Have you ever stopped to think about how certain things take on a life of their own? Sometimes this is a good thing, as it pushes something to the forefront of public discourse which needs to be addressed. Other times it gives credence to something that isn’t worthy of a second of our time.
As an example, the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s brought a very real problem in this country to the forefront of public discourse. Today although a great many in the black community may still argue for their civil rights, I wonder how many actually know how and when the Civil Rights movement began. The Civil Rights movement had always been an issue that lay just below the surface, simmering away; but it did not gain any real traction until a woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the ‘White’s Only’ section of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1965.
Although much progress has been made, there still remains a lot of prejudice in this country; and this is true in regards to how both sides in the issue view and treat the other. Once again though, the issue or racism and prejudice has reared its ugly head with a large portion of society taking the position that any monument or statue honoring those who fought on the side of the Confederacy be torn down because they represent racism and hatred.
Once people take sides on an issue such as this it is extremely difficult, if not downright impossible to change their minds about their positions; no matter how well you prove your position with facts. I don’t know anything about psychology, but I believe that once the emotional side of the brain takes over, it shuts logic down and blocks the mind from considering any facts which contradict existing beliefs.
Yet if you do not have any facts to support your position, then all you are basing your actions upon are emotions, and emotions can be manipulated and controlled by others to achieve a specific agenda.
I don’t know how many of you have seen the film The Punisher, but it tells the story of Frank Castle and his quest for vengeance against John Travolta’s character, Howard Saint for the murder of Castle’s wife and son. Castle uses Saint’s jealousy as a weapon against him which leads him to kill his wife and best friend based solely upon innuendo and false evidence. Although the film is purely fictional, it shows how, once a person begins believing something, their emotions take over and refuse to allow them to consider any evidence to the contrary.
The truth that the Civil War itself was not fought over slavery does not matter in the least to those protesting for the removal of all these Confederate monuments and statues. All that matters is their perceived view that those monuments and statues represent racism and hatred.
I know there is still a lot of deep seated lingering resentment in this country over the issue of slavery; after all, it truly was a blot upon our history as a country which was supposedly built upon the concept that all men are created equal. Yet the Civil War ended in 1865, and the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, was passed soon thereafter. Therefore, unless you are over the age of 152 yrs, you have never owned, nor been a slave. Isn’t it time we got past the issue of slavery?
Yet the man responsible for writing our nation’s Declaration of Independence has come under attack simply because he owned slaves and supposedly had a relationship with one of them; Sally Hemings. Revisionist historians are focusing more on Jefferson’s slave ownership and his supposed affair with this woman than they are on the fact that Jefferson himself viewed slavery as an evil institution and worked actively to have it abolished in the State of Virginia.
Not only that, historians fail to mention that in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson lays the blame for the evil of slavery right at the feet of King George III, “… he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, & murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”
Not only that, but Jefferson saw this coming and sought a means to prevent it. Jefferson understood that there would be lingering prejudices and resentments between the two races and sought to prevent them from boiling over and leading to exactly what we are close to witnessing now; another race war.
In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson proposed, “To emancipate all slaves born after passing the act. The bill reported by the revisors does not itself contain this proposition; but an amendment containing it was prepared, to be offered to the legislature whenever the bill should be taken up, and further directing, that they should continue with their parents to a certain age, then be brought up, at the public expence, to tillage, arts or sciences, according to their geniusses, till the females should be eighteen, and the males twenty-one years of age, when they should be colonized to such place as the circumstances of the time should render most proper, sending them out with arms, implements of houshold and of the handicraft arts, seeds, pairs of the useful domestic animals, &c. to declare them a free and independant people, and extend to them our alliance and protection, till they shall have acquired strength…”
Honestly, does that sound like Jefferson held any ill will towards those held in bondage? To me it sounds like he wanted to help them, to educate them and lift them out of bondage and provide them with the skills and tools to survive as free men on their own. Yet Jefferson feared these lingering resentments and deep seated prejudices which is why he also suggested that the emancipated slaves be colonized outside the United States, “It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expence of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.” Tell me, does that not sound frighteningly close to exactly what is happening in America today?
And before you go off calling Jefferson a racist and a bigot because he proposed colonizing emancipated slaves outside the U.S., consider for a moment that the Great Emancipator himself, Abraham Lincoln proposed the very same thing. In fact, in an 1862 meeting held in the White House with a Deputation of Free Negroes, Lincoln proposed colonizing emancipated slaves on a 10,000 acre parcel of land in what is currently Panama. During this meeting Lincoln made the following statement, “You and we are different races and have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races.” Lincoln then went on to say that the African race suffered greatly “by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence.”
