The last few days have been extraordinarily difficult ones for Americans who love freedom and value the ideals of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Those are the principles upon which our nation was founded and that most of us hold very dear.
But unfortunately we have radicals among us who believe it is their absolute right to violate those ideals to determine what kind of society we should live in. Antifa and Black Lives Matter, two of the most well known, have all but decreed they want a “worker’s paradise” (Translation: Communism) that is “free from racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and oppression.”
And who is most likely, in their mind at least, to hold those views? White Southerners apparently, with our abhorrent history. It is ironic that they detest “oppression” but also believe they can oppress us in order to achieve their perfect society. Such is the hypocrisy of the Left.
There is now a movement afoot to remove all vestiges of the Confederacy from the South, driven both by the thugs in the streets and cowardly politicians in states and cities across the region. They are aggressively taking aim at historical monuments that honor the Confederacy and those who fought for Southern independence.
They are also upset with any monuments honoring slaveholders, even presidents like Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, but also American heroes like Sam Houston.
This is really nothing completely new. It has happened before. Today we are just seeing a second phase of it. The first one began more than 150 years ago in the War of Northern Aggression and it’s aftermath.
A cultural cleansing of the South was the goal of Radical Republicans during Reconstruction to completely re-make Southern society. What the Union armies did not do during the war, with their near-total military conquest and destruction of as much of Southern infrastructure as they could muster, fanatical politicians sought to complete with their Reconstruction plan.
The Northern intellectual Orestes Brownson of Vermont recognized what was going on in 1864: “We have some madmen amongst us who talk of exterminating the Southern leaders, and of New Englandizing the South.” And he was right. They wanted to make the South like the North.
And if it caused more death and destruction, then so be it. “A rebel has sacrificed all his rights,” said Michigan Senator Zachariah Chandler. “He has no right to life, liberty, property, or the pursuit of happiness. Everything you give him, even life itself, is a boon which he has forfeited.” Congressman Thaddeus Stevens said the South should “be laid waste, and made a desert,” then “re-peopled by a band of freemen.”
The radical plan was so bad that Lincoln’s Navy Secretary, Gideon Wells, the lone conservative Democrat in the Cabinet, called it “an atrocious scheme of plunder and robbery.” And the same wicked “Yankee Spirit” is plaguing us today in the form of hoodlums in the street who have no regard for the rule of law or the democratic process.
On Monday thugs from these leftist groups physically pulled down and destroyed a statue honoring Confederate soldiers in Durham, North Carolina, which had stood since 1924. The police stood down and allowed it to happen, but public outrage caused the police to round up the perpetrators and arrest them.
Other fanatics threw paint on a 114-year-old Confederate statue in Baltimore, Maryland that depicted a dying Southern soldier. Officials there are working to remove all Confederate memorials from the city.
Leftists in Tennessee want the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue in the state house in Nashville removed, a move that has the support of the state’s Democrats, while the President of the City Council of Jacksonville, Florida is seeking the removal of all Confederate monuments in that city. Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy, wants a memorial to Robert E. Lee dismantled.
And because of the sheer violence that has taken place across the country, wimpy politicians are giving in to the demands of Antifa and BLM and voluntarily removing Confederate monuments when they otherwise might not have. The day after the awful events in Charlottesville, the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky wants two statues of Confederates removed from the courthouse grounds – General John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge, a general and secretary of war who also served as US vice president before the war.
The mayor, Jim Gray, said we must explain the war “accurately and truthfully. Lexington was one of America’s largest slave markets. It’s just not right that we would continue to honor these Confederate men who fought to preserve slavery on the same ground where men, women and even children were sold into a life of slavery.” His history must have come from Antifa and other leftwing fanatics, who say the Southern cause was “unjust” so all memorials should come down.
The city of Gainesville, Florida just recently removed a single memorial depicting a Confederate soldier to appease the paint-throwers but at least officials there returned the statue to the United Daughters of the Confederacy rather than simply destroy it, as some cities have done.
Outside of Atlanta, there is a movement ongoing to wipe away the carving of Lee, Jackson, and Davis etched into Stone Mountain. This includes the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia who is making it a central part of his campaign. The artistic value of the carving means nothing to them.
But consider this: What is the difference between tearing down monuments and burning books? Or ISIS destroying all vestiges of Christianity in the Middle East? For us, there is none; for them, they believe they have a moral right to “correct” the wrongs in our country and they will use violence to achieve it.
And the march of destruction continues on and will until we take a stand and stop it. And if we don’t, there won’t be any Southern history left.