Just north of Fayetteville, NC, off Interstate 95, motorists cannot miss the sight of a giant Confederate flag. Planted on rural private property near the county line, it has, predictably, raised a degree of controversy. Should its display be considered an act of offense or a defensive move by citizens trying to save their culture from the whitewash of political correctness? Far beyond symbols, the PC left is destroying the bonds of camaraderie and shared sacrifice that have united Americans since, roughly, the end of the Civil War.
New Orleans, a city ridiculously rich with culture, history, and tradition, last week removed yet another statue of a Confederate leader, continuing their march toward a bland, non-threatening vision of history and of life. The point here is not to re-fight the Civil War. These are not the ravings of a Confederate loyalist that the South will rise again (though I submit - proudly- that we already have!). But neither is it my intent to avoid any fact of history that challenges prevailing orthodoxy.
All northerners were not noble, kind-hearted abolitionists; (the ravings of General Sherman alone would warm the heart of any segregationist today!). All Southerners were not evil, slave-owning racists. In fact, the vast majority of Southerners did not own slaves. Poor young farmers did not give their lives to preserve the institution of slavery, but rather to save their homeland from what they saw as an armed invasion.
Slavery and its shameful legacy will always stain our Southern, and thus, American heritage, but history does not always offer a clear-cut, epic battle pitting Mother Teresa against Hitler. The truth is sometimes complicated.
People with common sense have always known this. That is why the American Civil War, in contrast to other nation's civil wars that rage for generations, was relatively brief. Both sides recognized the common humanity and valor of the other and chose to forge onward as one nation.
No less a Yankee than President William McKinley recognized the heroism of the Confederacy. McKinley had been a Major in the Union Army, a distinction that reportedly brought him more pride than being president. In 1898, he announced that the US would take responsibility for the care of thousands of Confederate graves in national cemeteries in the North, remarking that, "every soldier's grave during our unfortunate civil war is a tribute to American valor." (Check out 'The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South' by Civil War historian Clint Johnson, complete with bibliography). McKinley's successor, Theodore Roosevelt, saw to it that Confederate flags were returned to their home states, where they were received in solemn ceremonies. Roosevelt stated that "All Americans must ever show high honor to the men of the war between the states, whether they wore the blue or the gray. . . "
One could cite numerous other such examples. The bravery of Confederate soldiers and their leaders has been celebrated in song, poetry, literature-- you name it. Conversely, and despite the painful divisions of the Civil War, it took little time for the South to rejoin the American family and take up arms when needed. In terms of unbridled patriotism, the South plays second fiddle to no one.
The most important flag of the South, by far, is the American one. Countless American war heroes, with too little space to list here, represent the South, among them Alvin York (portrayed by Gary Cooper), Audie Murphy, Lucius Clay (commander of the Berlin Airlift), Douglas MacArthur, etc., etc. Perhaps the mayor of New Orleans would like to rename America's military bases: Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Fort Benning, among others, which are named after Confederate leaders.
Few of us in the modern-day South are conflicted. We are ashamed of slavery and segregation, but we still love this part of the country and take pride in our culture and traditions. The TV show 'The Dukes of Hazzard' does not endorse slavery or Jim Crow, but try telling that to TV Land. The network pulled the show because of the Confederate flag displayed on the roof of the famous car, The General Lee. Yes, you read that correctly.
Such is the narrow-mindedness of the PC left. For all their talk of diversity and inclusion, one would think their world would be rich and colorful, with surprises waiting around every corner. In truth, the world of the left is dull, predictable, and sanitized. And you will accept their bland, uninspiring view, or else.
Statues of Confederate generals do not demand that anyone endorse slavery. They simply mean that despite bitter and bloody divisions and cultural and political differences, we stand united as one people. The divisions of the past make our unity all the more special. Unity, after all, has no meaning when we are joining others identical to ourselves. Just don't hold your breath waiting for known racists Margaret Sanger, Woodrow Wilson and one-time Klan member, Senator Robert Byrd, to be expunged from history.They're all liberal icons, and the left is highly selective in its outrage.