What You Must Learn from White Supremacists

The Soldiers’ National Monument is at the center of “two semi-circular sections”[5] with 18 Union states’ areas, 1 U.S. Regulars area, and 3 areas for graves of the unknown. (from here)
When I debate a Democrat Liberal about the riot in Charlottesville, VA the only thing that most of them want to talk about is how we must emphatically and unequivocally condemn the white supremacists and how awfully racist those Confederate Monuments are.  It puzzles me that anyone who wants peace would project such a vast of amount of judgemental hostility.

What You Must Learn from White Supremacists by John Branyan explains the problem, why adopting their methods won’t win them to our side.

Those freaking Nazis!

Those hood wearing, cross burning, hate spewing Nazis.

You can learn a lot from them.

“HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?”

“THOSE PEOPLE ARE RACIST SCUM!”

I know.

But they are SINCERE racist scum.

And you have something in common with the Nazis.

Sincere allegiance to your beliefs.

“BUT RACISM IS WRONG!”

“RACISM IS EVIL!”

I agree…

…sincerely.

(continued here)

Is there a reasonable solution/compromise for the “problem” with the Confederate Monuments that does not involve loudly and hostilely proclaiming the supposed treason of the South, refighting a bloody war that is supposed to be over? I think so. King Solomon, Pondering a Civil War Statue Solution by scatterwisdom suggests a simple suggestion that both honors the dead and reminds us all of the terrible price that we pay when we abuse each other. suggests that we place a plaque on every Civil War Statue (both Union and Confederate) for every onlooker to ponder. What are the words he suggests we put on the plaque?

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

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.

Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address

Lincoln spoke those words over the dead, over men buried in the battlefield in which they had fought. Where both the boys in blue and the boys in gray had died.

Lest we forget, almost every Civil War monument is a memorial to the dead, to those who died in the war and to those who carried the memories of its horrors until the day they died.

Not sure about the idea? Check out King Solomon, Pondering a Civil War Statue Solution by scatterwisdom. makes a good case. After all, if we still want to honor the dead, if we still want a government of the people, by the people, for the people, we still have work to do.

 

24 thoughts on “What You Must Learn from White Supremacists

  1. You know, Tom… I must have read 8 different analysis and interpretations across the net, from the National Park Service, Town of Gettysburg website, a couple ivy league colleges and universities.. and not one has given any interpretation to Lincoln’s words in his famous address as being inclusive of the Confederate dead in that battle. Lincoln came to town that day specifically to dedicate the Soldier’s Cemetery for the Union dead. Maybe we should chalk this up as yet another of the many bastardizations of Civil War history that has suddenly reared its head amidst all the recent turmoil.

    1. The Charlottesville event was nothing about Confederate monuments. That was readily apparent when the first swastika flag showed up carried by a nazi.

    2. I keep saying this till I’m blue in the face… the intent was to remove monuments and recognition to the Confederacy from public taxpayer owned locations and not destroyed but re-located… and this was done according to civic government voice of the people… or elected officials.

    3. The vast majority of the publically placed monuments were put in place during a period well after the Civil War and during a time of Jim Crow laws to encourage racial segregation and discrimination; the placing of the monuments on public property meant to be a visual intimidation by whites being in charge… while honoring a figure who defended a way of life that included slavery. How many statues to George Washington are in the South?

    4. To my knowledge no one is objecting to honor Southern war dead in cemeteries… which is appropriate.

    5. And get ready to re-name those Army installations named for Southern Generals.. like Bragg, Hood, etc.

    All this has nothing to do with neo-nazis or white supremacist agendas.

    I agree with General Lee back in 1869.. forget the monuments and move on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @Doug

      Oh my! Now the Democrat Liberals are going to be digging up and casting down the memorials to Abraham Lincoln because Ole Abe was not inclusive. Perhaps I can save Lincoln from being erased from history by the politically correct.

