vcczar

A Better Presidential Response

62 posts in this topic

3 hours ago, Wiw said:

I've had enough of this. Just ban the Alt-Right movement. They're nothing but trouble!

You can't do that in the U.S as it has very strong free speech protections unlike many European countries which censor offensive speech.

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15 hours ago, admin_270 said:

@President Garrett Walker

"I ask you this: what good reasons are there to keep them up?"

I'm not a Southerner, and don't pretend to understand their culture well. If you want reasons to keep them up, however, in addition to their historical value, my guess is that the *removal* of these statues is offensive to many people, whose ancestors fought in the Civil War on the side of the South. In particular, people like Lee and Stonewall Jackson, in addition to their military virtues of bravery, loyalty, and so on, probably stand for fighting against a tyrannical Federal government, and perhaps against perceived abuses like the scorched earth policies of Sherman. Contra VCCzar, I also think the Confederacy's heritage is part of the U.S.'s heritage, and has been so since the U.S. conquered them.

I'm a Southerner, so maybe I can answer this (I should also add that I used to do Civil War reenacting with the 9th TX Infantry, and grew up with Civil War figurines, including one of RE Lee). Most Southerners don't really care if the statues or up or if they are not. The Neo-Confederates are very few. The descendants of RE Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis have been reported to be in favor of the statues relocation. I'd wager nearly every African-American in the South would like them to be removed. I'd wager most Democrats in the South would want them relocated, if they have an opinion on the issue. I'd wage most Republicans have no opinion on the issue, but probably want them to stay, more out of stubborness than out of any sense of Confederate pride. Many white Southerners see the whole Confederate/slavery episode in our history as embarrassing, even to people who had ancestors that served for the South. In total, I don't think as many White Southerners would be offended with their relocation to museums, cemeteries and battlefields, etc as are African-Americans, and sympathetic white Southerners (Democrat or Republican) are currently that they still exist in public parks and at Court Houses. The relocation of them doesn't hide the Confederate Heritage from local or national existence, it only places them where they are more appropriate, and less offensive. Regarding Sherman, I think his statues could be removed in the South if they are offensive to people (If any exist in the South). Maybe I'm misreading this, but you seem to be more concerned with the feelings of those whose ancestors fought to keep humans enslaved than the descendants of those that were enslaved, beaten, bought, sold, etc., and who were later often lynched, and were disenfranchised and segregated by a vengeful South. In the battle of offense, I don't think it is anywhere close to an equal contest. So keeping them to not offend White Southerners who had ancestors in the war isn't really a sound argument. I think also considering that RE Lee didn't want Confederate Monuments, and that his ancestors, and the ancestors of other leading Confederates, approve of the relocation of the statues gives excellent support for their relocation. 

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@vcczar

Thanks for this response, which is substantive and valuable.

No, I'm not more concerned with descendants of people who fought for the South than with descendants of people who were enslaved in the South. I'm simply pointing out there are many relevant parties, not just descendants of former slaves, who are affected by these decisions.

I don't think the proper way to understand the actions of Lee and many people who fought in the Civil War on the side of the South is simply through the lens of 'they were fighting for slavery'. If that's how you see it, as I suggested before, then the monuments to Lee, et al., are barbaric, glorify slavery, and should be removed. Yet, I've never thought of monuments to Lee in that way (as an outsider, I saw it primarily as a paean to a great General, who fought a losing cause, and to those who bravely fought with him, as well as simply to mark historical events, but again, I don't pretend to understand the culture well).

In the minds of people in the South, my guess is many thought they were fighting against Federal tyranny, for local government, kith and kin, and so on, or perhaps simply because they were conscripted. Remember, they were being invaded by a belligerent North. Having said that, many probably thought the future actions of the U.S. Federal government re slavery would cause more harm than good, and some viewed it as an existential threat. Many didn't own slaves themselves (only about 1/3 of soldiers belonged to families that did). Many resented those who were exempt from conscription because of it (the Twenty Slave Law). Most probably thought blacks were inferior (a view shared by Lincoln), and that holding black slaves was a natural right (a view most expressly not shared by Lincoln or the Republican party). It was probably a complex situation.

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30 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

@vcczar

Thanks for this response, which is substantive and valuable.

No, I'm not more concerned with descendants of people who fought for the South than with descendants of people who were enslaved in the South. I'm simply pointing out there are many relevant parties, not just descendants of former slaves, who are affected by these decisions.

I don't think the proper way to understand the actions of Lee and many people who fought in the Civil War on the side of the South is simply through the lens of 'they were fighting for slavery'. If that's how you see it, as I suggested before, then the monuments to Lee, et al., are barbaric, glorify slavery, and should be removed. Yet, I've never thought of monuments to Lee in that way (as an outsider, I saw it primarily as a paean to a great General, who fought a losing cause, and to those who bravely fought with him, as well as simply to mark historical events, but again, I don't pretend to understand the culture well).

