Letter: Confederate monuments remind us of our history

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The removal of Confederate monuments in Asheville and Western North Carolina is close to anti-free speech and the beginning of controlling what we think and believe.

I have traveled the world and seen good and evil. The most moving experiences I have witnessed are the opposites: good vs. evil.

The “good” was my visit to the Normandy American Cemetery. There, we pay tribute to men who gave their lives so that we remain free. Certainly, I can’t imagine removing those Normandy monuments; I admit, there probably are some who would want them removed.

The second, the pure embodiment of “evil,” I visited Nazi death camps. The Germans after World War II didn’t remove them. They kept most of them intact, ovens, gas rooms and all, to remind us of that evil, to remind us never replicate ever again that evil.

In the same vein, Confederate monuments are our history, like it or not. Their existence represents a teachable moment to future generations of the evil of slavery. However, these statues are not really all about slavery, they are about the history of our nation. President Lincoln said, “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” And so, why do we not want to keep them to remind us about the growing pains of our country, to remind us of the sacrifices made by our ancestors on both sides to make this country and to use those statues and monuments to teach future generations?

We need to do the “right” thing, not the politically expedient.

— Francis Strazzella


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43 thoughts on “Letter: Confederate monuments remind us of our history

  1. Jon King

    Somehow, there aren’t any statues of Hitler, but we still know who he is.

  2. luther blissett

    The confederate statues under question are not a same as a cemetery or a death camp. (Nobody wants to dig up confederate graves.) They squat in civic spaces. It’s that simple. When the UDC placed confederate monuments in front of a courthouse or city hall they were telling the residents who was in charge.

    Germany removed swastikas from civic spaces and demolished many nazi-era civic buildings to make clear that the nazis were no longer in charge and to prevent those spaces from becoming objects of veneration. In contrast, American neo-nazis gathered in Charlottesville to defend a confederate statue. They took their own lessons from its presence.

  3. Jason Williams

    Yeah, but the Polish government doesn’t keep Auschwitz standing to be a symbol of the heroic Nazis who were fighting for a lost cause.
    Those monuments erected in the ’50’s by the Daughters of the Confederacy are intended to honor American traitors, who fought for the right to keep human beings enslaved, as heroes.
    Remove them.

    • C-Law

      So this debate has been ongoing for at least 11-12 years here on MtnX. No new ground is ever covered from either side, but I seek truth wherever it can be found, and it often doesn’t fit neatly into a bumper sticker slogan or internet meme. Nevertheless I’ll submit some facts and context.

      • Confederate soldiers did not fight for slavery and racism.
      • Secession was legally not considered “treason” at the time war.
      • Confederate military history IS U.S. military history
      —“Presentism” should not be “used” to analyze historical events – History is context and “contexualization” is essential to proper understanding of history.

      Confederate soldiers did not fight for slavery, a trivially substantiated myth. Confederate soldiers fought over the issue of secession. The reason the Union went to war was failure to accept disunion —– secession. This is why the U.S. Army was called the “UNION”, not the “Abolition” Army.

      Nationally renown Civil War historian, Dr. James M. McPherson’s book “For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought In the Civil War” clearly establishes that Confederate soldiers did not fight for slavery. After examining 574 manuscript collections and nearly 30,000 letters, diaries, and journals in twenty-two archival repositories, McPherson states that Confederates believed they were fighting for LIBERTY.

      Statues, monuments and memorials to Confederate soldiers have absolutely no relation to sanctioned racism. They solely honor military service of military members, including those of color. They were built during “Jim Crow” just as the Union monuments were because that is when the money was available after a devastating war and further economically destructive (to all Southerners-Black or White) Reconstruction that took decades to recover from. Confederate veterans include Hispanic, Black, White, and multiracial heroes. Little publicized but Confederate veterans also include women, children, and elderly warriors.

