorably Grant's continued engagements were destroying Lee's Army of Northern Virginia as a fighting force.

One horror of this particular battle is that the scrub and woods between the lines caught on fire, so intense was the fighting, and both sides had to listen in horror as some of their wounded compatriots burned alive.

All across Europe one encounters memorials of the two World Wars, whether it is the preserved trenches of the Great War, or the signs of battle of the Normandy landing.  Further to the east the latter war was known as the Great Patriotic War, in which the USSR suffered terribly, and to which there were monuments and commemorations.

Too often we too easily think of the glories of war without remembering the sacrifices, the cost.  The U. S. had not had the experience on its homeland of being invaded or seriously attacked since the War of 1812, which is perhaps why the impact of September 11, 2001 had the impact it did.  As we note the insistence of commemorating that tragic event, of maintaining as sacred and set apart the space in which the devastation occurred, perhaps then we can begin to imagine the importance for many to preserve as much as possible of our own great struggle, the internecine conflict which in some ways finally began to define us as one nation.

Development has spread out in all directions from Washington DC, devouring landscape and culture.  McPherson notes that only 21% of the actual site of the Battle of the Wilderness are in the national park, that many key areas are "privately held and vulnerable to development."  McPherson was one of a group of more than 250 historians who opposed Wal-Mart's decision to build in this spot, in a letter which included the following words:

"the Wilderness is an indelible part of our history, its very ground hallowed by the American blood spilled there, and it cannot be moved. Surely Wal-Mart can identify a site that would meet its needs without changing the very character of the battlefield."

"Wilderness Wal-Mart" supporters argue that because the proposed store site lies just beyond the park, it lacks historic significance, a profound misunderstanding of the nature of history. In the heat of battle, no unseen hand kept soldiers inside what would one day be a national park. Such boundaries are artificial, modern constructions shaped by external factors, and they have little bearing on what is or is not historic. To assume the park boundary at the Wilderness encompasses every acre of significant ground is to believe that the landscape beyond the borders of Yosemite National Park instantly ceases to be majestic."

The CIvil War Sites Advisory Commission, on which McPherson served, recommending including the site of the proposed Wal-Mart within the battlefield's historic boundaries.  He notes that preservation can itself serve as an important economic driver for a region, creaing jobs and generating tax revenues through tourism. He then writes:

Recognizing this, preservationists have proposed a comprehensive planning process to balance protection of the Wilderness Battlefield with regional economic development goals, marrying respect for the old with the promise of the new. It is a process by which everyone -- Wal-Mart, local residents and the battlefield -- wins. The alternative is the type of piecemeal development that has swallowed up historic sites and destroyed the identities of countless communities. It is a scenario in which only Wal-Mart wins.

We perhaps cannot preserve every place of possible historical importance, but in our shortsightedness we have already lost much.  Too many historic buildings are now gone, and sacred spaces are increasingly threatened as our cities spread out.

We will hear arguments about how now especially we need economic development.  Yet development does not require us to wreak havoc and destruction on our historical and natural heritage.  Not far to the west of the Civil War sites are the ancient mountains that were being destroyed through mountaintop removal.  Entire ecosystems are being eradicated in the pursuit of profits that cannot be sustained.  Once gone, we cannot reconstruct a landscape raised up over millions upon millions of years, and replanting monocultures - even in those few cases where possible - does not make up for the loss of diversity of ancient forests, or of the fauna which thrived therein.  We destroy the mountain streams at the expense of a water flow which sustains life further downstream.  Once gone, these things cannot be replaced.

Nor can reconstructions and amusement parks fully make up for the loss of sacred space that reminds us of how we have become a nation, the costs we paid for the liberties we now enjoy as the American people.  We paid a horrendous price as a nation - more than 600,000 dead in a population of under 32 million, a death rate of around 2% of our total population.  Think of it this way -  with over 300 million Americans today, that would be a death toll of around 6 million. Or if you prefer, consider the casualties for this one battle on this one spot, this Battle of the Wilderness.  Around 2,200 Union and 1,500 Confederates died.  That is around 3,700, more than the deaths on 9-11.  Projected to our current population, that would be a figure around 37,000.  Another 16,000 or so were wounded in that battle, with more missing and captured.  Think of the total casualties, approaching 20,000 then, or in the equivalent numbers today, 200,000 - more than the population of now highly urbanized Arlington County, with just under that number crammed into our 26 square miles.  

Perhaps some might prefer that we not look back at the costs of war.  Perhaps some would prefer we stay facing forward, and consider only the challenges before us, and the opportunities that flow from economic development narrowly conceived.  I am of a different opinion, and here I stand with McPherson and the historians who wish to preserve what they can of this significant place in our history, a battle that was key in defining us as one nation.  It is a battlefield whose human cost should serve as a reminder to those who too easily contemplate military conflict as the solution to problems.  It should likewise serve as a challenge to those who believe that freedom and liberty can be taken for granted without those willing to pay a heavy cost.  
At Gettysburg, about 6 months before Wilderness, Lincoln spoke words of importance.  Gettysburg was attempted after Chancellorsville.  It was the victor at Gettsyburg, Meade, whose crossing of the Rapidan on May 2, 1864, set forth an important idea, one applicable both to the sense of nation and the importance of historical memory.  Let me end with those words, which I find as applicable to Wilderness as to the fields of Pennsylvania:

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Peace.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 04:55 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Offered for your kind consideration (179+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Renee, Ed in Montana, vicki, Ducktape, Buckeye BattleCry, copymark, sheba, Ivan, Robespierrette, Debby, meg, akeitz, FredFred, willyr, prfb, RFK Lives, geordie, shermanesq, bronte17, CoolOnion, mikidee, SAQuestor, javelina, dmsilev, Eddie C, liz dexic, Dallasdoc, Timoteo, White Buffalo, churchylafemme, johnnygunn, lcrp, riverlover, barbwires, blonde moment, exlrrp, vacantlook, bibble, luvmovies2000, joanneleon, historys mysteries, marina, radarlady, Superpole, panicbean, frandor55, truong son traveler, Kevskos, Catatonia, John H, owlbear1, jimstaro, jimreyn, Phil S 33, blue jersey mom, spunhard, The Raven, pdknz, playtonjr, JanL, Ekaterin, kathny, maryru, martini, third Party please, danmac, emeraldmaiden, seefleur, kestrel9000, ruleoflaw, triv33, erratic, Lashe, Dauphin, ER Doc, doinaheckuvanutjob, MBNYC, va dare, Cassiodorus, Slatefish, mlbx2, Hedwig, VaBreeze, Thinking Fella, Drama Queen, One Pissed Off Liberal, marykk, BeninSC, dotsright, Habitat Vic, Loudoun County Dem, blue armadillo, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, DWG, joyful, newpioneer, Kentucky Kid, sabishi, millwood, Moderation, Zydekos, TexasTwister, sable, rmonroe, Mighty Ike, jwinIL14, Justus, JeffW, redding888, Lujane, royce, dewley notid, Jake Williams, gracieloufreebush, envwq, mofembot, temptxan, phrogge prince, luckylizard, fromma, HoosierDeb, Diogenes2008, prodigalkat, LaFeminista, Louisiana 1976, loftT, LinSea, Pariah Dog, Pursang, earicicle, Mro, VAtrendsblue, platypus60, badger1968, sanglug, XNeeOhCon, Dragon5616, Tommymac, unfinished60sbusiness, Words In Action, NCrissieB, Just Bob, BigVegan, ladygreenslippers, miss SPED, ArtSchmart, LaughingPlanet, Susan from 29, UTvoter, Interceptor7, fidellio, chrome327, Melissa J, Eddie L, samanthab, Peacerunner, debbieleft, Casual Wednesday, Otteray Scribe, DudleyMason, kktlaw, Jalynna, angstall, Hill Jill, ban nock, DoubleT, nicethugbert, indigoblueskies, m00finsan, Ebby, mydailydrunk, zukesgirl64, Lorikeet, Santa Susanna Kid, AgnesBee, Edgewater, chira2, Aquagranny911, skeptiq

    in the hopes that we never forget the prices paid for the freedoms we enjoyed, and that historic preservation of places sacred can remind us that there are values beyond the purely economic.