      Those who are interested in the background may find these links of interest
      => https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/national_cemeteries/pennsylvania/gettysburg_national_cemetery.html.
      => https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettysburg_National_Cemetery

      Please observe the following.
      1. Lincoln stated “we” are engaged in a great civil war to determine whether the nation would endure. The war was still in progress.
      2. The people who had come dedicate that portion of the battlefield he referred to in the Gettysburg Address were on the union side. The cemetery Lincoln helped to dedicate was for the Union dead. Nevertheless, the remains of thousands of men, blue and gray, surrounded the seventeen acres of that 17 acres of that official cemetery. According to Wikipedia, “The cemetery contains 3,512 interments from the Civil War, including the graves of 979 unknowns.” So Lincoln spoke over the dead. Which side? I don’t read minds, particularly of those long dead. But, yes, that field he dedicated was for those who “gave their lives that that nation might live.” So I don’t doubt he dedicated that field to Union dead, even though some of the unknowns might have fought for the rebels.
      3. The question is “who consecrated the ground.” Lincoln said: “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” Those men who struggled there wore both blue and gray.
      4. Those who wore gray gave their loyalty to their respective states. Those who wore blue fought to preserve the union. Regardless of who had won, bodies dressed in blue and gray would have littered that battlefield. The deaths of all those who died would have been the price the victor paid. Honoring the dead, all the dead of the nation, requires the victor to finish the work he started, the work for which he required the vanquished die. And so this line is for us today.

      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.

      You want to refight the Civil War. To prove what? Trump is wrong. What stupidity!

      Read the history books. Braver men than you or I, both blue and gray, fought the Civil War. Let them rest in peace. Our work is to honor the resolve of the victor that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. What has going out of our way to shame the vanquished got to do with that? And don’t tell me that that is not what you are trying to do because no matter what your stated purpose shaming the vanquished is the effective result.

      There is no point in messing with the monuments, neither the blue’s or the gray’s. Anyone with half a brain knows that when we see a statue of General Lee, it is a monument to a guy who fought bravely, but lost. Hundred of thousands died to make it so, and that is what needs to be remembered. That is why the Gettysburg’s Address is so appropriate. It reminds us of what victors sought. Vengeance? No. Lincoln sought to honor the dead so “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.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your line…. “And so this line is for us today.” followed by the stanza from the speech. Look.. this is the biggest problem.. trying to assign a speech written and given at a dedication of a cemetery for Union fallen, when there is NO one living today who has any idea what it was like living in that moment. Far too many contemporaries are trying to assign past writings and events as if they have some inside perspective on what Lincoln really meant or how people felt in those times. This has nothing to do with re-fighting the Civil War.. is has to do with historical accuracy and NOT self-serving contemporary interpretation so those in defeat can have a warm fuzzy that it was somehow ok for them to take up arms against the government.
        So.. General Lee and the others would not have been famous persons if they had not fought to preserve the Southern way of life; they became famous because they defended the traitorous act of secession and rebellion. Ok,, so they fought bravely and honorably for their cause……. which was illegal, and given the slavery issue, was also immoral.

        The South has their cemeteries and battlefields to honor their dead. Put all the leader monuments up on private land. No problem. But sticking a statue of a leader in that lost cause at the county courthouse simply because of some Jim Crow need to assert white control over blacks to intimidate their voting at the turn of the last century.. is not in the American spirit of freedom for all.

        Trump?? This has NOTHING to do with Trump. He’s irrelevant.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @Doug

          Always the laugh line: “Trump?? This has NOTHING to do with Trump. He’s irrelevant.” Not true. Racism is a charge Democrat Liberals use to attack every Republican.

          Look at your own example! You start off saying I have no good way of interpreting Lincoln’s speech simply because he is dead. Then you turn right around and tell us how to interpret the reason why 1500 different Confederate Monuments were built and why who knows how many different streets, schools, military facilities and whatnot were named after Confederate war heroes. It seems to me you think you’re omniscient, and I am not even close. Well, I do have to admit I am not omniscient, but I think scatterwisdom’s idea for putting a plague with the Gettysburg Address next to every Civil War Monument makes far more sense than what a bunch of racist baiting Democrats want to do with them.

          Frankly, since the Confederate Monuments are the works of Democrats, I am almost inclined to agree that the monuments ought to come down.I think that the Democratic Party was racist and is still stuck on race. However, the people those statues honor were generals, not race baiting politicians. I also do not trust our leaders, particularly the Democrats, to put the statues in parks and tell future generations what to think about them. If the Democrats did such an awful thing when they built them, what on earth makes you think they can be trusted to fix the problem they created?

          Nuts!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Doug,

    You may be interested in this account for the reason the white supremacist were granted a permit to demonstrate in Chancellorsville , Va.

    As for the Gettysburg Address, do you believe that Abraham Lincoln, who asked that the song Dixie be played after the war ended, would object to his address being mounted on any Civil War hero statue?

    Yes my opinion is conjecture based on his words,

    “the task before us,”

    is apparently is still with us, in my opinion.

    Does anyone really believe that removing the statues is going to solve “the task before us?