      Confederates were not “traitors”, a “treason” myth. The Confederate soldier fought to defend his homeland and family – few directly owned slaves and most came from non-slave-owning families. Although there were calls to try Confederate leaders for being “traitors” immediately after the war, none were ever tried. None were ever convicted. General Grant was opposed to trying Confederates for treason for several reasons, the foremost being that it would cause further hard feelings and hinder healing from the war. Chief Justice Salmon Chase of the Supreme Court warned President Lincoln not to try Confederates for “treason”. He reasoned that should a trial be held, the distinct possibility that secession might be found to be legal, thus validating the South’s departure from the Union, might occur.

      Today this is purely an opinion, not an adjudicated “fact”. Secession was widely considered to be legal until 1865 and even the New England states, assuming it was legal, had threatened secession under the pre- 1865 Constitution during the War of 1812. “Traitors” are those who betray their country. However, the Southern Confederacy was a separate country. It declared itself a separate country with a separate government, military, treasury, currency and other means of governing. Officers who left the US Army to join the Confederacy RESIGNED their commissions, thus breaking the legal and moral bind they had held. Treason is the same accusation the British made against the colonists at the time of the Revolution and it was determined to be invalid.

      Additionally, under current U.S. Federal Code, Confederate Veterans are equivalent to Union Veterans.
      • U.S. Code Title 38 – Veterans’ Benefits, Part II – General Benefits, Chapter 15 – Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability or Death or for Service, Subchapter I – General, § 1501. Definitions:
      • (3) The term “Civil War veteran” includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term “active military or naval service” includes active service in those forces.

      History is context…

      Presentism is an uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts. Most people today unfortunately interpret historical events according to “presentism”, which unfortunately means that they cannot truly appreciate events that occurred outside of their living memory. We must view the Confederate soldier through the lens in which he viewed himself and the events around him – in his own time and as he understood them without the luxury of 21st Century hindsight. History must be contextualized.

      What I hear Jason Williams saying on here, and every Vance thread he can find is something along the lines of the following, albeit much less eloquently:

      Jason’s position—Our country is reeling from a racial divide. Why should we continue to maintain statues, monuments, and other memorials that honor people who committed treason and fought to keep African-Americans in bondage?

      Jason — Your question is based on a premise that Confederate soldiers did either. I would offer you a few things:
      One, not a single Confederate soldier or officer, or politician was ever tried for treason in a court of law – not one! Hell, not even CSA President Jefferson Davis! The Confederacy was its own independent country and its chief war aim was to secure its independence, much the like the original 13 Colonies in their Secession from the British Empire. It never attempted to overthrow or subvert the U.S. Government and whatever loyalty Confederate officers had to the U.S. Constitution before the war was null and void when they resigned their U.S. Army commissions.

      Two, the Confederate soldier did not fight to maintain the institution of slavery and this is irrefutable. We know this based on extant letters and diaries of soldiers from both sides. What the Confederate soldier fought for was defense of home from what they considered an invading force, and rightly so.

      • bsummers

        the Confederate soldier did not fight to maintain the institution of slavery

        Well then, he was a sucker. Because the men who sent him out to die definitely did it to maintain the institution of slavery.

        • C-Law

          Hey Barry, been following your comments over the last decade or so…finally figured out what you have—

          CONFEDERAPHOBIA—an irrational and pathological hatred and fear of all things Confederate—flags, monuments, graves, portraits, trinkets, stickers, etc.—anything that could be associated, even tenuously, with the late Confederate States of America, including the region from which it sprang and those people and groups of people who are native or sympathetic to this region.

          Regardless of the shape it assumes Confederaphobia has the characteristic of dehumanizing self-identified Southerners and seeks to deny them their humanity, their dignity, and their right to exist.

          The Confederaphobe is intolerant, hateful, self-righteous, and smug. He hates all those he deems hateful and does not tolerate those who he accuses of intolerance—with the exception, of course, of himself. The jaundiced eye through which he views the world in general, but the South in particular, is not only shallow and uncharitable, but infected by ideological prejudice which he accepts absolutely and without qualification.