    Peace.

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 04:56:17 AM PDT

      •  If I recall correctly (22+ / 0-)

        there is a rather ugly stretch that includes a McDonalds and a gas station just across from the Gettysburg visitor's center--which is located at the heart of the action on Day 3.  No Wal-Mart, though.

        "I shall never surrender or retreat." --Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis

        by badger1968 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 05:52:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I guess when I wrote that I was (4+ / 0-)

          recalling the national park service's seizure of private land and destruction of that observation tower the overlooked the battlefield.  

          We are all droogie6655321

          by Buckeye BattleCry on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:21:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wal mart is ugly anywhere, Lee was a turncoat (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            merckx, Poom

            Lee took an oath to "preserve protect and defend the Constitution of the USA"  He is no example of anything but a turncoat who deserved to have his family's home confiscated.  

            "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

            by MD patriot on Sun May 03, 2009 at 11:46:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  No McDonalds but (5+ / 0-)

          there is a never ending battle about what goes around the outskirts of the battlefield.  Also to be fair, the town has doubled since the battle. So if you want it back to 1863 stage you need to knock over many 130+ year old homes and churches.

          I live in York and spend a good amount of time in Gettysburg.

          Clings to wedge issues and Wendy's Dollar Menu

          by Mro on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:42:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Gettysburg is surrounded by ugly. (4+ / 0-)

          There is a town/tourist trap filled with hideous and tacky souvenirs -- Lincoln hats, toy blue & gray soldiers, plastic bayonets, etc.  If there isn't a McDonald's, there's every other fast food known to humanity.  The quiet and, if I can use this word, reverent nature of the battlefield is a sharp contrast.  

          Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays at 5 PM PDT

          by indigoblueskies on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:46:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ya know (6+ / 0-)

            I don't like Wal-Mart for lots of different reasons--I loathe their anti-union mania, their despicable pay standards, their lack of health benefits, their ruthless destruction of competition by leveraging monopolistic type practices on competitors and suppliers alike.

            In short, just saying 'no' to another Wal-Mart comes easy to me.

            But, sadly, I don't really care too much about 'battlefields' worship either. I'd much rather our memorials go to Conscientious Objectors and Pacifists; and our fields of preserved nature and surrondings should be preserved for far better reasons than the fact that humanity once again took it upon itself to start a campaign of mutual mutiliation. It always strikes me --in the long view--as being a little myopic and redundant to worry too much about those who died in an ill considered war. Not that I don't care about the dead--far from it. I just think they shouldn't have died in such an absurdly stupid fashion. I fear when we spend too much time honoring the heroic battlefields, we spend too little time thinking about how we could avoid the necessity of such 'heroism' in the first place.

            War is stupid. We can do better. Maybe we should begin by not 'honoring' it, and instead create peace memorials that describe the hundreds of thousands of individuals in the past and alive today who work actively to find creative solutions in the face of adversity, solutions that easily transcend the utter barbarism of our more recent past. Our history is a march of blood and folly, true, but we do have bright spots too--sadly, those bright spots-- the signatories of peace treaties and resolutions, the brilliant executives who avoided the calamity of war, or merely the kind nurses and mothers and those who offered sanctuaries to the fleeing soldiers, those who hid the 'cowards' are almost never honored with such heady appellations as 'hallowed ground'; rather they get stuck in the back of the history books and their lives are a footnote, if that.

            Meanwhile, whole fields are given over to the swarms of immigrants and opportunists and the occassional good man and woman who were thrown into a brawl many didn't even care about--merely because they happened to be unlucky enough to get their asses shot off in an ill considered advance.

            And we call that 'hallowed'....sorry I call that horseshit. And the Union and Confederate dead -- if they were alive to read this  --after the fact of their miserable existence on that so called 'hallowed' ground --might very well agree.

            My 2 cents, though I doubt it will be popular here abouts.

            DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

            by DelicateMonster on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:44:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I too am not crazy about war, which is why I (0+ / 0-)

              have visited almost all of the battle sites of the wars that were fought on our soil.  And as I walked across the cornfield at Antietam and climbed to the top of Kings Mountain, I wondered what combination of fate, poverty, dreams of glory and hopes of greater freedom and stability led all of those men to participate in such carnage.

              And each time I am mystified and enormously grateful that so many did because we have benefited from the sacrifices that they made, regardless of their motivations.

              •  modern day secessionists (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DelicateMonster

                So will we glorify Governor "Good Hair" if he leads Texas to secede?   Lee and the whole batch of deserters from the Union ranks should have been prosecuted after the war.  Fortunately Lee's estate was turned into a graveyard, so at least his ancestors don't have that, but they were paid for the estate several years later.

                "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                by MD patriot on Sun May 03, 2009 at 11:49:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  commemorating the Civil War not glorifying (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Susan from 29

                  secession or the Confederacy.  It is (a) a recognition of this nation's most costly war; (b) a recognition of the cost of fratricide of any kind, something our political rhetoric too often seems to ignore; (c) a recognition of the conflict whose end result finally began to bring a sense of being one nation - after all, citizenship was not defined until the 14th Amendment, and the units fighting in the Civil War were still organized by states; (d) a recognition of the real cost of any war, in memory of which perhaps we should be somewhat more cautious in our bellicose language, and also recognize why for example European nations are somewhat more ready to negotiate, they having experienced this kind of devastatition far more recently than have we.

                  do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

                  by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 11:56:39 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Why did you say the Lee's were cheated? (0+ / 0-)

                    So why did you say that Arlington was "illegally taken" from the Lee family?  They were in open revolt against the USA, so surely they had forfeited any property rights.

                    And surely you as a teacher know that the Lee family was paid good money to compensate them for the cost of their estate.  I believe the amount was equivalent to several million dollars in modern funds.

                    So if eminent domain was OK for Justice Souter and others in New London, surely it was justified to find a place to bury those that Lee was killing!

                    "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                    by MD patriot on Sun May 03, 2009 at 12:04:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Arlington (0+ / 0-)

                      From the diary:

                      Arlington, is named for the residence of Robert E. Lee, confiscated illegally by the Union Army in retaliation for Lee's having left the Union Army for his role in the South.  To ensure the permanent dispossession of the Lee family, the grounds were used for burials of Union war dead.

                      That comment is definitely from a southerner's perspective.  In my mind Lee and all of those who violated their oath to "preserve protect and defend the US Constitution" should have been jailed after the war.

                      "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                      by MD patriot on Sun May 03, 2009 at 12:07:21 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  actually, from perspective of US Supreme Court (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Susan from 29

                        who so ruled.  I am, despite living in the people's republic of Northern Virginia, as the area N of the Occocuan and E of the Bull Run is sometimes described, not a Southerner.  Born and bred in NY.

                        The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in 1882, in UNITED STATES V. LEE, 106 U.S. 196 (1882) that the US Government was a trespasser on the Estate.

                        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

                        by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 12:19:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Supremes also ruled, 5-4 to install bush (0+ / 0-)

                          So just because five "supremes" say something certainly doesn't mean much to me, and it surely was no solace to Dred Scott that the "Supremes" under Roger Taney told him that he was chattel.

                          There is certainly hope for Virginia, they voted for Obama, a far cry from my visit to Virginia in 1968 when the locals threw beer cans at our car and yelled out "n***er lover" as they drove past our "Humphrey for President" bumper sticker.

                          But the southerners and especially Virginia have been caught up in 150 years of Lee worship- all for one who would certainly be considered a traitor in most countries after violating his oath as a US Army officer.

                          "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                          by MD patriot on Mon May 04, 2009 at 05:23:06 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  how do you figger this? (0+ / 0-)

                      They were in open revolt against the USA, so surely they had forfeited any property rights.

                      Nobody forfeits anything in this country without due process of law. Due process of law does not equal some officer just deciding to relieve you of your property.

