By Ryan S. Walters | @ryanswalters
“To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots.” So said Alexander Solzhenitzyn, the literary giant and critic of the Soviet Union who understood totalitarian government as well as anyone.
We are today witnessing just such an effort, an extraordinary outpouring of mob action, totalitarianism, and fascism, the same dictatorial philosophy of Hitler and Mussolini that is behind this movement to eradicate the Confederate battle flag and all aspects of Southern history and culture.
But understand, this anti-Southern movement sweeping the country is not new. Historians like myself have seen it before, when it first reared its ugly face during the dark days of Radical Reconstruction.
Radical Republicans hated the South and Southern institutions. After the great “civil” war, they desired the complete subjugation of the region, vindictive punishment of the “rebels,” the overthrow of all Southern state governments, and the confiscation of all land and homes. Peoples from the North and West would then be sent to the South to repopulate it, ensuring that it would remain firmly Republican. In other words, they wanted to make the South like the North, sweeping away all vestiges of Southern culture and politics.
Senator Zachariah Chandler of Michigan said it this way: “A rebel has sacrificed all his rights. 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 of Pennsylvania, one of the most radical members of Congress, was worse, if you can believe it. Stevens had always hated the South, a feeling that was heightened during the war when Confederate forces under Jubal Early burned his iron works during the Gettysburg campaign. He favored redistributing land in the South to both Northerners and freed slaves. The South, he said, should “be laid waste, and made a desert,” then “repeopled by a band of freemen.”
A lone voice of reason in Washington while the lynch mob ran amok, Lincoln’s Navy Secretary, Gideon Wells, called the Radical plan “an atrocious scheme of plunder and robbery.” And he was right. Thankfully, though, Stevens died in 1868 and cooler, saner heads prevailed.
Be honest, though, is this all that different from modern-day fascists on the Left? It’s taken them more than a century but they are now finally in position to stamp out the South for good and they are going for it full speed ahead – because of Southern history, yes, but also because of the South’s entrenched conservatism and Christianity, which they loathe as much as they do the Confederacy.
And the cleansing is not limited to Confederate history. The mob is also, once again, taking aim at Washington and Jefferson, even going so far as to advocate taking down the Jefferson Memorial and in the words of at least one commentator, changing the name of DC, for it was named after a slaveholder.
Liberals, once again, are using a terrible tragedy to shamelessly move their fascist agenda forward, which should be the real story here, not a flag.
The nation was truly horrified on June 17 when a hate-filled 21-year-old entered one of the oldest African-American churches in Charleston, South Carolina and gunned down nine people. No one who has even a smidgeon of decency could have celebrated such a cruel and heartless crime.
It’s easy to call such a violent, murderous deed the work of a crazed lunatic who should be in an insane asylum. But that’s an easy excuse and a way to dismiss the act itself. Dylann Roof is not crazy or a lunatic; he is evil – pure, unadulterated evil. He was carrying out the works of Satan and his legions. He deserves the death penalty, sooner rather than later.
But once pictures surfaced of the evil-hearted monster with a Confederate flag, it was suggested that the symbol must have motivated him. So a move was made to take it down from the memorial on the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol building in Columbia. And that was all the opening the fascists needed. Give them an inch, and they take miles.
Make no mistake, folks, this fascistic mob is out in force. Now everything has got to go, not just the flag in Columbia: Confederate merchandise on store shelves and online sites (while they continue to sell Nazi, Communist, and Black Panther memorabilia), Army bases named for Confederate generals, statues that have stood in public squares for generations, the names of streets and counties, toys and games, Southern films like “Gone with the Wind,” and now we hear that publishers will be pressured to change book covers that bear an image of the flag (what’s next, burning the books?).
This has gotten way out of hand. But why do Republicans want to join this mob? Perhaps Eric Holder was at least partially right. At least as far as the GOP is concerned, we are cowards when it comes to the race issue and capitulate to the hustlers and race baiters at the first sign of trouble.
Both Mississippi Senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, have called for the state to change its flag, as have a host of other leaders. But what will that actually do? Will it cure the evil in the heart of a single person, white or black? Will it fix our economy? Will it create jobs? Will it make our schools better? Will it do anything tangible at all, or just cause more strife and division?
The Charleston tragedy could have been a moment in history when we all came together, people of all races, to heal wounds and move forward together. But we seem to be headed in a different, more dangerous direction. For this present movement is not about tolerance and healing, ladies and gentlemen, nor is it a move for political correctness. This is fascism, pure and simple. And it must stop.