          His world view is just as rigid and inflexible—indeed, dogmatic—as any religion which he is in the habit of condemning. He cannot and will not tolerate any deviation from his creed. Heresies, and the heretics who hold them, are sought out and made objects of derision; symbol and relics that do not conform to his world view are marked for destruction. He is a zealot in the very worst sense of the word.

          He secretly revels in his moral and intellectual superiority and views himself as an enlightened and progressive being—thanking his would-be god (were he not an atheist) that he is not like the sinners he persecutes.

          Hating those he claims hate, intolerant of those he claims to be intolerant, and imposing his world view through all available means at his disposal, he is the express image and likeness of the people he says he opposes. It is no wonder, therefore, that he comes unglued when he encounters anything which brings these suppressed characteristics to the surface. Removing “trigger” objects keeps his inner demons at bay.

          This, however, is just a short-term fix.

          If it were possible to eliminate all things Confederate from his view, he would simply turn his attention elsewhere. There is always another impediment to “progress”—towards what he wants to progress, he cannot say—something else that needs to be rooted out and destroyed in the name of the “ism” or “ology” du jour.

          Confederaphobes could, if they choose to, learn to live in a world with self-identified Southerners and the traditional symbols, imagery, songs, etc., that they love. They could even learn to be friends with them. This cannot happen, however, if he fails to see that the problem is in his perception and not the persons or objects of offense that torment him.

          • bsummers

            Anyway, being called an anti-social coward by someone who’s afraid to use their real name in the public square is a hoot!

      • Jason Williams

        Confederate soldiers fought over the issue of secession.
        And the South succeeded because they wanted to own human beings as property.

        McPherson states that Confederates believed they were fighting for LIBERTY.
        The Confederate States of America fought for the liberty to own another human being.

        Alexander Stephens, the Confederacy’s vice president, said the following in his famous Cornerstone speech in March 1861: But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other-though last, not least: the new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions-African slavery as it exists among us-the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.
        The whole speech can be found here: https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/1861stephens.asp
        Put that on a bumper sticker.

        Maybe I don’t say it very eloquently , but any argument that says the CSA fought for something other than to keep African slaves in bondage is nothing but spin, and I will view it as such.

        • C-Law

          Jason, you called Confederate veterans “traitors.” I trivially refuted your claim, being rebuked, you change the subject…this is all tedious, as I mentioned above in at least 12 years of this debate on MtnX not a single mind has been changed and won’t be. Your mind is obviously closed on the subject, and in respect for my honorable ancestors I will not allow your slurs to go unchallenged. We would appear to be at an impasse, yet Deo Vindice.

          You want to quote Alexander Stephens’ “Cornerstone Speech” as some kind of fatal indictment of the CSA. Your “presentism” blinds you. Was Stephens’ notions of racial superiority unique only to him, or the CSA only!? Racial and ethnic superiority was unique only to the CSA in the entire world of the mid to late 19th century? Surely you not trying to go there are you Jason? You want to indict the entirety of humanity of the 19th century!? Ha! Good luck with that. Again, Jason, context is the only key to unlocking real understanding of history.

          In any event, you want to toss Alexander Stephens quotes around? Fine, here’s one for you…respond back with what you conclude given the historical context if you are capable. I eagerly await your reply.

          His words often used in bad faith arguments from haters of the South for his “Cornerstone Speech” that portrays blacks as inferior, former Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens gave a postbellum speech to the all-white Georgia general assembly in February 1866. It reveals benevolence toward blacks, including an appreciation for the slaves who, remained loyal to their families and countrymen during the war.

          “Wise and humane provisions should be made for [ex-slaves] . . . so that they may stand equal before the law, in the possession and enjoyment of all rights of person, liberty and property. Many considerations claim this at your hands. Among these may be stated their fidelity in times past. They cultivated your fields, ministered to your personal wants and comforts, nursed and reared your children; and even in the hour of danger and peril they were, in the main, true to you and yours. To them we owe a debt of gratitude, as well as kindness.