                      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                      by UntimelyRippd on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:24:34 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Lees had left the USA (0+ / 0-)

                        They had abandoned their country, tried to overthrow the elected government.  And hey, the Lees were paid in the end anyway, just view Arlington as an early example of eminent domain in action.

                        "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                        by MD patriot on Mon May 04, 2009 at 05:30:40 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You are making two different arguments at (0+ / 0-)

                          different times.

                          One is that, in the end, it wasn't theft, because they were compensated. I'm good with that interpretation.

                          The other is that, it wasn't theft to begin with, because they had forfeited their property through their actions. That might be your opinion about what's right and wrong, but it is not in accordance with US law. Treason -- or any other crime -- has to be prosecuted before penalties can be applied. And I suspect you will discover that there is no law on the US books, and probably never has been (though i'm not sure about the Alien and Sedition Acts), that stated that someone who abandoned the country and tried to overthrow the government was subject to forfeiture of 100% of their property, regardless of its value.

                          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                          by UntimelyRippd on Mon May 04, 2009 at 09:21:47 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  glad to see US law respected again (0+ / 0-)

                            For the last 28 years "US Law" has been a joke as reagan and the bushies stripped it down to just make it their own personal rule of greed.   Sure "US Law" did not allow reagan to sell arms to Iran or fund the contras, but he got away with it.

                            And "US Law" did not allow bush and cheney to torture and invade Iraq, but they just did whatever they wanted, with plenty of help from a crooked supreme court.

                            "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                            by MD patriot on Tue May 05, 2009 at 06:08:36 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  It was Abraham Lincoln who insisted that they (0+ / 0-)

                  not be prosecuted after the war.

                  Also, what makes you automatically dismiss the sacrifices made by the northern troops to retain the Union?  Just because you don't seem to be able to see the conflict in broader terms doesn't automatically mean that those who disagree are using the same blinders.

                  BTW, Kings Mountain was the sight of a battle of the Revolutionary War, not the War of Secession that you appear to be focused on.

                  •  where did you see that? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    DelicateMonster

                    Not sure where you saw me "dismissing the sacrifices made by the northern troops"?   Just because I don't like to glorify war and spend huge amounts of money on civil war monuments does not mean that I dismiss the sacrifices of the actual patriots who fought to preserve the US Constitution.  

                    Pretty sad to read "Killer Angels" where the opposing generals wanted to "say hello to their friends" one last time before trying to kill them.  I'd rather see the money spent on monuments go to blanketing the south with books like "Killer Angels" and "Gods and Generals".  What a colossal waste the civil war was, and unfortunately the modern war mongers still hold sway over this country, with the US spending more than the rest of the world combined on the War Department.

                    "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                    by MD patriot on Mon May 04, 2009 at 05:29:19 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MeToo

                There were Irish that joined the Union literally fresh off their coffin ships because they had no other choice. Their 'dreams' and ideas about freedom pretty much began and ended with the hope of getting something to eat.

                Read Co'aytch if you want to get a feel for what a typical grunt soldier's life was like in the Confederate army. Groveling peasants and rural country folks or half naked immigrants pretty much supplied the dead we now honor in places like Gettysburg or Wilderness. But we don't honor them individually, if we did we'd never have another war. Instead, we 'honor' the persons who drove them to their graves-- the politicians and the generals get the monuments and the lines in the history books and they are the ones who ultimately benefitted far more than the poor grunts or their progeny ever did.

                Being canon fodder is no more honorable than being shot in the back in some stupid bar, and just about as useful in the long run.

                We might have ended slavery without a single shot being fired if it weren't for the obstinance and the arrogance of the so called Confederacy. We might also have never had that war if both the North and the South hadn't built cultural systems that 'honored' a death in a war more than a death in peace and happily fertilized the notion with their own dead elaborately buried with bizarre rituals and statutes dotting every other municipal franchise --God forbid we should ever forget what feckless morons we were.

                They didn't get it then, anymore than we do now. They all thought 'dying in war' for your cause or your country was honorable beyond words, approached some kind of beatific idea of nobility and sacrifice or was a minimum, 'fitting and just'

                Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori....Is pure horseshit. Such beliefs do exactly one thing--lead to more useless wars.

                Sorry, I just think it's time for the human race to grow up. We need to get beyond our fascination with our own indiscriminate stupidity, and start honoring our diplomats rather than our generals, our peace keepers rather than our war makers.

                Where are the statues to the peace marchers during Vietnam and Iraq? Where the townsquare that proudly has the bronzed image of Dorothy Day? Daniel Berrigan? Philip Berrigan? Where's the monument in Washington for Joan Baez? Where's the statement honoring John Kerry or Jane Fonda? Where are the laurels for Caesar Chavez?

                Our peace keepers and lovers are the better part of our nation and have been for years. It's a sad but succinct testimony to the militaristic nature of our culture that for every statue for a poet, peace lover or musician we have five hundred for long dead generals of various ruinuous causes.

                I'm not saying don't honor the dead, I'm saying honor them with a sense of priority. Peace makers deserve more than war mongers, poets more than generals. We have our priorities backwards here and have had them backwards since forever it seems.

                I'll gladly sanctify the Wilderness with a tear when you give me a monument to Woody Guthrie near the Washington Monument and maybe a placard for the dead at Kent State near the black slash of the Vietnam memorial. MLK naturally should be situated near Lincoln and his words about war should be posted in proud large roman type for all to read:

                "The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. ....
                "I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered. ....
                "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death

                Add to that a tribute to Dorothy Day and her workers of the poor they so richly deserve. We'll honor the dead of the past far more by honoring those who can prevent such horrid deaths in the future, I think.

                DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

                by DelicateMonster on Sun May 03, 2009 at 12:16:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What I actualy said was (0+ / 0-)

                  what combination of fate, poverty, dreams of glory and hopes of greater freedom and stability led all of those men to participate in such carnage.

                  I don't think that any war is glorious, and as one of the many protesters against the Vietnam War, I have never felt a memorial to those efforts was needed.  Ending the war was enough of a memorial.

                  On the other hand, some wars are necessary.  Among those I include our war of independence and the war against secession.  Like our current President, I am not against all wars, only dumb ones.

                  To honor the men that fought them is the very least we can do for them.  They were not the ones who decided the nation should go to wars, they were, and still are, the ones who have to fight them.

                  In any case, these monuments represent our history good or bad and the thought of WalMart infringing on them is painful.  Isn't it enough that WalMart is shaping our future?  Must we allow it to color our past?

                  •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

                    I'll agree that Wal-Mart should be banned from our history and the planet, no problem. I'm merely suggesting that we honor with more than footnotes those folks who understand there are methods beyond war for solving conflicts.

                    Honoring dead men, one way or another doesn't seem like such a productive activity. Honoring dead men who continued to toil in a system that merely will replicate itself to create further deadmen doesn't strike me as productive at all.

                    The very least we could do for the union and confederate dead is figure out a better way to resolve our differences--and then honor the living men and women who enable that.

                    Gravestone pontifications don't move me anymore than they move the dead underneath them. Ultimately, your gesture 'of honor' is for yourself or your contemporaries, it doesn't mean shit to the dead.

                    DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

                    by DelicateMonster on Sun May 03, 2009 at 01:37:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, but I don't view the Civil War (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              merckx

              as an ill-conceived war, at least from the Union perspective.

              I see it as a heroic effort to preserve and advance liberty and equality, and we owe an enormous debt to those who made the sacrifice, IMHO.

              "...malt does more than Milton can/To justify God's ways to man." --A.E. Housman

              by Dragon5616 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 11:41:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Don't agree (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dragon5616

                the main humanizing benefit of the civil war--if there was one--didn't happen as a result of the war or even the emancipation proclamation--which was part of a larger military strategy as well as a political strategy and not so altruistic as we might presume. I think the main benefit was to eventually allow for blacks to become more than second class citizens, but that didn't come about primarily because of the war--far from it. Jim Crowe laws in many ways forced blacks into even worse conditions; ultimately it was MLK and his NON-Violent civil rights movement that caused real cultural and social change and finally let blacks have a certain degree of equality.