Now tell me, whose words sound more racist; Jefferson’s or Lincolns?
Besides, you do not hear the Irish-Americans protesting, or calling for reparations for their suffering as indentured servants, (which if you aren’t familiar with the term is basically the same thing as slavery). These Irish were transported by the hundreds of thousands across the ocean to work in America; men, women, and even small children were brought by the boatloads to suffer and die on the way; only to work under conditions that can only be described as servitude.
Whenever these Irish indentured servants rebelled, or even disobeyed a small order, they were punished in the harshest manner possible. These poor men and women were hung by their hands and their hands or feet set on fire. Some were burned alive and had their heads placed upon pikes as a warning to others not to disobey their owners.
In fact, the Irish slaves were treated far worse than many of the African slaves simply because they were cheaper to come by. A single African slave cost far more to transport and then train than did an Irish slave, and therefore an Irish slave was often considered an expendable item; while an African slave was much more highly valued property. And yes, the idea of one human being owning another as a piece of property is horrific, but I’m only showing that the Irish slaves suffered far worse; yet you don’t hear US complaining, do you?
Just to show how little those protesting these Civil War monuments and statues know about the people they represent, let me provide a few facts for you. At the time slavery was in existence in America there were laws present in many States which made it a crime to teach slaves to read and write. This was so that the slaves could be kept ignorant and the threat of a slave rebellion kept to a minimum. For instance, a North Carolina statute reads, “Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That any free person, who shall hereafter teach, or attempt to teach, any slave within the State to read or write, the use of figures excepted, or shall give or sell to such slave or slaves any books or pamphlets, shall be liable to indictment in any court of record in this State having jurisdiction thereof, and upon conviction, shall, at the discretion of the court, if a white man or woman, be fined not less than one hundred dollars, nor more than two hundred dollars, or imprisoned; and if a free person of color, shall be fined, imprisoned, or whipped, at the discretion of the court, not exceeding thirty nine lashes, nor less than twenty lashes.”
Yet how many know that the Confederate General, Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson openly violated a similar law by teaching slaves to read and write so that they could partake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
How many are aware that the wife of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee, Mary Custis Lee also taught many slave women to read and write, as well as how to sew. Mary Lee favored emancipation of those held in bondage and wanted to ensure that they were able to read and write, and have a skill that would allow for them to provide for themselves if emancipation ever happened.
So who were the racists, Lee, Jackson, Jefferson, who wanted to teach the slaves, or Lincoln who only wanted them off American soil because ‘we suffer from their presence?’ Yet whose monuments and statues are being torn down? Why, those who represent the Confederacy. And this is all because people are ignorant about the truth regarding who and what the Confederacy was, and what they truly stood for.
I’ll also bet that most people don’t know that the Constitution for the Confederate States of America banned the further importation of slaves into the Confederate States. Yet it’s true, “The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.” (Article 1, Section 9, Constitution of the Confederate States of America)
What gets me about all this is that many of these monuments have been in place for decades; if not a century. So why now, why is it all of a sudden that people are calling for their removal? Remember how at the beginning of this I spoke of how some things often take a life of their own and give credence to things that are not deserving of our attention? Well, this is one of those instances, and the ire that we are now witnessing is the result of a small group of people who are fanning the flames of racial discord to achieve a specific goal; that being either the erasure of the memory of our history and culture, or the suppression of our freedom of speech and expression.
All this began, at least how I see it, back in 2015 when Dylann Roof walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and opened fire; killing nine people. During the investigation into the motives behind Roof’s attack photos were found of him holding either guns, or Confederate Battle Flags. The media jumped on the fact that Roof had posed with that particular flag and began associating it with racism and hatred.
Soon afterwards we saw the public display of the Confederate Battle Flag become a divisive issue; causing some States to stop flying any flag with that image on them in public places. But that wasn’t enough; as I said these things take on lives of their own. As the flag wasn’t enough to satisfy these people, they quickly moved on to the monuments and statues which represent the Confederacy, or Civil War heroes.
Like I said in yesterday’s commentary; Pandora’s Box has been opened. Now the precedence has been set that anything which some group finds offensive can be banned, torn down, or restricted; and there’s no telling where it all will end. Well actually there is, the complete and utter loss of our freedom of speech, and our culture and history.
Let me tell you, Orwell must be rolling over in his grave. After all, Nineteen Eighty-Four was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual!
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told) AND don’t forget to pick up your copy of ROSS: Unmasked – An Angry American Speaks Out – and stay tuned – Neal has a new, greatly expanded book coming soon dealing with the harsh truths about the so-called American Civil War of 1861-1865. Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.