          I speak of them as we know them to be, having no longer the protection of a master or legal guardian; they now need all the protection which the shield of law can give. But above all, this protection should be secured because it is right and just . . .”

          While the above excerpt does not imply that Stephens was free of racist attitudes by Jason’s modern “presentist” standard, it must be considered as part of the historical context necessary to understand Alexander Stephens.

          The past can only be understood and learned from in proper historical context. Unless, of course, your goal is to deface, destroy, erase, and rewrite history…

          PS—hope y’uns have a wonderful July 4th celebrating Colonial Secession!! Huzzah!!

          • Jason Williams

            I apologize. I shouldn’t have called Confederate soldiers traitors. I should have called them turncoats.

      • SpareChange

        While I appreciate C-Law’s elevated tone and effort to engage the issue in a constructive manner, no amount of rhetorical dressing up of things can alter the clear, documented historical record. If one wants to understand the role slavery played in the secession of the Confederate States, what better source can there be than the so-called “articles of secession” which articulated their reasons for choosing to leave the Union?

        Not all of the Confederate States drafted and approved such documents, but those that did expressed directly, repeatedly and clearly that the “cause” behind their actions was the preservation of slavery.

        Georgia’s declaration spoke of little else but slavery. Texas was also singularly preoccupied with the cause of keeping human beings enslaved. South Carolina begins its case in a more nuanced fashion, but inevitably concludes with a full blown admission that it all really came down to slavery. And Mississippi stated it most succinctly when it declared:

        “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”

        Like the Declaration of Independence, these articles were intended to lay out the reasons and justifications for rebellion or secession. So, like the Declaration itself declared, “… let Facts be submitted to a candid world.” The Civil War was about maintaining the institution of slavery.


        • C-Law

          Hi Spare Change. Appreciate your civil tone as well. Worthwhile read that addresses many of the issues you raise. I’m much more an avid reader than writer, and Clyde Wilson will be a good essay for you to check out. While I don’t expect you to change your conclusions, you will gain greater perspective without the vitriol, hatefulness and disdain common to message boards.

          Clyde Wilson—Why The War Was Not About Slavery


          • Lou

            I wish you could use your obvious intelligence and articulate English skills for a positive movement. Your old, tired excuses are sad…and useless. Change is happening, look around. It’s about time too.

      • luther blissett

        Plenty of German soldiers thought they were fighting the good fight.

        The Lost Cause myth was created to defend Jim Crow. This included festooning civic spaces with confederate objects of veneration. e\For all the talk of presentism, C-Law doesn’t want us to pay attention to the lens through which the UDC and its supporters viewed themselves. Thomas Calder’s “Asheville Archives” pieces are useful at telling us.

        The aftermath of a war requires some kind of generosity to the losers: the alternative would be mass expulsion or mass slaughter. But the people who fought a terrorist campaign against Reconstruction, and then the lost causers, wanted more than generosity. They wanted white supremacy. They wanted history to romanticize and venerate their side. They wanted their generals’ names on US military bases, no matter how incompetent they were.

        Was it bad that the confederacy failed in its attempt to establish a separate state whose constitution explicitly preserved slavery? The people who put up those statues thought so. They wanted to preserve as much of it as possible. C-Law is never clear on this.

      • Peter Robbins

        Some tips for “C-Law” in his trolling search for truth:

        If you want to know whether secession was lawful you might want to ask the Supreme Court that found it was illegal. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._White.

        If you want to know whether Confederates committed treason, you might want to ask the president who pardoned them for treason. See https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/25/this-day-in-politics-dec-25-1868-1074077.

        If you want to know whether slavery had anything to do with secession, you might want to ask the Confederate leaders who identified preservation of slavery as the reason for secession. See https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/secession-the-confederate-flag-and-slavery.

        If you want to know whether historian James McPherson thinks slavery was the cause of the Civil War, you might want to ask James McPherson. (Go ahead, it’s worth the effort. He’s not only a great scholar, but he appears to have the psychological number of the “Lost Cause” enthusiasts, as well.) See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGQeEKeBkZ8

        If you want to know whether white supremacy had anything to do with the construction of Confederate statues and monuments, you might want to ask the people who spoke at their dedications. See https://thereconstructionera.com/confederate-monument-dedications-in-nc-often-were-explicitly-racist/.