                All the civil war did was to effectively seal Northern corporation's strangle hold on the Republic and provide an excellent testing ground for certain technologies of mass slaugther and imprisonment that were further refined in WWI, WWII and so and so forth up to the present day.

                So speaking about the heroism of any war is a little misplaced, I think, there are individual heros to be sure, but war itself, generally, should be understood as a failure of human civilization, ultimately as a failure of imagination.

                On the other hand, you have an outstanding sig...

                DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

                by DelicateMonster on Sun May 03, 2009 at 03:36:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The Civil War abolished slavery. (0+ / 0-)

                  Non-violent protest wouldn't have done that, especially if the South had been allowed to secede.

                  World War II was also necessary. World War I, not so much.

                  I would agree that war is generally a failure of civilization, but it also is necessary at times.

                  I do not glorify war itself, but I do honor those who fought in just causes. And the preservation of the Union and the abolition of slavery were just causes. Certainly the Emancipation Proclamation was a political tool, but it was also inherently a good thing.

                  Jim Crow laws were not caused by the Civil War except in the sense that free blacks represented a perceived risk to the South. Jim Crow laws could have been prevented by a correct decision in Plessey v. Ferguson. But even the Jim Crow South was nothing like slavery.

                  "...malt does more than Milton can/To justify God's ways to man." --A.E. Housman

                  by Dragon5616 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:30:26 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  How about surrounding every megachurch (14+ / 0-)

        with WalMarts? Oops, the fundamentalists would probably like that.

        They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify their fraudulent invasion of Iraq.

        by Words In Action on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:12:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No site is too sacred (26+ / 0-)

        For Wal-Mart to desecrate.

        "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

        by Ivan on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:41:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A Walmart in Lower Manhattan (7+ / 0-)

        overlooking the footprint of the Twin Towers?

        I think not.

        I think many people are very quick to forget the past in the name of the almighty dollar.  What they fail to understand is that the more you erase the past the more likely you are to repeat it.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:55:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Somewhere I have a picture.. (0+ / 0-)

        ..that I can't lay hands on right now to share....of the Gettysburg battlefield with the Stone Wall in the background and Pickett's Buffet in the foreground. The most key and hallowed spot of this most key and hallowed historical site, with the crassest sort of commercialism within stone's throw. Disgusting.  

        Baz

    •  some relevant info from Walmart Watch (15+ / 0-)

      If you haven't seen this, it's a must-watch

      Most recent news from last week

      In general, Wal-mart Watch website (winner of this year's Golden Dot at Politics Online for best Issues-Oriented Website)

      And directly related to the topic of this diary is Battle-Mart / Site Fight

      Peace.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:59:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The National Trust for Historic Preservation (8+ / 0-)

        had a leading role in stopping the Disney park in VA.  The Civil War buffs are a pretty powerful and politically diverse lobby as well.  If Disney can be overcome, there is a real shot at beating Walmart too imo.

        •  Civil War buffs have interesting politics (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PaulVA

          From what I've seen in California, they tend to be middle aged, very strongly pro-gun, 99% white, and probably fairly conservative -- something like the veterans groups?  I assume that they're a much stronger voice in the East.

          Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays at 5 PM PDT

          by indigoblueskies on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:50:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, around the mid-Atlantic area there (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Alice in Florida

            are a lot of them and yes many are staunch Republicans.  But I think the point is - at least how it sort of worked out with the Disney thing - is that there were people from all parties who were activated and extremely engaged in battling Disney when they tried to build their theme park.  I was a bit blown away that Disney was defeated given their power at the time; and that's when I sort of paid attention to the Civil War enthusiasts beyond wondering why anyone in the world would want to spend their weekends re-enacting a bloody and gruesome war battle.

        •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

          They did nothing to stop the waves of unplanned development in the Haymarket area; some of us who lobbied against Disney now think it would have been a better deal for the community and the battlefield.

          Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

          by barbwires on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:10:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I lived in Orlando for a time. (0+ / 0-)

            I'd say that you dodged a bullet big time.

          •  Oh btw - the Trust doesn't generally (0+ / 0-)

            "lobby" per se because they are a not for profit and they tend not to get involved in stopping projects as often as they get involved in preservation.  The thing about the Disney project in particular was that they were going to recreate the historic sites within the theme park which would have competed with the real historical sites - which was hugely threatening to the preservation folks all around the mid-atlantic region.  Also the sympathy for the Civil War sites is very strong in that world and in our region as you probably know.  So... I was just saying that Disney was beaten and maybe Walmart can be too.  Not that any of these groups are "fabulous" and I am not making any warranties on how they might behave in this situation - other than to say that I've seen them kick into high gear over Civil War sites and win in the past.

            •  I got that (0+ / 0-)

              I wasn't criticizing the historic trust, just that it seemed like once Disney was defeated there was a real lack of interest or oversight into what happened with the region.

              Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

              by barbwires on Sun May 03, 2009 at 01:00:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, that was during the Gillmore years (0+ / 0-)

                wasn't it?  The whole state went into majorly screwed up era.  Virginians, imo, have never been all that great at urban planning outside of the small powerful towns like Middleburg etc. until recently anyway.  Tyson's Corner represents almost half a century of urban planning nightmares as far as I'm concerned.

                Also, I'm not defending the trust as much as trying to be clear about what they can be counted on doing and what you probably can't expect them to get involved in.  This Walmart deal might not be sufficiently threatening to them to inspire their help.  We'll see.

      •  Outstanding video teacherken! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, PaulVA

        Especially the ending, LOL

        Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

        by Pariah Dog on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:53:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I guess Wal-Mart hates America and its history (4+ / 0-)

      Clings to wedge issues and Wendy's Dollar Menu

      by Mro on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:43:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe they (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MeToo, Mro, Santa Susanna Kid

        just loves them some money more.

        Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

        by Pariah Dog on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:55:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Their goal is saturation. Ours should be UNIONS (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PaulVA

        If Wal-Mart were unionized they could not achieve their skewed profit margins.

        We just lost a Drive-In to a possible build. It was the last Drive-In in Erie County (NY). The only thing that might stop the build is if Wal-Mart sees Unions.

        The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

        by MeToo on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:23:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your a fucking social studies teacher??? (0+ / 0-)

      And you "forgot" about the pearl harbor attack?

      God dam you are incompetent.

      I wouldn't let you teach me how to wipe an ass, never mind analyze history.

      That omission was a disgrace to every American that died at Pearl Harbor.

      "The U. S. had not had the experience on its homeland of being invaded or seriously attacked since the War of 1812, which is perhaps why the impact of September 11, 2001 had the impact it did."

      I'm glad Pearl Harbor wasn't a serious attack in your esteemed estimation.

      What a jerkoff.

      •  far from it - read what I said (0+ / 0-)

        The U. S. had not had the experience on its homeland of being invaded or seriously attacked since the War of 1812

        While no one denies that the United States was attacked - at Pearl, at Wake, in the Philippiness -  for most Americans that was NOT an attack on the homeland - we did not think of Hawai'i (nor the attacks on Attu and Kiska in the Aleutians later during WWII) as an attack on "the homeland."  In fact, the only such attack during WWII on the 48 states was the shelling by a Japanese submarine of the area around Long Beach, commemorated humorously by Spielberg in "19r42."

        So you can drop the obscene language and learn to read somewhat more carefully.  I know precisely what I was saying.  For all the horror of the unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor in the eyes of the American people and government, it was qualitatively different than 9-11 precisely because it was on a territory, not a state.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 12:01:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My mom described her take on it.. (0+ / 0-)

          She vividly remembered the moment she heard about the Pearl Harbor attack. Her mother got a phone call that immediately put her mom into such an emotional state my mom thought that her father had died or some such. When a few moments later she found out that the call was about Pearl Harbor having been attacked, she said it only diminished the feeling of loss a little, while at the same time increasing her feelings of fear for the future. She was about 15 at the time.

