by Robert M. Traxler
We need to be careful in rewriting history; it is hard to learn the lessons of history when it has been erased or rewritten. Could it be possible the need to erase the Confederates’ fighting for states’ rights, yes one of the states’ rights was the vile practice of slavery, is to aid the progressive movement to states’ rights?
Sanctuary cities, sanctuary states, drug laws, voting laws, gun control, use of the National Guard, even the use of the incandescent light bulb. The left finds itself in the strange place of advocating for the rights of states over the federal government. For the progressives to champion states’ rights they must deal with the history of the subject. An easy way is to make the Civil War totally a war for slavery, not in any way for states’ rights.
While we are renaming things and tearing down memorials to Confederate soldiers, let’s look at President Woodrow Wilson, a stone cold racist; progressive liberal hero LBJ, in his early days a racist; President Harry Truman, who joined the Klan in his younger days. Franklin Roosevelt imprisoned Americans without due process based on race and sent Jews back to Hitler’s Germany, most of whom died in the death camps.
Let us say in 152 years we look back to World War II and condemn the two million Americans who served in the Eight Air Force for firebombing German civilians. Or the U.S. Navy for sinking ships with civilians onboard. Do we need to erase every American figure before 1920 before women got the right to vote? Do we erase all of those who either objected to or approved of abortion? We may in the future.
One of the first things Joseph Stalin did when he became absolute dictator of the Russian Socialist Republic was erase from history those who opposed him. History is a legacy, good and bad; I have relatives who were Loyalists to the Crown, who fought 240 years ago for the king against the American Revolutionaries. Do I need to be deported or hang my head in shame? Between my Father, Mother, wife and me, we have 54 years of military service to our nation.
Our family history in America started with two brothers, illiterate German carpenters who were indentured to a farmer in Pennsylvania; after they paid the debt, one went to South Carolina and the one we are most directly related to stayed in Pennsylvania. Their grandchildren fought each other decades later in the Civil War. I am not ashamed of the cousins who died for their belief in states’ rights; it happened 85 years before I was born and it cannot be changed.
Many of the memorials to Confederate officers recognize their work to unify the nation after the Civil War during the Reconstruction period. Robert E. Lee publicly signed a loyalty oath and over a million southerners followed his lead. He also took communion at his church kneeling next to an African-American man. General Lee also became the president of a university that was integrated. For 61 years after the Civil War, unity was one of the main goals of our government; have we forgotten that history?
The hard right and rigid left are angry that Donald Trump is our President. I get it; there is nothing they can do to change that, although they are trying, so they vent their anger at our history and our nation. A good question is why now, and not before President Trump, must the memorials to Rebel soldiers come down?
History is our teacher; we need to learn from it, not rewrite it to make it convenient. What’s next, removal of the monuments to the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791? Those folks, many Revolutionary War veterans, were traitors as well. While we are condemning traitors, why does the rigid left celebrate Chelsea Manning? I’ll be damned if I know.