        And, finally, if you want to hear new ideas about an old issue, you might want to listen to some new voices – ones that other people can hear too. See https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/06/historian-puts-the-push-to-remove-confederate-statues-in-context/ and https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/october-2017/what-should-we-do-with-confederate-monuments.

        • SpareChange

          Thank you for the research and sources. C-Law suggests that over the course of the past 11-12 years, no new ground has been covered and no minds have been changed. I must disagree with that point, and information such as that provided here does help move the discourse along, and does ultimately aid in changing minds.

          There’s no question that those who post with strong positions, and especially those who have found sources to bolster those positions, are less likely to change their minds. But to C-Law’s important and repeated point about context being important, it is significant to note that in recent years there has been a tremendous movement in many, many people’s positions on these issues, at both mass and elite levels. The context IS different now than it was 11-12 years ago, and the decisions being made based on that ever evolving context are also clearly different.

        • C-Law

          Peter Robbins—interesting links, however I am not ready to accept your assumptions at this time. I’ve got a well written excerpt and a link for you to check out as well. Enjoy!

          “Saying that the South was fighting only to defend the evils of slavery is a deceitful back-handed way to suggest that, therefore the North was fighting to rid America of the evils of slavery. Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, secession did not necessarily require war against the South. That was a choice. Slavery had existed for over two hundred years and there was no Northern majority in favour of emancipation. Emancipation was not the result of a moral crusade against evil but a byproduct of a ruthless war of invasion and conquest. Not one single act of Lincoln and the North in the war was motivated by moral considerations in regard to slavery.

          Even if slavery was a reason for secession, it does not explain why the North made a war of invasion and conquest on a people who only wanted to be let alone to live as they had always lived. The question of why the North made war is not even asked by our current historians. They assume without examination that the North is always right and the South is always evil. They do not look at the abundant Northern evidence that might shed light on the matter.

          When we speak about the causes of war should we not pay some attention to the motives of the attacker and not blame everything on the people who were attacked and conquered? To say that the war was “caused” by the South’s defense of slavery is logically comparable to the assertion that World War II was caused by Poland resisting attack by Germany. People who think this way harbor an unacknowledged assumption: Southerners are not fellow citizens deserving of tolerance but bad people and deserve to be conquered. The South and its people are the property of the North to do with as they wish. Therefore no other justification is needed. That Leninist attitude is very much still alive judging by the abuse I receive in print and by e-mail. The abuse never discusses evidence, only denounces what is called “Neo-Confederate” and “Lost Cause” mythology. These are both political terms of abuse that have no real meaning and are designed to silence your enemy unheard. Advocates of the war was “caused by slavery” say that the question has been settled and that any disagreement is from evil and misguided Neo-Confederates deceived by a “Lost Cause” myth. In fact, no great historical question can ever be closed off by a slogan as long as we are free to think. This is not historical debate. It is the propaganda trick of labeling something you do not like in order to control and suppress it. Such are those who want the war to be all about slavery—hateful, disdainful, ignorant, and unwilling to engage in honest discussion.

          But if you insist on a short answer solution as to what caused the war I will venture one. The cause of the greatest bloodletting in American history was Yankee greed and hatred. This is infinitely documented before, during, and after the war.”

          Read the rest of his essay:
          Why The War Was Not About Slavery


          Happy Colonial Secession Day July 4th!!

          “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows.”—George Orwell 1984

          • Peter Robbins

            The United States did not enter the Civil War to abolish slavery. Its initial objective was only to suppress an armed rebellion after the insurrectionists began firing on federal forts. Emancipation as a war aim came later.