          While it was an attack on a territory rather than a state, the profound changes wrought by that attack and our subsequent massive involvement in the war and in the decades to follow made it qualitatively different than the 9/11 attacks, all right. In my opinion, it (and the war it initiated us into) changed our future much more than did the 9/11 attacks. Overnight it changed us from a nation wanting to avoid the war into a nation determined to win it unconditionally and led to our becoming a nuclear-armed country, among many other things. Or so I have read, anyway.

          Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

          by billmosby on Sun May 03, 2009 at 03:15:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You obviously have NO familarity with this (0+ / 0-)

          commenter and diarist.  

          God dam you are incompetent.

          I wouldn't let you teach me how to wipe an ass, never mind analyze history.

          Teacherken is an outstanding social studies teacher, a highly valued Kos diarist, and an education thought leader/ activist. And from the tone, tenor, and thematic quality evidenced in his many diaries, I feel confident saying that he's also a very gracious, intelligent, and nice man.  

          He's also one heck of a historian, so here's a tip.  Before you attack teacherken on a historical point, check your facts five times.  

          "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him. Mark 12:17

          by bkamr on Wed May 20, 2009 at 03:16:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  WalMart is a gateway drug for sprawl (46+ / 0-)

    There is no call for a store in that area, I can't understand the desire to spread their crap over every goddamn undeveloped plot of land.

    The Wilderness represents one of the most important yet least talked about battlegrounds in the Civil War, and must be protected from the greed mongers who will bring nothing but asphalt, crime, congestion and ugliness to the area.

    Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc

    by mydailydrunk on Sun May 03, 2009 at 05:05:23 AM PDT

    •  wanted to add (4+ / 0-)

      they take advantage of, and subvert an underpinning of Americanism:

      "If we can, we should.
      If we should, we must"

      therefore, "If we can, we must".

      As an aside, I currently live about 20 miles outside of Appomattox, VA, and would hate to think of WalMarx dropping a deuce there.

      -7.25 -8.15 Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc

      by mydailydrunk on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:38:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No WalMart aims to destroy individual (7+ / 0-)

      enterprise and promote a retail monopoly.  The WalMart strategy is similar to the Monsanto or Cargyl strategy aimed at promoting monocultures and monopolistic agriculture.  In each case, the ultimate goal isn't better goods and services; it's control of the world's peoples.

      I almost said, "population control," but that's got a common meaning whose intent isn't clear to most people--i.e. there are people who think the world's population should be less for the simple reason that fewer people are easier to rule.  Their ideal number is, I think, 2 billion.  

      Of course, that rationale is not going to be bruited about.  "Worry" about people having enough to eat seems a more charitable rationale.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:01:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Population control ≠ Control of Population (2+ / 0-)

        hello linguistics, my old friend.  I completely understand your meaning, the war on the passive voice has done much to flatten nuance and meaning.

        -7.25 -8.15 Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc

        by mydailydrunk on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:09:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Cargill not Cargyl - just for the record n/t (3+ / 0-)

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:17:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's a good thing WalMart isn't that appealing.. (0+ / 0-)

        .. in their selection of stuff. After initially exploring their wares some years ago, I find myself thinking of them only if I can't find anything I'm looking for anywhere else. The result is I almost never shop there. That was even true of little Idaho Falls, ID, where the retail culture could best be described as "no selection and no help available" when I first moved there in the late 70s. For some reason, after WalMart and other big box stores started showing up there sometime in the early 90s, things improved. Even the little mom and pops (a lot of new ones have up since that time) became much more interested in serving their customers. Maybe it was because the big boxes turned I.F. into a regional shopping hub, drawing more business into the city in general.
        I'm not claiming that WalMart is good for business in general, just that in this case it didn't seem to hurt.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:18:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The land is comparatively cheap and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      liz dexic, PaulVA

      because their stores are "super", they don't need other "anchor stores" to generate their retail traffic.  That's why they often do build in the middle of no where - because they can do it, their costs are lower and they still can be very profitable.

    •  Rehab other properties (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Santa Susanna Kid

      WalMart would attract a lot less negative sentiment if they made a policy of rehabilitating vacant properties for their new stores.  We've had this type of battle in our area.  Many suggested that our master plan should require redevelopment of existing properties before being able to bulldoze pristine land.  Personally, I think that should be a requirement everywhere.

      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

      by joanneleon on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:52:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  True enough, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby

      Much to my amazement, Walmart built a Supercenter on a "brownfield" near downtown Salt Lake City.

      I think that the land was an old freight train yard?

      They even built a parking structure so they would fit on the lot and it's a reasonable walk to a light rail station.

  •  good luck (22+ / 0-)

    to all of those who are trying to stop this development.  Fighting the Wal-Mart behemoth is a huge undertaking.  I wish them well.

  •  This is an issue (26+ / 0-)

    in BOTH states that start with "V".

    I posted on it in both.

    I hope you find my take on it interesting.

    In the battle of meaningless political terms, my assault weapon beats your partial birth abortion. - Eddie Garcia aka kestrel9000

    by kestrel9000 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 05:32:34 AM PDT

  •  Just Finished Grant's Memoirs... (28+ / 0-)

    From the section on the Wilderness:
    "At 4:15 in the afternoon Lee attacked our left....Then a part of Mott's Division and Ward's Brigade of Birney's Division gave way and retired in disorder. The enemy, under R.H. Anderson took advantage...Bot owing to the efforts of Hancock, their success was but temporary...Fighting had continued from five in the morning...The killed and many of the severely wounded, of both armies, lay within this belt where it was impossible to reach them. The woods were set on fire by the bursting shells, and the conflagration raged. The wounded who had not strength to move themselves were either suffocated or burned to death. Finally, the fire communicated with out breastworks...But the battle still raged, our men firing through the flames..."

    Hallowed ground, indeed, from a (the) key witness. The memory of the cauldron of the Wilderness is worth more than $1.99 flip-flops made in China.

  •  Yeah, enough. (15+ / 0-)

    Not everything needs to make a profit. We do not need to give every inch of this country over to huge stores selling cheap Chinese crap. I mean, why not just build a WalMart in Yellowstone? Surely, people there need a twenty dollar DVD player as much as everyone else, right?

    Dear republicans: teabagging is when the gogo-boy slaps his balls into your face. Thanks.

    by MBNYC on Sun May 03, 2009 at 05:51:52 AM PDT

  •  Excellent map of proposed location (18+ / 0-)

    located here.

    It is a somewhat periphery location, but a poor choice nevertheless.  There are plenty of other sites further down 20 or 3 that would have less impact.

    Somehow I can't untangle this issue from the phenomenal stupidity of the Republicans who love to talk about "secession."  They are both related to contempt for, and ignorance of our common history.

    "I shall never surrender or retreat." --Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis

    by badger1968 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:02:06 AM PDT

    •  thanks for map (11+ / 0-)

      I know area fairly well.  We own in place like a timeshare (although it is an undivided interest) in Louisa County, just outside Gordonsville, itself an important Civil War site.  We often have occasion to drive around Orange, through Spotsylvania, in and around Fredericksburg.  

      I first came to the general area when stationed in Quantico in 1965. In the past 4+ decades, the area has changed incredibly, with commuter trains now running from F'burg to DC, and with the entire area being consumed by sprawl.

      Hopefully we can still save some of the important places.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:10:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great link! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger1968

      And you know it's not just going to be a Walmart. It's going to be a whole complex of shops around the Walmart, too.

      There's a reason Democrats won massively the last two cycles, and it wasn't because people were desperate for "bipartisanship". --kos

      by Debby on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:47:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A perfect example of the insidious banality (9+ / 0-)

    of unfettered free markets gone awry, as if the only consideration is "development", the only significant strain of which is "economic" (of course I'm not referring to the other economic development).

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify their fraudulent invasion of Iraq.

    by Words In Action on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:10:11 AM PDT

  •  My own personal Tet batttlefield (17+ / 0-)

    During the Tet offensive of 1968, I was run out of the town of Ban Me Thuot where I'd been spending the night. I ran back to the helicopter base north of town where we were staying. We were shelled, rocketed and attacked there for two days.