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh.. no question.. there is very much a “task still before us.” Will removing the monuments from their public places matter when all the dust has settled? It should matter to every American… but people will have their opinions. Our contemporary interpretation of the Civil War has blurred much of it into some honorable cause with a measure of glorious pomp and circumstance, and the romance of an anti-bellum South. Sorry, it wasn’t that.

      BTW, Lincoln’s fave song of that era was Dixie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @Doug

        Our contemporary interpretation of the Civil War has blurred much of it into some honorable cause with a measure of glorious pomp and circumstance, and the romance of an anti-bellum South. Sorry, it wasn’t that.

        Reality and what we think is the truth about reality always differ. “Gone With The Wind” was a fantasy, a fiction mixed with truth. So is the notion that the Southerners who rebelled were treasonous, racist monsters.

        At the time of the Civil War, the North and the South had a large cultural split driven by distance and by slavery. When the cotton gin made slavery profitable in the South, trouble was almost inevitable. When something suits our personal interests, we will go to great lengths to justify ourselves. It is a rare man who totally listens his conscience. It is an even rarer man who has a totally reliable conscience.

        Some years back I wrote this post => https://citizentom.com/2010/01/03/a-gap-too-wide-and-too-deep-to-bridge/. As bloggers go, you are as close to a bridgemaker as I have seen here of late. Just wish you were not so obsessed with Trump. Because we cannot know each others heart, soul, and minds well enough, we are not fit to judge each other. We can only judge each others words and deeds. Thus, the man is not the issue. What matters is what he stands for and what he says and does.

        Whereas the men of the South fought out of loyalty to their respective states, the men of the North chose to preserve the Union. We honor both because both groups of men fought nobly and with valor. Do we honor one of the causes the South fought for, slavery? No, but it is well to remember that under the same circumstances few of us would have done any different than those men did.

        There but for the grace of God, go I. — John Bradford (1510–1555) (from http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/there-but-for-the-grace-of-god.html)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I read your post of 2010 from your link and it brought up an interesting point about the people of that day being far removed from our day and age… which has been my point t all along. Few people today understand that racism back then was very prevalent even amongst anti-slavery abolitionists. Even Lincoln was racist by our contemporary definitions. Part of the abolitionist movement was the back-to-Africa concept that originated from early 1800’s, which ultimately spawned the African nation, Liberia. The compassion toward enslaved blacks back then was that whites considered blacks a very inferior race; with very limited mental faculties to exist on their own, lacking a developed ability to learn, and certainly not able to acquire the white’s definition of social graces or moral convictions. It was this back-to-Africa movement that used as a basis the idea that all black people had a desire to be back in Africa, hence the movement to try and get them there. Let’s forget the fact that blacks, by time of the Civil War, had been generations separated from their original African ancestors and would not last long in Africa as a result of the cultural differences alone.

          Lincoln himself believed this. Yes.. he was instrumental in freeing the slaves out of some human compassion but he thought them as inferior and that whites had a responsibility to act charitable toward their needs to return. To assume that Lincoln or any abolitionist of the day was not a racist is completely incorrect. In our current day we tend to assign racism onto whites who are overtly determined in some real or passive way to subjugate blacks in society… and of course the all-to-common physical attacks by white police using racial profiling to justify their personal racism. Back in Lincoln’s day there was little science to suggest anything but that blacks were inferior.. so concerned whites acted out of some idea of Christian charity rather than the “all men are created equal” concept. Slavery was justified because blacks were considered inferior and needed to be led around and supervised for their own good… as well as being a work commodity.. beasts-of-burden.

          This is why I have a real problem with contemporary blacks universally applying current definitions of forms of racism to that comparatively ignorant Civil War generation who did not have the science or a matured and developed philosophical outlook toward inferior races like blacks, Asians (China), and Mexicans. You might go so far as to say, the Civil War was about slavery, but not one bit about racism. Did owning slaves mean you were racist? Did freeing slave mean you were not racist? Our modern day views are not taking that into consideration.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. @Doug

          Thanks for taking the time to read that post and making such a thoughtful comment about it.

          We are each a product of our genes, experience, environment, and spirit. We each, if we are wise, spend our lives trying to understand our human limitations and surmounting them.

          It does no good to pretend we don’t have human limitations. Yet if we have not tried to excel in spite of ourselves, we have not lived.

