To the editor:
From one who served his country in both the military and its community, I call on Army Bob to “lose your hate.” It’s not becoming for one who also has honorably served his country in the military and community.
McCarthyism is a term used to describe reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries. I remember the McCarthy Senate hearings in the 1950s; it was an ugly time for our nation. Though the Senator has been dead for 60 years, his legacy is the word McCarthyism, an epithet you seem to embrace.
In your opinion pieces, you select a current topic – this week the removal of Confederate statues, and quickly turn it into an attack on your favorite target – those on the left side of the political spectrum. You used only a few words to defend the Confederate soldiers; 72% (by word count) of your op-ed slams the Left.
I am a patriot; I served my country, I was an Eisenhower/Rockefeller Republican, but the Republican Party left me in 1980 and has headed further right over the past 30-plus years. I have not changed my political philosophy, but I am now a liberal, a progressive – and damn proud of the title.
But you castigate me, and millions of others because we “hate our country, and want to paint it as an unjust, racist, sexist, homophobic illegal society that needs to be purged.” I am not going to repeat all your demagogic attacks, but end with your demand that we “leave our hands off your history.”
YOUR history reminds me of the Trump administration’s “alternate facts.” You say 95% of soldiers did not own slaves. That is a false number; 70% is closer to accurate. Keep in mind that if a man owned at least 20 slaves he was excused from fighting. (Yes, as always, it is the poor who fight our wars!)
Then in your remake of history, you ask the Confederate soldiers why they were fighting and you claim “they would say to maintain states’ rights, not to preserve slavery.” States Rights? Sounds like you are parroting the “Lost Cause” folks.
Young men join armies for a lot of reasons; a paycheck, adventure or altruistic nationalism. After the war started, some joined to protect their homeland; some were conscripted. But you need to go back many years prior to the first shot fired; you need to understand the indoctrination forced on the white southern man.
In the 1850s, the national churches (Methodist, Baptist, etc) split into north and south branches, thus freeing the southern preacher to speak the positives of slavery to the masses in the pews, using biblical passages to justify the South’s honorable ownership of slaves. Politicians provided stories for the newspapers and pamphlets to be distributed, expressing the horrors of emancipation. Equality between the whites and Negroes was the primary fear. Community leaders were warning of the dangers of turning loose several million poor and ignorant Negroes on a defenseless white population. Using 2017 terminology, they were radicalized!
A poor white Southerner could maintain his dignity and position in life because he could look down on the Negro. As the wealthy could look down on him, the poor were at least better than the Negro. The election of Lincoln signaled the end of slavery, thus the poor white Southerner would take up arms to defend his social status.
Yes, the Confederate soldier fought to maintain slavery.
Yours, Tom Andrews