    When I went back to Vietnam in 2003, I stopped by that site and right where that battle was, was a.....wait for it....a waterslide park. I was in tears, a very emotional catharsis. I knew then the war was over. The best use of a former military base I ever saw

    I don't know exactly how this relates to the topic but sometimes its just better to have a good time in the present than live in the past. That waterslide park was the best way of honoring the dead that I can think of.

    If Liberals really hated America we'd vote Republican

    by exlrrp on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:11:25 AM PDT

  •  Rec'd alone just for the history lesson. (10+ / 0-)

    Great diary.  Money is the only sacred thing left, it seems.

  •  I live in this area and was recently polled (13+ / 0-)

    by Mason/Dixon on this issue.  There were several questions around what level of support I had for this ... but the question that really struck me was something along the lines of (this is not a direct quote)

    "Do you believe in preserving these battlefields for economic reasons?"

    They didn't ask whether I believed in preserving them for HISTORICAL reasons.  I told the pollster that I believed this area had much more historical importance than economic.  They did have a question about my level of interest in the Civil War.

    I didn't think to ask who commissioned the poll.  They called Thursday night so perhaps we'll see results sometime soon?

    Great diary BTW.  This issue has really caused an uproar here in rural Orange county.

    •  as noted in comment elsewhere on thread (13+ / 0-)

      I spend a lot of time in area as we are owners at Shenandoah Crossing in Louisa Cty, just outside of Gordonsville.   We always head down 15 from outside Culpeper, which takes us through Orange, including the center of town, and if we are buying food for our stay we are likely to do so in an/around Orange, because we tend to be going through in mid-late evening, after IGA in Gordonsville would be closed.

      The countryside around there is still beautiful, and if one considers merely the amount of traffic a Wal-Mar would bring, it should raise concerns about the impact on the immediate area.

      McPherson points out that there can be economic benefits to Civil War preservation, and that the Wal-Mart could locate elsewhere nearby without the negative impact it would have in that area.  

      Anyhow, I thought the subject was worth a diary, so I sat down and started writing, hoping to provide a broader context.  

      Peace.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:40:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My great-grandfather Samuel Hoon served there (13+ / 0-)

    with the 142d PVI as a sharpshooter, and I guess this is just one more good reason for me to utterly detest Wal-Mart.  Here is some additional very interesting history on that regiment and it's battles at Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, the Wildernesss, etc.  

    Great thanks teacherken for this diary.  It certainly hits very close to home for me.

  •  Action Link: How to Oppose this Store!!! (13+ / 0-)

    I googled "Wal-Mart store at The Wilderness Battle site" and got the website of the Civil War Preservation Trust.  On the home page is a link to send a letter to the local county supervisors and also a place to donate.

  •  Economists have long considered "services" (8+ / 0-)

    to be sort of a step-child in their calculations of economic activity.  They much prefer "products" or "goods," mainly because they are easier to count, more durable, and were, traditionally, largely produced by men.
    The recurring "services" remained longer in the household, long after "productive work" moved out and continued to be performed either for minimal or no pay by women.

    However, if you look at economic activity--the exchange of goods and services--objectively, it's logical that, eventually, everyone will have as many things they may want or need (especially if they are made well and last a lifetime) and industrial profitability is certain to decline.  Not so with services.  As long as people live, their capacity to want and consume services will not decrease.  

    And temporary visits to new climes is one such.  Besides, when we consider that humans are inherently mobile and like to travel around, temporary sojourns are eminently preferable to conquering and claiming new ground.

    So, we could say that Walmart v. Wilderness is a classic case of goods versus services and it's time we recognized that services are far superior in every sense.
    Walmart really has become nothing more than a transfer site for "goods" on the way to the dump.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:42:51 AM PDT

  •  Reading this reminded me... (5+ / 0-)

    of the Disney park they wanted to build in Virginia near Civil War battlefields. I can only imagine the accuracy of a Disney-fied retelling of the nearby battles.

    But at least they would have given some sense of the historical significance of the local area. I doubt Wal-Mart would come anywhere near that level of responsibility to the community.

    According to Wikipedia, the land that Disney wanted to use is now a golf course, with some of the same destruction and traffic problems (although it can't be anywhere near what would have happened) that Disney would have brought.

  •  The Locals Need to Stop This (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Debby, unfinished60sbusiness

    active locals have stopped Wal Marts from going in to other sensitive areas.

    the local city/county council approves the construction documents which paves the way for the building permit. that's where you stop the project.
    no permit - no construction.

    maybe Terry McAullife ("I know business") will "negotiate" a successful end to this bad idea.

    The bank bailouts are a failure. Robert Reich

    by Superpole on Sun May 03, 2009 at 06:58:50 AM PDT

  •  Lived near Lexington and Concord (5+ / 0-)

    I used to live in the next town from Lexington, Woburn, where some Minutemen came from in the two battles, and much of the National Park is scattered bits and pieces of land. It is not a continuous park, so I can totally relate to what is going on near you.

    BTW, didn't Disney once try to put a bogus Civll War theme park near a historic site in Va.?

    •  had occasion to be at Concord on Patr. Day (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unfinished60sbusiness

      when the Post Band from Marine Corps Schools (Quantico) played there in 1966 - then we went to Hancock Center to play for end of Marathon.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:18:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Room for several right here... (7+ / 0-)

    Cohuttas 10/9/2006

    Several more wildernesses...not wal marts.

    This is where I go for wilderness solitude...

    Torture good, Marijuana bad.
    Doc in the Twitterverse

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:06:34 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the diary on Walmart's intent (8+ / 0-)

    to locate a super center across the road from a Civil War battlefield.  Walmart is insensitive and has NO conscience and is driven solely by the bottom line. I have grown weary of seeing them move into locations and become the local monopoly and drive all the mom 'n pop places out of business.  I avoid shopping at Walmart any time I have a choice. Rightly or wrongly, Walmart has for me become a symbol of corporate greed and exploitation of their employees.

    •  Agree completely. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Santa Susanna Kid

      We have 3 Walmarts in our town.  THREE.  And there has been a 2 year fight going on for a SuperCenter.  The proposed location was a beautiful apple orchid that was sold and cleared.  A very nice neighborhood faced the orchards.  Those people lost the battle with Walmart and now face the construction site.  Across the street from their homes will be a giant black asphalt parking lot .. no more beautiful apple trees.

      I NEVER shop at Walmart.  

      Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. -- Rachel Carson

      by Silent Spring on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:55:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Under capitalism -- (3+ / 0-)

    everything is a commodity, even Civil War land.

    In the American Civil War, as I recall, both sides were fighting for (their version of) capitalism.  Well, here it is, victory at last, WalMart.

    "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

    by Cassiodorus on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:12:45 AM PDT

  •  The Walmart issue aside, why is it that (0+ / 0-)

    we should not build on any Civil War battlefields? I can see leaving a few untouched, but there were many battles, and I don't see the point of never building anything on these sites.

    If this battlefield were developed, with houses and schools and businesses and parks, with people living their lives on it, both black and white, would that not be a fitting tribute to the men that died there?

    I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

    by doc2 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:13:49 AM PDT

    •  there are some places that should be preserved (6+ / 0-)

      because absent preservation we cannot fully grasp what happened.

      We have already lost so much of our history.  

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:20:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with that. But ALL battle sites, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        emilysdad

        even all battlefields where there is no fort or anything, it's just dirt? What is wrong with putting up a monument so others never forget, but to retake the land for the living?

        I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

        by doc2 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:25:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just a monument is not enough (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          liz dexic, mchestnutjr

          One would have a monument surrounded by houses, schools, and that small monument would not be remembered.  

          Also, suburban sprawl is deadly to wildlife and also a sense of human community.  Learning to build compact communities is essential if we are not going to overwhelm the entire landscape with human artifacts to the detriment of all other animals and plants.  That is what happens in almost all suburbs.

