Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Civil War Memory Fail

Less encouraging than the Times articles I mentioned in the last post is the Southern attempt to remember secession as something other than committing treason to defend slavery. As Bob McDonnell found out recently, public figures today can't completely ignore the fact rich plantation owners caused the death of over 500,000 Americans in order to keep more than 3 million black people in slavery. But on the local level in many southern communities away from the spotlight, large numbers of powerful white people in the present aren't going to mind celebrating their "heritage" while conveniently forgetting why their ancestors fought the war in the first place.

Jeff Antley, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Confederate Heritage Trust, is organizing the secession ball in Charleston and a 10-day re-enactment of the Confederate encampment at Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the war were fired on April 12, 1861. He said these events were not about modern politics but were meant to honor those South Carolinians who signed the state’s ordinance of secession on Dec. 20, 1860, when it became the first state to dissolve its union with the United States.

“We’re celebrating that those 170 people risked their lives and fortunes to stand for what they believed in, which is self-government,” Mr. Antley said. “Many people in the South still believe that is a just and honorable cause. Do I believe they were right in what they did? Absolutely,” he said, noting that he spoke for himself and not any organization. “There’s no shame or regret over the action those men took.” 

Just celebrating what their ancestors believe in--the right of self-government so they could continue to rape, murder, and exploit black people. Shockingly, the Sons of the Confederate Veterans have very close ties to the Tea Parties!