            But this isn’t about facts, is it? Rest assured, my nameless friend, I have no desire to stop you from articulating your quirky interpretation of American history. If you really believe that Confederate monuments honor a defensive war against greedy Northern invaders, and that’s the only reason to preserve them, then by all means take the mic and speak in a clear voice so the people in the back can hear. I’m afraid some of us still have trouble recognizing the incipient goosesteps in the cadence of the Gettysburg Address. There is so much the Lost Cause enthusiasts can teach us, if only unintentionally.

      • Dopamina

        *sigh* Really? You trot out the coveted “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy which has been thoroughly debunked as revisionist history.

        Tell me, if the South’s traitorous secession wasn’t about the federal government banning slavery, why did the Confederate Constitution ban the prohibition of slavery?

        I’m embarrassed for people like you, overlooking such simple logic. If the war was truly fought over states rights, it seems the Confederacy enshrined that same kind of federal overreach (feds telling states what to do) directly into their Constitution!

        Disclaimer: I had ancestors that fought on the losing side and died in a Union interment camp :(

        • C-Law

          Dopamina—I’m not embarrassed by you, but I would push back against some of your assertions in your comments.

          Southern symbols mean to the Southerner exactly what they say that they do.

          This does not mean that there cannot be alternative points of view, but rather that these explanations do not, cannot speak for those people for whom Southern identity is a living reality.

          Those outside the fold are free to think and believe whatever they like but let us not pretend that their interpretation can be imposed upon the culture from which these symbols spring and the people they represent. Their views may be interesting, and in some cases informative, but they are not authoritative.

          They are our symbols and let us not forget that.

          It is natural, normal, and healthy to embrace who and what you are. This is true for all people, including Southerners. Unless taught otherwise, the Southerner has no reason to think her genteel and easy-going ways are offensive; that she and her forebearers are “racist,” or that her cultural heritage is an affront to common decency.

          It would certainly never occur to her that she should purposefully abandon her own cultural peculiarities for those of another.

          Many people seem to believe that one can just “move on” from being Southern; that if these rednecks were just “properly” educated and taught the error of their ways, they could become real Americans.

          To be Southern is not a choice, although the rejection of one’s natural cultural and biological condition is.

          The rejection of one’s Southern identity—whether by suppression or repression—often occurs after long-term exposure to Confederaphobic ideas and ideological constructs brought in from the outside.

          Although much of this occurs through various forms of media—to include television, news, and entertainment—the real psychological damage is done in the classroom.

          Confederaphobia is carefully inserted through mandatory attendance of public or government-licenced private K-12 schools before its full fury is thrust upon students in the so-called institutions of higher learning. Many young Southern boys and girls can make it through the former mostly unscathed, but very few make it through the latter intact.

          Many a Southerner has become a Confederaphobe and actively persecutes those who openly express what she inwardly represses. This kind of reconstructed Southerner will typically chronicle her Southern bone fides before apologising for slavery, calling her ancestors traitors, and throwing her kith and kin under the proverbial bus. She “knows,” and will tell anyone who will listen, that the South is evil, the Confederacy was racist, and that she has now seen the light even though she never owned a slave, picked up a gun to fight an invading army, or knew anyone who did!

          Such a person does violence not only to her people, but to her own soul. They are the worst sort of Confederaphobes because they are what they claim to hate.

          We cannot help who we are, nor should we.

          If these Southern tendencies ever begin to re-surface, the self-loathing Southerner is forced to either “come out” or consciously live a lie.

          You can suppress your Southern tendencies, but you can never be a Californian, Bostonian, New Yorker, or (God forbid!) an milquetoast American—you can only be a Southerner in denial; a Southerner fighting against her nature; a social experiment; a victim of Stockholm syndrome … you can try to cover it up, tamp it down, burn it, bury it, have it exorcised, or, if all else fails, give yourself over with reckless abandonment to the American educational establishment, but sooner or later it will resurface. Not because it is Southern, but because it is true.

          Being a self-identified Southerner, Dopamina, is not the problem. Being who and what you are is not the problem. The Confederate Battle Flag is not the problem. Southern people, places, or things currently being targeted and demonized are not the problem.