          •  Well, now it's just a big field. What is that (0+ / 0-)

            accomplishing? What is the root point of preserving a field?

            I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

            by doc2 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:03:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So we'd still have some fields left? (0+ / 0-)

              Aside from the historic significance, sometimes it's good to have an excuse to preserve a bit of the natural world...it's not like there's any shortage of already-built areas to build on.

              What's the point of building new developments when you've got perfectly good old ones sitting empty?

              "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

              by Alice in Florida on Sun May 03, 2009 at 10:59:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  30,000 Americans died there (0+ / 0-)

          just sayin'

          -7.25 -8.15 Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc

          by mydailydrunk on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:56:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  umm, I think your figures are high (0+ / 0-)

            the 30,000 figure would include all killed, wounded, missing and/or captured, at least according to the figures I have seen for the Battle of the Wilderness.

            do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

            by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:27:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  crap, you're right, looking at wrong notations (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              unfinished60sbusiness

              using my father in law's marked up copy of Shelby Foote

              thanks for notifying me.  The ~25,000 is inclusive of all incidents, still it was a bloody, hot, awful mess.

              -7.25 -8.15 Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc

              by mydailydrunk on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:45:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  However many died, they are dead. (0+ / 0-)

                They have no consciousness, and don't know what we do with the field. It's all about what is best for the living. And while we should never forget the lessons of the Civil War, I for one just don't see the point of making every single battle site hallowed ground. A nice, big monument IMO would do the trick just as well.

                I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

                by doc2 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:05:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  is a WM best for the living? (0+ / 0-)

                  I personally support maintaining open, green spaces, and since the area is already a park, why not leave it that way.

                  I've watched Fredericksburg turn into the godawful stripmall, boxstore hell that it is now, and once the land is developed, no amount of rehabilitation is going to bring it back.

                  -7.25 -8.15 Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc

                  by mydailydrunk on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:20:25 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I think someday we may be glad for every acre (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Alice in Florida

                  sequestered from the gawdawful sprawl of the eastern seaboard urban metroplex. For any reason whatsoever.

                  Pointing Americans toward the idea that we DO have a history is not the worst reason for saving as much land as possible from development.

                  In one of our southern West Virginia towns, the local big Civil War battle is now commemorated solely by what looks like a tombstone in the corner of the new strip mall's big parking lot. Appropriate, maybe, but also invisible.

              •  Probably include the whole campaign... (0+ / 0-)

                ...Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, on to Petersburg...

    •  One battle site does not reflect another... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, mchestnutjr

      ...from a historical and geographic perspective. Balls Bluff, VA cannot address the historical circumstances of Glorieta Pass, (Pecos) NM. The building on these sites has already taken place; what is left needs to be preserved.

    •  Why you don't build there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raines, here4tehbeer

       title=

      -7.25 -8.15 Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc

      by mydailydrunk on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:08:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  perspective (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry--there are bigger fish to fry--or to get out of the frying pan.  You can't hallow (verb?) every place.  Also, memorials of this sort should prevent a desire to start another war--hasn't happened in the South.  

    Wal-Mart is a Southern giant--maybe it could even be called the Phoenix rising from the ashes.  Economic might trumping military folly.  Works for me.  I'm a yankee living in old Dixie (coastal NC), and all around me are stars and bars.  I find that slightly less noxious than swastikas.  Too many southerners think of the Civil War as the good old days--correct that--too many white southerners.

    The Civil War was a terrible mistake--let's not over hallow its memory.  To me an integrated Wal-Mart is a symbol of improvement.

    •  most of people in area disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      copymark, Debby, truong son traveler

      they do not mind the WalMart -  they just don't want it right there.

      And sites such as this, like National Parks and other areas under park service control, do not just belong to the locals - they are also part of our national heritage.

      Certainly it is worth having a serious discussion of what needs to be preserved and why.  I am not arguing for preservation of every site of a civil war engagement.  But there are some that are key to our understanding of the nature of the conflict.  Wilderness in my mind clearly qualifies.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 07:33:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  once more (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        prfb

        Too many Southerners take pride in the fight for secession--and still think of the South as their homeland--distinct from the US.  Governor Perry is trying to tap into this--because the war didn't end satisfactorily.

        The CW is a disgrace, a blotch on our history--glorified as a fight for state's rights--or to free the slaves.  It really was an economic rift--but that's another story.  If I recall, Lincoln wanted to resettle the former slaves "where the belong"--in Africa.

        Last demented comment from me--Andrew Johnson should be considered the real hero--he tried to do the right thing--better than what Abe wanted--but southerners write the history books.  

  •  My husband and I have been voting (9+ / 0-)

    with our feet to not shop at Walmart or Sams Club for almost 10 years now.

    Their slash and burn policies for business (Come in with one price, drive their competition under then raise their prices) is harmful to our communities.  

    In addition, their treatment of employees is also harmful.  What was the final straw for my husband and I was when Walmart fired two employees for "living in sin".  That was the statement their lawyer made to the press and it took the ACLU to defend these two young people who had moved in together to save money to get married.

    Since then, their treatment of minorities and other employees has done nothing to change my mind.  So I vote with my feet and do not shop there.

  •  Fredericksburg (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PaulVA
    I've got to admit, I've never thought of Fredericksburg as "wilderness." My impression is that is a place filled with junior military officers who carpool to the Pentagon.
  •  Thank you, Teacherken, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, UTvoter

    for sending the link to walmart watch. They will be getting my support.  Walmart scares me. Not kidding. Someday we will find out that the people inside the bodies of walmart execs are Terminator types... non-human, maybe plastic.

  •  your diary reminds me of the 77 parcels (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, liz dexic

    of land surrounding our Utah national parks that the Bush administration rushed to auction off after the election. the parcels, while not ON national park land, surround it. Same concept for similar gain.

    SUWAs photo album of threatened places

    Sounds like you guys need a Tim DeChristopher for some good old fashioned civil disobedience. Good luck with the good fight

    "there's a bailout coming but it's not for me!" Neil Young

    by UTvoter on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:01:55 AM PDT

  •  .... (6+ / 0-)

    To assume the park boundary at the Wilderness encompasses every acre of significant ground is to believe that the landscape beyond the borders of Yosemite National Park instantly ceases to be majestic.

    Is a correct statement. I lived in Yosemite for 5 years and just outside the boundary is logging and too numerous to count logging roads cut into the landscape, garbage, hunting camps left in ruins. Outside the boundary it is no longer majestic because our society allowed it to happen. We gave hunting and logging permits, little money to the NFS to clean up after the folks who made the mess and a general lack of concern for anything that wasn't in the park.

    It seems Walmart has the same attitute. Our nation protected the park, what is outside it's borders is fair game for exploitation. I am sure they had a car counter and traffic information that shows a profit can be made in that very spot. Just as I am sure every right winger will tell you that if we stop them we are standing in the way of progress.

    My idea of progress and theirs are not the same.

  •  Arrogance at work... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    copymark, UTvoter

    This monster retailer has, since the old man Walden died, become arrogant beyond history or anything else someone might hold sacred beside profit.  I enjoyed re-reading the history lesson of the dreadful war.  My wife and I intend to visit the area during the fall of 2010.

    "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

    by dolfin66 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:03:07 AM PDT

    •  old man Walton - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dolfin66

      Sam Walton was very different than the management that succeeded him.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:29:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No kidding. (0+ / 0-)

        I had the opportunity to live in San Diego when Ray Kroc bought the San Diego Padres.  He pushed hard to be an active owner until he found out he didn't know shit about baseball or managing sports franchises.  He then backed out of the picture and let professionals take the Padres to the World Series.

        After he died, his wife Joan became the philanthropist for the greater San Diego community.  She has taken the McD zillions and put it into the community where it's needed the most: a youth center for the underprivileged kids and a lifetime payment to secure the existence of the San Diego Symphony orchestra.  McDs, on the other hand struggles with profit and quality product.  Kroc's burgers were better and less unhealthy than today's choices.