          What was the error of the slave owners? They looked at the blacks and saw inferior men. That was a logical decision, perhaps, but to make certain the blacks remained inferior, they kept them docile by beating them when they were disobedient and ignorant by keeping them uneducated. So one wonders what they really believed. I don’t know. For all I know whites are inferior, but my job is to follow Jesus, not to worry about things I cannot change.

          How did the slave owners justify themselves? The Book of Judges makes frightful reading. No novel of horror surpasses it for sheer savagery. Here is the theme of the work.

          Judges 21:25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

          I believe the king in this verse refers to God. Instead of doing what was right in God’s eyes, the people of Israel did what was right in their own eyes. They ignored these verses.

          Leviticus 19:17-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          17 ‘You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.

          During the time of the Book of Judges, the people of Israel showed little love for each other. Like us, each man’s pride and fears dominated him. So they were often quite willing to treat each other with brutal ferocity.

          Had the slave owners of the old South truly loved their black neighbors, they would not have kept them as slaves. Yet were the people of the North any better? God only knows. The North fought to preserve the Union, not end slavery. Slavery precipitated the war, but the Union fought for the sake of the Union, not the slaves.

          What about our black neighbors today? Do we treat each other better than those who lived before the Civil War? No. At least the people of the old South tried to justify their actions before God. We just use arguments that seem reasonable to abuse each other and excuse our behavior with the appearance of caring.

          Consider. When Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, he led a nation composed of former slaves. These were the sons and daughters of people who had been beaten for generations, taught that any display of courage would quickly result in death. So it is that Moses led a people from which he could not form a decent army. Of what use is a soldier who is afraid to fight?

          How did God resolve this problem? He condemned the Hebrews to dwell in the wilderness for 40 years. In doing so, He protected them from themselves.

          Does that mean that during the Civil War black soldiers fought poorly? No, but the fact is that blacks did not join the fight for their civil rights in large numbers until the 1960’s. The Jim Crow laws, whether they were designed to do or not, kept blacks afraid. Hence, blacks remained docile in the South for decades after the end of slavery.

          So what should have happened after the blacks were freed? Well, it did happen. Some people set up charities, including schools, and they tried to help the blacks of that day. Unfortunately, others took their vengeance on the North by using the power and force of government to punish the blacks.

          So what should we have learned after all these years? Blacks included? Love is a personal act. Love is what God expects of us. Government has it place, but it provides no substitute for loving one’s neighbor, a personal choice. At best, government just provides the power and the force required to subjugate our neighbors, to make our more ornery neighbors behave when they would violently misbehave. At worse, government provides the means for one faction to enslave another faction.

          The Framers wrote the Constitution to prevent one faction from enslaving another faction. Because the men of the South insisted upon doing what was right in their own eyes, the Constitution failed to provided the means for a peaceful resolution. Today we have a similar problem. Instead of accepting the fact that love is a personal choice, we have too many people who insist that they have the right to inflict their own personal values and choices upon everyone else. Therefore, instead of a constitutional republic with a limited government, we risk a majoritarian tyranny, and our government is bloated and wasteful. If we follow this path to its logical conclusion, we will soon be suffering under the rule of a blood thirsty tyranny. Look at Venezuela. That could be our future.

          We are not God. We have neither His power nor His wisdom. Still, all He requires from us is that we love each other, that we give from our own hearts to each other. Such love is what is needed to make a constitutional republic work.

          Like

  3. Great discussion. Very nuanced and thoughtful. It is a discussion that, as Doug says so eloquently, needs to be had by local communities and state governments about every such statue and monument on public property.

    On the other hand, the Neonazis, the KKK and other white supremicists who showed up in support of these statues were not so nuanced and they have no such equivocations about the American history, heritage and culture of white supremacy that they were seeking to protect and promote. Another group of people showed up to oppose that evil and one of them was killed in a terrorist act of violence.

    The finer points about statue history and what a community chooses to honor in their highest public spaces is just a smoke screen and as long as good, decent people are divided over historical nuance instead of just outright condemning their evil, the white supremacists are thrilled. Once the white supremacists asserted themselves into the discussion of the statues, good people on both sides of the more nuanced argument had a moral duty to stop the civil discussion and unquestionably oppose and disown this evil.

    As Tom will no doubt attest, I love nuance and equivocation, but the moral question is this case is pretty simple.

    Like

    1. Glad you enjoy the discussion.

      I wish the moral issues involved were simple, but they are not. Consider the background of the statues. The Democratic Party made it possible to put up the Confederate Monuments. The Democratic Party also wants to relocate them and tell us what to think about them. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is just as race obsessed as it ever was. They will not — they cannot — do this properly.