          You, dear Dopamina, are not the problem.

          The problem is one thing and one thing only: CONFEDERAPHOBIA!

          Confederaphobes create divisiveness and discontent.

          Confederaphobes persecute and harass.

          Confederaphobes are the ones imposing their views.

          Confederaphobes are the ones who hate.

          Confederaphobes are the ones who fear that which they do not understand.

          Extract Confederaphobia from the social equation and Confederate displays cease to be “controversial” or “divisive” and people can go on with their lives!

          Unlike the Confederaphobe, self-identified Southerners have no interest in cultural genocide.

          We are content to let the Confederaphobes live their lives as they see fit.

          We just don’t want to be a part of it.

          • luther blissett

            What a pile of long-winded Lost Cause waffle. Knowing that poisons will harm you doesn’t make you a toxiphobe, and the legacy of the confederacy has poisoned the South.

            The flag totemists love the South the way a child loves mommy or daddy, interspersed with temper tantrums; others love the South the way an adult loves their parents, flaws and all, the duality of the Southern thing.


          • luther blissett

            Amazing how C-Law’s Lost Cause bunkum about “self-identified Southerners” manages to exclude Black folks. Pretty sure they’re a big part of what makes the South the South. Pretty sure the Chinese communities of the Mississippi Delta are included too. The South is a whole lot of things.

            So when C-Law witters on about “Southern tendencies” and “Southern identity” what’s really meant is that white Southerners who don’t hump the dixieflag are race traitors, just as white Southern activists for Civil Rights were called race traitors.

            For further context, the nonsense about “genteel and easy-going ways” stems from secessionists concocting the myth that they were part of a distinct “Southron race” descended from Norman cavaliers and thus had a special claim to chivalry.


            People tell themselves all kinds of stories to justify the unjustifiable.

      • Lou

        Wow C-Law, way to spin things…you should def go to work for the current regime. You said “The reason the Union went to war was failure to accept disunion —– secession.” What was the REASON they wanted secession? So they could keep their slaves! Why? Because their back-breaking, free labor was thought necessary to maintain agriculture in the South, whereas the North was caught up in the industrial revolution. So now, as then, southerners scream about “their history” and “their traditions”. Guess what people? Change happens, it’s the ONLY sure thing about life. Get with the program and accept the change that is inevitable, for the good of ALL people, not just WHITE people.
        Oh and C-Law? Most of us don’t like to hear you talk as much as YOU seem to. Ever heard the word “brevity”?

  4. Diane Puckett

    The statues were erected to honor people who enslaved other people, tore families apart, beat and raped those they felt entitled to own, and sometimes outright killed them. They must have mentally inhabited Gone With The Wind while the reality for those they enslaved was very different. Black people are still suffering the economic and social devastation of their race.

    It is disgraceful that these monuments to such horrendous behaviors still exist where people going about their daily lives have to see them. I cannot even imagine what I would feel if those things had been done to my ancestors and I constantly had those statues in front of me.

    A statue in the middle of a city indicates what the citizens support and believe in. Take them down. I am pretty sure the artists of Asheville can create something to replace them.

  5. bsummers

    Confederate monuments are our history

    Very well said! Jamming Confederacy-worshipping monuments into town squares is something that happened long after the Civil War was over. That period of mourning for the “Lost Cause” is over. Now, we can choose to honor genuinally honorable events or persons. Ain’t history great!

    “History is the sum total of things which could have been avoided.”
    Konrad Adenauer

  6. luther blissett

    Once again: we don’t keep some segregated bathrooms and water fountains to teach people that bathrooms and water fountains used to be segregated.

  7. James

    Your attempts to compare the monuments in France honoring those who died in Normandy to the confederate monuments is a complete failure. In fact, I find the idea of this comparison revolting. Surely you are not implying that those who fought in the confederate army somehow were fighting for “freedom”? It is hard to imagine a more ludicrous comparison. The definition of “monument” should be enough to make this clear: “a statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a famous or notable person or event.” Just what do these structures commemorate if not the days of glory when wealth was created from the backs of tortured slaves? You cannot call them “monuments” and then say they help us remember what was wrong. Surprising, your letter never actually mentions that the Confederacy was “evil” though you have no qualms about calling Nazi Germany that. So who is being politically expedient?

