It is heart warming to see so many folks decide to lend a hand to the
Republican Confederate Party as they celebrate Confederate History Month.
I think this whole CHM thing is turning out differently than intended and that is a sign of hope.
Just a few days ago the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity chapter at the College of William and Mary took action to remind Governor McDonnell that not all Virginians share his festive mood about treason and slavery. And now Bob the Reb wants to have a meeting. It is mighty white of him.
So I ran a hypothesis test to determine if states left the Union to join the Confederacy over slavery, or whether that was more of a side issue. I located the declarations of secession for four different states that were available: South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas.
The word “slave” appears 82 times in these four state declarations. The states even refer to themselves as “Slave-Holding States.” I always thought that was a Northern term. On the other hand, the words “State’s rights,” “states’ rights” or “states rights” do not appear in any of these four secession declarations. The word “rights” appears 14 times and “right” appears 32 times, but many of these references involve “the right to own slaves.”
As a bonus he looked at the economic arguments and found that it was about slavery:
Was it about economics? Cotton and rice don’t appear. Plantation is noted once, but it refers to a place in Rhode Island. Tariffs are never discussed. Tax is mentioned once. Nullification is not included either, though “null” appears three times, mostly to do with leaving the Union. “Econ” (as in economics, economy or any other term) is mentioned twice. And if you read the declarations, they are chock full of excuses for the necessity of slavery that would make the most political incorrect person today cringe
And in Sunday’s New York Times Frank Rich lends his considerable talents to help the
Republican Confederate Party celebrate Confederate History Month. Here are a few choice excerpts:
…once McDonnell was asked to explain why there was no mention of slavery in his declaration honoring “the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens.” After acknowledging that slavery was among “any number of aspects to that conflict between the states,” the governor went on to say that he had focused on the issues “I thought were most significant for Virginia.” Only when some of his own black supporters joined editorialists in observing that slavery was significant to some Virginians too — a fifth of the state’s population is black — did he beat a retreat and apologize.
But his original point had been successfully volleyed, and it was not an innocent mistake. McDonnell’s words have a well-worn provenance. In “Race and Reunion,” the definitive study of Civil War revisionism, the historian David W. Blight documents the long trajectory of the insidious campaign to erase slavery from the war’s history and reconfigure the lost Southern cause as a noble battle for states’ rights against an oppressive federal government. In its very first editorial upon resuming publication in postwar 1865, The Richmond Dispatch characterized the Civil War as a struggle for the South’s “sense of rights under the Constitution.” The editorial contained not “a single mention of slavery or black freedom,” Blight writes. That evasion would be a critical fixture of the myth-making to follow ever since. [snip]
The temperature is higher now than it was a month ago. It’s not happenstance that officials from the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Virginia and Mississippi have argued, as one said this month, that the Confederate Army had been “fighting for the same things that people in the Tea Party are fighting for.” Obama opposition increasingly comes wrapped in the racial code that McDonnell revived in endorsing Confederate History Month. The state attorneys general who are invoking states’ rights in their lawsuits to nullify the federal health care law are transparently pushing the same old hot buttons. [snip]
How our current spike in neo-Confederate rebellion will end is unknown.
There is more and the entire column is worth your time. In the age of Michael Steele, Conservative Confederacy worship, TeaBaggers, Obama hatred and fear, Rich makes another point about wingnuts–especially Republican wingnuts–that is spot on:
What is known is that the nearly all-white G.O.P. is so traumatized by race it has now morphed into a bizarre paragon of both liberal and conservative racial political correctness.
Poor babies, life is unfair and their celebration of CHM is just adding to their insecurities.
Happy to help.