        "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

        by dolfin66 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:47:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This sures carries me back to 'Ol Virginia (6+ / 0-)

    I live in Arizona now but I grew up in Fredericksburg and I used to hack out RV camping lots in that resort off of Rt. 3 just West of Chancellorsville back in the 70's.

    Dealt with many a copperhead slingcutting that brush and found all sorts of Civil War artifacts under the ground such as bullets, minieballs, bayonets and buckles. It's a shame that such items weren't properly archived for posterity instead of being collected in a cigar box as souvenirs.

    That hallowed ground where so much of the Eastern Theater of the Civil War took place has been way too disturbed by cheap, sprawling development as it is.

    Thanks for putting this diary up here.

    Evil is as evil does.

    by copymark on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:05:52 AM PDT

  •  McPherson was a professor of mine (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    copymark, teacherken, johnnygunn

    and his lectures on the Civil War era were intense experiences, in the best sense of the word.

    I recently re-read his Pulitizer Prize-winning book Battle Cry of Freedom and was amazed at how much I had missed the first time through. His coverage of the tactics and strategies on the battlefield, including the Wilderness, make it well worth a second reading.

    As a kid I traveled with my family to most of the major eastern Civil War battlefields, and it's a memory of landscape that stays with me today.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:13:51 AM PDT

  •  Cake and Edith - (0+ / 0-)

    The discussion so far underscores the difficulties that abound in unrestrained development and with the wilderness concept.  

    What is happening with the WalMart siting is part of the ongoing, massive development of Northern Virginia.  Sooner or later, the bulldozers are going to come upon nearly every location that has any historical significance.

    Wilderness, on the other hand, is a flawed concept of some pristine land (modern framing) or diabolical wasteland (Biblical framing) that is distinctly apart and separate.  The problem with wilderness, as Bill Cronon wrote, is that the concept is dualistic and oppositional.  As long as there is some "wilderness" out there, then we can do whatever we want with the here and now.

    Stopping a single WalMart in a single location is not going to change this.

  •  Teacherken, you mentioned Harpers Ferry (5+ / 0-)

    You do a great service with your connection of key events in American history to present-day affairs.

    You might want to do a history piece on Harpers Ferry and John Brown's Raid - this October will be the 150th anniversary of that event. I would read it eagerly.

    (And my husband and I both have relatives down near Wilderness, so we know the area well. Wal-Mart's proposal is a real travesty - and poor land use planning, to boot!)

    •  it is on my radar (0+ / 0-)

      but it depends what else I have on my plate at the time.

      I remember taking a group of 7th graders to Harper's Ferry, which is so much more than John Brown's raid, as important as that was.  It was also the site of one of the meetings that led to the organization of the NAACP.

      We almost moved near there -  to just outside Shepherdstown - several decades back.  We had friends who lived in the area, and we found a fantastic farmhouse in a wonderful area.  At the time I worked for Arlington Govt, had permission to work 4 10-hour days, and my wife could commute to her DC job by train.  We didn't do it, but I loved the area.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 10:15:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How Far to Another Wal-Mart? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic, mchestnutjr

    Knowing the history of Wal-Mart there is probably an existing store within easy driving distance of this proposed location.  This is what drives me nuts about Wal-Marts is that there is no earthly reason for so there to be so many of them.  Just recently in this area they opened a new SuperCenter and as they often do, closed down an older
    non-SuperCenter store not five miles away.  So not only was new unspoiled land ripped up to build this monstrosity, but another huge building complete with asphalt parking lot is left to rot.  Once again we've lost more acreage to concrete and asphalt that we'll never get back.

    I did a paper in college about the Wilderness battles.  The thing that struck me (that I remember it so long after I wrote such an insignificant paper) was that they were so close together that soldiers in the second campaign were tripping over the unburied remains of soldiers who fell in the first battle.  At least at that time the area was all but impassable due to the thicket of underlying brush.  While not what any of would call desireable recreation area it is historic, it is in essence a burial ground of our Civil War dead.  

  •  REgarding your first sentence (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux

    Perhaps reading that title you wonder why the Bentonville AR retailer would want to place a megastore in the middle of nowhere.  They don't.  

    Unfortunately, they do.

    I live in the middle of nowhere. A few years ago we fought Wal-Mart moving into our town. We proved in court they had failed to obtain a legal building permit and zoning approvals. The judge still allowed the store to open.

    The store is 20 miles from one wilderness area and 25 from another. The population of our county is around 70,000, and there's another Wal-Mart 40 miles south where most of the population lives.

    Fortunately Wal-Mart located at the edge of town where a lot of people have no reason to go, especially the tourists and summer residents whose numbers exceed our permanent population. The store is one of the two or three worst-performing Wal-Marts in the state and despite being a SuperStore, is no longer open 24 hours a day because it's uneconomical.

    Local businesses have probably lost some sales, but after several years, nobody's gone under. It appears Wal-Mart knows a lot more about bullying and corrupting local government than it knows about marketing.

    Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho

    by badger on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:40:18 AM PDT

    •  applies to this one location (0+ / 0-)

      which is NOT in the middle of nowhere.  Thus my title of vs. the Wilderness is not about a remote location, but the name of the famous battle.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 10:16:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Past as prologue... (0+ / 0-)

    "Someone who does not see a pane of glass does not know that he does not see it." --Simone Weil

    by AgnesBee on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:43:02 AM PDT

  •  I was in St Petersburg (once Leningrad) (2+ / 0-)

    this past September, and visited one of the most moving memorials to the Great Patriotic War I've ever had the privilege to see and hear. It is largely underground, a bit hard to access (no parking that I could see), and at the confluence of two major thoroughfares. It was the music that was so haunting: vocals by (I think) soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, a melody so heartbreaking as to bring tears to my eyes even now as I think of it.

    The Siege of Leningrad lasted 900 days, during which an estimated TWO MILLION people died (primarily of starvation). The front line was so close that Russian soldiers could ride the city tram to the battlefield. The Nazis ended up burning virtually every piece of wood in the palaces of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great in a desperate effort to survive the harsh Russian winters. (These two palaces have since been largely restored at a cost of hundreds of millions of rubles; they are splendid, even though the damage photos made me cry with rage and unutterable sadness at the sheer waste of war.)

    I have been to Gettysburg, and like so many schoolchildren of my generation, committed Lincoln's address to memory. It seems to me that we as a nation have so little understanding of what it means to hallow something: we are so unwilling to allow suffering and death to be discussed, to be part of the mainstream conversation of our society, that we deliberately ignore the land-grabs and the money-based decision-making — until and unless someone or some entity overreaches. Wal-Mart has clearly overreached... otherwise the bulldozers would have already made the cuts and the foundation would be already poured.

    Thanks for this, teacherken. May those so eager to forget and to allow the almighty dollar preeminence over what should remain (or return to being) hallowed be stopped in their profiteering tracks.

    Book excerpts: nonlynnear; other writings: mofembot.

    by mofembot on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:49:46 AM PDT

    •  I should add re St Petersburg (0+ / 0-)

      that there are plaques and memorials all over the city. One can hardly see an unscarred façade from buildings extant at the time, and for those public buildings (churches, museums, etc.) which have been more or less completely restored, there are always, always photos of how badly damaged they were. There is no one who is native to the city whose family did not suffer terrible losses.

      Perhaps we are too many generations removed, and far too mobile, to retain that kind of memory for long.

      Book excerpts: nonlynnear; other writings: mofembot.

      by mofembot on Sun May 03, 2009 at 10:08:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  about Vishnevskaya in a different context (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mofembot

      Benjamin Britten wrote his War Requiem, one of the great works of the 20th Century, for the dedication of the new Coventry Cathedral in England.  The original was destroyed by German bombs that Churchill new were coming, but he could not evacuate the city because it would have tipped the Germans that their codes had been broken.

      The work uses the war poems of Wilfred Owen from the Great War.  And as a healing, the original performance included Englishman Peter Pears (Britten's long-time companion(, German Dietrich Fischer-Diskau, and Russian Galina Vishnevskaya.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun May 03, 2009 at 10:19:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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