Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Disremembering History The McDonnell Way

So, this is Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's idea of inclusiveness: reviving Confederate memorial month?

A certain segment of white southerners are quite romantic about the Civil War. We wish we could send them back there--that's Richmond, above. The reality would not be quite so happy.

Let's review. A small, but vocal, powerful and wealthy group of Southerners--plantation owners--perpetuated an economic system that could succeed only through the barbaric practice of slavery.

As an increasing number of people in states not dependent on this doomed to fail economic system began to clamor for its end, and an end to slavery, this small group of Southern planters manipulated their neighbors into succession and, ultimately, a civil war. More than 90% of southerners stood nothing to gain from either slavery or war.

Despite bold predictions that the Confederacy would succeed, and would prevail in war, succession was an UNMITIGATED DISASTER for the South. Millions of men were killed or disfigured; huge swaths of the South were laid waste to; cities were in ruins; families were torn asunder.

The end of the Civil War hardly brought an end to the ruin that had descended on the South. For another dozen years, federal troops occupied the South, much like American troops today occupy "liberated" Iraq. After the end of reconstruction, the South struggled economically for another 100 years.

It is true that ordinary Confederate troops--most with no stake in slavery--fought bravely against long odds in many battles. But the politicians who led them were fools, taking them down a disastrous path.

If you want to "commemorate" the civil war, do it with a burned out, falling down building occupied by scarred and disfigured people. That would be an appropriate memorial.

Bob McDonnell is the latest in a long line of Virginians who take foolish pride in the Commonwealth's most shameful period.

1 comment:

vibram five fingers said...

It is a sad thing that the politicians who led them were fools, taking them down a disastrous path.Politicians becomes tool sometimes.