      As Doug observed (here => https://citizentom.com/2017/08/20/what-you-must-learn-from-white-supremacists/#comment-75551), the moral issues associated with slavery were complicated. Since we live such a short time, we have trouble understanding the perspective of people centuries past, even the folks who lived in this country several hundred years ago. What is worst is our public schools do an atrocious job of teaching history. So many people condemn our forebears as idiots for not believing what we believe.

      So where does it stop? If we can condemn Confederate Generals for fighting for their respective states — even those who did not support slavery — will we condemn the Founding Fathers who had slaves. And if slave holders wrote the Constitution, what good is it?

      Most of history the elites have owned slaves or found some excuse for keeping people in servitude of some sort. Is it only at this moment that mankind became good? Is it only when we elect Democrats that our president is good?

      In four more years, assuming we elect a Democrat, will we roll the clock forward and declare that upon January 20, 2017 the United States has finally become a nation we can be proud of.

      It is a sad thing, but during the last eight years our president has been apologizing for this country (=> http://www.heritage.org/europe/report/barack-obamas-top-10-apologies-how-the-president-has-humiliated-superpower) to nations with authoritarian regimes, to whom we have done almost nothing. Why did Obama do that? I don’t know. I can guess, but I don’t know the man. All I know is that he started with a commitment to transform a nation he apparently does not love (=> https://citizentom.com/2013/04/10/in-god-we-trust/), and the same people who supported Obama are fighting every effort to keep what is left of our founding principles tooth and nail. I cannot imagine how they will react if we try to restore them.

      History did not start yesterday. Neither do we have the right to judge the people of the past as if we were God Himself. The best we can do is judge others as we would be judged.

      Precious few of the Confederate Monuments glorify slavery. What they do is honor the bravery of men who fought and lost. And almost everyone is happy they lost. Thus, those monuments serve as a reminder to choose our causes carefully, and except to the Democrats (for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who knows their history), it doesn’t make much sense to tear down the Confederate Monuments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps you did not read what I wrote. I agree that history is complex, subtle and nuanced. I have enjoyed how you and Doug have exposed that complexity and nuance. I happen to agree more with Doug, but I can see how good people can have differing interpretations of the history and the moral contexts with regard to each individual monument, depending upon when, why, by whom and to whom these monuments were erected. I also agree that there are a number of ways to deal with the issue, including putting up something like the plaque that you recommend above.

        However, the white supremacists who showed up and staged a march in Virginia were not offering subtlety. They specifically said that they were protesting in favor of white supremacy and that they were protecting the historic white supremacy that they felt that these monuments enshrine. They believe in white supremacy, full stop, not just in the ambiguous context of 100 or 200 or 60 year old intentions when the history of these monuments took place, but today and tomorrow and forever.

        There is no moral equivocation in response to the evil that these white supremacists would promote, and it is the responsibility of moral people, especially Christians, to counter this evil whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head, and no matter whatever political party, president or issue they are pretending to support at the time.

        We can argue history and nuance about individual monuments until we are blue in the face (and we already have), or you can change the subject to one of your favorite bugaboos, like the insidious non-happening here of creeping socialist totalitarianism (it’s your blog so you’ll do with it what you like best, but I’m personally bored with that absurd argument). However, the moral issue that sparked this tragedy is pretty clear and unambiguous, and that is why each of the Military Joint Chiefs, most prominent Republicans and Democrats, the business community, and indeed the leaders of the free world (save one) were so quick and clear and unambiguous in their condemnation. To vacilate and equivocate in the face of such obvious moral evil is to grant it the succor of legitimacy and to help fan its flames of hatred and division.

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        1. @Tony

          So some big wigs announced the don’t like white supremacists. Gosh! How unusual is that?

          The vast majority of the Confederate Monuments have little or nothing to do with white supremacy. Here is an example of why the Southerns fought.
          => http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/17/confederate-memorial-to-anti-slavery-virginian-joh/

          John S. Mosby did not even believe in slavery. He did, however, put his loyalty to Virginia before his loyalty to the Union. In 1861, that made lots of sense. Today? Not so much, but the Civil War changed that.

          Here is something very basic.

          Matthew 7:6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

          Even though Democrats raised them up, the Democrats chose decent people to memorialize with Confederate Monuments. So giving the KKK and other despicable swine and dogs any influence over what we do with the monuments just plain outrageous. Their opinions do not matter. In addition to the fact they are insane with hate, the number of these people doesn’t amount to hill of beans.