    Let me be clear: I have ancestors who fought for the confederate side. Yet as much as you may try, there is no way to rationalize or legitimize any monument “honoring” their glorious serve to the perpetuation of slavery — which is EXACTLY what the war was over. It should be offensive to anyone who knows that slavery is, as you say, “evil.”

    Also, as someone who lived and worked in Germany for a few years and who had many German friends, I learned a great deal about how Germans view their WWII history. Concentration camps were left as a reminder to everyone of what was done. Let me also say, since you did not, that it is actually illegal to have any monument, statue, or other creation of Adolf Hitler. It is ILLEGAL to display the swastika anywhere in Germany. NO ONE in Germany would say that law infringes on their right for free speech. Most intrinsically realize just how offensive such a thing would be. Yet, we Americans haven’t reached the same conclusion about what happened in the 1860’s. Let me suggest that actually sit down and talk to several Germans to get their perspective before applying it. If you did, you would understand there are considerable differences in what you suggest are the same.

    We do not need monuments honoring those who fought AGAINST the USA to remind ourselves of what we went through. History books and schools can do that. Leaving monuments honoring those who fought for slavery is nothing more than an eye sore.

    • FRan

      History books approved by Democrats and leftist teachers make sure students don’t hear the truth. You are naive and delusional.

      • NFB

        “You are naive and delusional.”

        And to think, some people say that irony is dead.

        Perhaps you might actually refute what James said rather just dismissing it with the usual boggy man of “Democrats and leftist teachers.”

        What “truth” do they hide from students, and what has James said that is “naive and delusional?”

  8. NFB

    Western North Carolina was by no means unanimous in its support for the Confederacy. In many parts of the region there was strong Unionist sentiment. Many of my ancestors in the region were staunch Unionists. Where are the Unionist monuments in WNC to remind us of our history?

    • luther blissett

      Good question. There’s one in Etowah dedicated in 1985 commemorating the Union soldiers of Henderson and Transylvania Counties, and a small stone in Hendersonville outside the county courthouse that was dedicated in 2008 alongside other war memorials over a century after the confederate obelisk. Pretty sure that’s it.

      In fact, Mitchell County and Yancey County, which certainly had divided sentiments, got standalone confederate memorials slapped up outside the courthouse only ten years ago.

      • NFB

        Mitchell (and Avery) were considerably less divided than Yancey as they were strongholds of Unionist sentiment which has been a big factor in their having remained Republican strongholds ever since. Along with Madison (which eventually realigned with Democrats around 1960) Wilkes, Yadkin, and Davie, they are among only six NC counties to have never voted for FDR. Avery, Mitchell, Yadkin, and Davie are the only 4 counties in NC to have never voted for Jim Hunt

        So I am a little curious as to who put up the Confederate memorial in Mitchell and wonder how many people there know that they had ancestors who fought in the Civil War and assume it was for the Confederacy rather than the Union simply because they live in the south.

        Is the Etowah memorial on public land? I had always heard that the only memorial/monument for the Union currently below the Mason Dixon line is in Lewis County, KY (Vanceburg) another southern Appalachian that held strong pro-Union sentiment.

  9. personage

    Don’t worry, the Americans also took down their friend’s statue Saddam after they illegally invaded Iraq. Maybe we should put up a statue of George Bush in place of the Vance monument but have it be like a fountain with him spraying children from a gas handle. They can play there in the summer. Fun for the white tourists.

  10. Jai Kish

    What a vile, racist hill to die on, Francis. Do you see statues of Hitler flexing his guns at the entrance to Dachau? Are Jews in Berlin today living on Goebbels Avenue? You couldn’t be further away from the right side of history if you tried.

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