In the minds of people in the South, my guess is many thought they were fighting against Federal tyranny, for local government, kith and kin, and so on, or perhaps simply because they were conscripted. Remember, they were being invaded by a belligerent North. Having said that, many probably thought the future actions of the U.S. Federal government re slavery would cause more harm than good, and some viewed it as an existential threat. Many didn't own slaves themselves (only about 1/3 of soldiers belonged to families that did). Many resented those who were exempt from conscription because of it (the Twenty Slave Law). Most probably thought blacks were inferior (a view shared by Lincoln), and that holding black slaves was a natural right (a view most expressly not shared by Lincoln or the Republican party). It was probably a complex situation.

The "Federal tyranny" was mainly vocalized by the Southern elites, who did own massive plantations with slaves, and participated in the interstate Slave Trade. The rank and file of the soldiers were very different. As you mention, most of them were poor whites, owning no slaves, some couldn't even vote (popular vote was limited in the South, and non-existent in South Carolina). 

As far as statues go, I view them generally as both symbolizing a defeated government that seceded to defend the institution of slavery (there were other issues, but none would have sparked this war, if slavery wasn't a part of it), and as traitors that attacked the United States. This isn't too different, although arguably less extreme, from a town choosing to build a statue to a home grown terrorists that attacked federal troops and federal property, and then placing it on federal property in a town where that terrorist came from, and where his descendants and families descendants still live. 

My own personal view on statues is this. I think a statue on a battlefield or a cemetery can imply the individuals unique merits--skill in battle, willingness to reconcile with the Union, otherwise honorable disposition. I think the state on Federal Property or Public City Square or park, makes it a much more political issue, and ties it to the politics in which that general was reluctantly or full-heartedly supporting. 

I see no reason for a statue for Jefferson Davis or Alexander Stephens, unless the statues are of Davis as Sen or Sec of War, and in Mississippi, or if the state is of Stephens as Rep before the War, or Sen or Gov after the War and in Georgia. For RE Lee, I think it would be appropriate to have a statue of him as a civilian at Washington & Lee University, and a statue of Lee as a symbol of reconciliation, in civilian clothes, throughout the South. Although, Lee did not believe in Confederate Monuments, so it would be better to honor him by visiting a museum or reading about him. Other than what he fought for, I actually like Robert E. Lee as a historical figure. A statue of him a soldier before the Civil War would be great, and I do think he would approve of that. NB Forrest, the first leader of the KKK, probably should not have any statues, but as a great cavalry commander, a statue on battlefields might be allowable. I believe in certain allowances, but they have to make sense, and be inoffensive. I think most descendants of Confederates will be okay with relocation. It might be a nice gesture to allow the locals to vote on what will replace the statue (whether another less offensive statue, tree, or something else). 

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The Jefferson Davis presidential library (in Biloxi, MS) is sufficient to honor him, IMO.

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On ‎2017‎-‎08‎-‎18 at 7:39 AM, NYrepublican said:

You can't do that in the U.S as it has very strong free speech protections unlike many European countries which censor offensive speech.

You mean like they "couldn't" ban Communism in the '50's, and free speech laws "protected" people who believed in and espoused Communist ideology in that time? :S

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10 hours ago, Patine said:

You mean like they "couldn't" ban Communism in the '50's, and free speech laws "protected" people who believed in and espoused Communist ideology in that time? :S

While they were stigmatized they weren't outright banned.

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2 hours ago, NYrepublican said:

While they were stigmatized they weren't outright banned.

The laws of the time overtly violated the Constitutional protections you speak of, regardless. Do you think it couldn't happen again, under the right circumstances?

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Just now, Patine said:

The laws of the time overtly violated the Constitutional protections you speak of, regardless. Do you think it couldn't happen again, under the right circumstances?

Thankfully, Today's circumstances don't fit into those specific circumstances to allow that.  

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Just now, NYrepublican said:

Thankfully, Today's circumstances don't fit into those specific circumstances to allow that.  

There was a poll in 2003 or 2005, I think, that showed at that time a frightening number (I don't know about an absolute majority, but a large percentage) were in favour of "legally banning Islam in the U.S.," also a blatantly unconstitutional action. Don't think we're as far from such fear-driven, zeitgeist-motivated, knee-jerk reactions as the distant '50's might say...

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1 minute ago, NYrepublican said:

Trump is an individual, he is not a demographic. This "measure" is not the same thing as persecuting whole religions or ideologies wholesale through discriminatory legislation. Frankly, I've dealt with people with verifiable mental illness through my job, and such people should NOT be in positions of power or great responsibility.

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