          None of the people violently demonstrated in Charlottlesville, VA had anything to do with raising the monuments. Neither those who are for or those who are against. If we insist upon using the scum among the demonstrators as an excuse for either keeping the monuments or tearing them down, then the decision we render will be as wicked as their protests.

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        1. @Doug

          That is an excellent find! Thank you.

          It took time, but before they died many of the Civil War veterans began meeting together and sharing memories.

          They forgave each other. It is not for us to judge. It is just arrogant for us to even try.

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        2. That segment of video was from an early History Channel episode many years ago about the Civil War. I have an old VHS I made from that original broadcast. The reason I taped it was exactly for this 50 year anniversary at Gettysburg. I never knew it existed before then. Amazing mostly from the standpoint that this was the very early days of movies, and sound.
          This tends to support my observation that whatever we think of today regarding all the crap passed down from the Civil War… you had to live the moment like these guys did to understand it at all on their terms, based on their collective concepts of morality of the day, social mores, and like I suggested, whatever current science of the day (accurate or not) was accepted as fact.

          But what you don’t see in this film (that I could make out) were blacks. While these two former “enemies” were acknowledging their respective survival on the same battlefield all their comrades died on, you don’t see former slaves slapping each other on the back for surviving. Now, of course that wasn’t a place for that kind of “celebration”… but it was the reason those guys were all there.

          They forgave each other. But that’s as far as it went. That’s all that was needed on that day… for them. But they still went to bed racist by today’s standards.

          I’ve been to the 125th re-enactment there.. and it was amazing.

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        3. Was there a racist component even to the reunions?
          http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/civil-war-veterans-come-alive-in-audio-and-video-recordings-97841665/

          It is kind of funny how determined we can be to judge. The video in the article is about a reenactment of the Rebel Yell. But this is how the text of the article ends.

          Sadly, in the eyes of the press, not all Civil War veterans were equal. No black volunteers served with the Confederacy, while African Americans contributed some 160,000 volunteers to the Union war effort. Yet they are almost never even acknowledged, much less seen or heard in the library’s films and recordings. Ironically, however, the most surprising film of African American “veterans,” a few minutes of silent footage made at a Confederate reunion in 1930, shows a dozen elderly black men wearing fragments of gray uniforms, flourishing miniature battle flags and wearing lapel buttons representing Robert E. Lee. Enslaved body servants, or perhaps laborers who had been pressed into service by Confederate armies, they were presumably served up to newsmen as “proof” that slaves were so loyal and happy in their servitude that they fought to retain it.

          After Reconstruction, the role of African-American soldiers was largely airbrushed out of the war’s narrative in the name of national reconciliation. William Smallwood’s brief martial appearance against that brick wall in Boston thus stands as a powerful if all too fleeting reminder of both the sacrifice of the black volunteers who fought for the Union, and of the nation’s promises to them, so many of which would remain unfulfilled generations after the Civil War had ended.

          Isn’t there a point where dwelling on the negative is just morbid? Are the people at the Smithsonian so politically correct they won’t allow themselves to laugh?

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  4. “So some big wigs announced the don’t like white supremacists. Gosh! How unusual is that?”

    Not at all. What is unusual is when our leadership does not have such an unequivocal response. What is unusual is that these folks felt the need to fill the vacuum of moral leadership left by our president.

    “None of the people violently demonstrated in Charlottlesville, VA had anything to do with raising the monuments. Neither those who are for or those who are against. If we insist upon using the scum among the demonstrators as an excuse for either keeping the monuments or tearing them down, then the decision we render will be as wicked as their protests.”

    I agree that it would be wrong to ignore ALL the intentions, some of which are undoubtedly more noble than others, in the raising of these monuments. However, to completely divorce the white supremacy that was slavery and Jim Crow from the motivations behind the Civil War and the monuments to that war, is to distort history far more. These monuments were erected for a number of reasons, and at varying times. Most of the some 700 plus confederate monuments were erected during times long after the war and during times of incredible racial strife. Some have been erected to a great Confederate tactician, who also was the terrorist founder of the KKK, Nathon Bedford Forest. Shouldn’t all of this be taken into account?

    Ignoring the foundational issues of white supremacy that surrounded the Civil War and these monuments celebrating the rebels in that war is indeed to “white wash” history. Despite the ambiguity of the intentions of folks long dead, one fact simply cannot be denied: absent the white supremacy issue of slavery and that lead to Jim Crow, the Civil War never would have happened and these monuments would never have been erected in the first place.

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