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Monday, June 22, 2015

Clintons on State Flags

For John, BLUFYes, all those hidden symbols from movies like National Treasure.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller, via Mr Derek Hunter, we have "Flashback: As Governor, Bill Clinton Honored Confederacy On Arkansas Flag".

Yes, this kind of thing is all over.  The thing is, we need to tease out the dedication of Confederate Soldiers (and civilians) from the surrounding truths of slavery and racial oppression.  Some of the memorials to the past are not servicing us well.

Yes, when you go to Gettysburg Battlefield the Confederates should be represented—they were the reason that Union General George Meade and his Army were there—and in fairness, where appropriate, display the Confederate Battle Flag, the Stars and Bars.  But, not in current symbols which convey the idea that today's Federal, State or Local government is carrying on ideas and traditions that are properly left in the past.  So, what kinds of things should go?

We are all in this together.  We should act like it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  the Cliff

  Worst Democrat President in the History of the US.
  Not to be confused with Fort Lee in Salem, Massachusetts.
  That would be "Stonewall", not Andrew.


Craig H said...

I have less objection to Fort Lee--Robert E. was one of the best generals in our history, and serving his state upon its politicians choosing secession should not be completely to his discredit. Any objection based on his family's ownership of slaves would have to similarly discredit US Grant and many others. It was a complicated time, and we need to be careful how we judge guilt, complicity and forgiveness.

C R Krieger said...

It was a complicated time and we need to work on the healing, although a lot of that happened about 100 years ago, as the veterans of the great struggle moved into old age.

On the other hand, a lot of the reconciliation didn't come until the 1960s, when, building on Brown vs Board of Education, we started to realize that we could not be two nations, separate, within one set of borders.  Discrimination was still rampant when I was a little child in the 1940s and 50s, and I didn't realize it until about 8th grade.  Before that I had lived in a "sundown town" and not known it.  Fortunately, my parents helped me to understand discrimination.

I take a different view on Robert E Lee from yourself.  I realize that the pull of "States Rights" was strong, but having gone to West Point, and having sworn an oath to the US Constitution, I think he should have stuck with the Union.  On the other hand, he was of the old school, militarily, a follower of Baron Antoine-Henri Jomini, whose book was taught at West Point.  US Grant, on the other hand, seemed to be a follower of Carl von Clausewitz, either by accident (I had a History Prof who said that Grant benefitted from sleeping through his tactics courses at West Point) or because he knew of Dead Carl (I had a History Prof who said that Grant had a secret early translation in his saddlebag).  Grant did better.  If the South had had a Grant it might have been a disaster if Robert E Lee had gone with the Union, as he would have been put in charge.  That said, President Lincoln was known to fire generals who didn't measure up.

I honor the bravery, the heroism, of all those soldiers in Gray.  They struggled for what they believed in and for their State and for the man to their left and to their right.  On the other hand, I remember the [perhaps apocryphal] story that Montgomery C Meigs, Quartermaster General, put Arlington Cemetery in Bobby Lee's back yard for a reason—so every morning he could look out on the graves of all those union soldiers he had killed.

I do think one way to make this go away is for the NAACP to adopt the Battle Flag as a symbol of the Black struggle for freedom from slavery.

Regards  —  Cliff

PS:  As a comment on Google, don't you think they could have allowed a "tag" for underlining?

Craig H said...

I take to heart, in my reading of accounts of Lee, that his loyalty was, like so many soldiers of that time, to his state first and last as his sovereign entity. Shelby Foote, in his Civil War Trilogy, makes a very eloquent point about how, previous to the Civil War, it was always phrased "the United States are...", and that only afterwards have we adopted to say "the United States is..." In fact, as I understand it, the phrasing of the officer's oath prior to the Civil War was "to bear true allegiance to the United States of America, and to serve them honestly and faithfully", with the significant word being "them". It was not, therefore, in that part necessarily an oath to the Federal Government (singular), but, rather, one to the States (plural)--and how is a native son of Virginia to interpret such an oath once his state is set against another? Yes, more problematic is the admonition to obey the President of the United States, but even then how does one interpret the authority of that office with nearly half the states avowing secession from the union? (Three of them, Vermont, Kentucky and Maine, having themselves been formed via secession as well, not to mention proper resignation of his commission before accepting one with the armed forces of the Commonwealth of Virginia).

I have no problem with the voluntary sale of Arlington House and grounds by Custis Lee in the 1880's, especially at a fair price and defended no less than with prior ruling by the US Supreme Court. (Nullifying the tax taking that denied Mary Lee's agent the proper opportunity to pay the $92 owed before the auction in 1864).

As for the NAACP having anything to do with the Confederate battle flag, well, I do believe that's a non-starter.