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MikeRobinson
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Registered: 08/29/11
Posts: 733
Location: Chattanooga, TN United States
 
One of the most insightful editorials I've read
Friday, August 25 2017 @ 11:53 AM CDT

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/opinion/freepress/story/2017/aug/15/cooper-its-not-about-trump-8230/443531/
We see Saturday's violence, instead, as an outgrowth of perceived power vs. perceived powerlessness — all imbued with race. That still doesn't make it right.

Removing Confederate statues is less about bruised feelings anyone may feel today from monuments erected more than a century ago marking a war more than a 150 years ago than it is about having the power to have the statues removed.

If you have the power to have a statue removed, you have clout, meaning those who want to see the statue stay where it is do not have clout and are powerless.

There are those who believe that “being offended” makes them a plaintiff, with the power to impose their remedy on a public that is powerless to stop them.   But, there is no end to it, and no good may come from it.

For instance, I am “offended” to see pictures of slave-owners on the $1, $5, $20, and $50 bills.   Their presence is proof (to me) that the Government is sanctioning the institution of slavery, and thereby violating my civil right (not to be offended by anything).   Therefore, I am a plaintiff, and I want the Court to rule that these vile portraits must be replaced by a portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   Every painting of George Washington in any classroom or in any other public place must be replaced by a portrait of Dr. King.   And you can’t stop me:   you are powerless to do so, because being offended makes me a plaintiff with the power to impose my opinions.   An idealistic Japanese citizen could be offended by the thought, in his or her own mind, that World War II was a symbol of internment, and demand that the World War II memorial be torn down on the Washington Mall, along with every statue commemorating anyone who ever participated in that horrible war which perpetuated internment.   I could be offended by the American Flag ... I need only come up with a plausible reason, and go to Court with it.

My point is clear.   One could literally be such a plaintiff forever, as long as society remained devoid of tolerance and common sense.   But, it will never accomplish anything.   It will only “divide, divide, and divide again” a nation that, now more than ever, needs to be resilient, tolerant, and united.
VicDiesel
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Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2960
Location: Austin, TX
 
Re:One of the most insightful editorials I've read
Friday, August 25 2017 @ 12:38 PM CDT

Quote by: MikeRobinson

Removing Confederate statues is less about bruised feelings anyone may feel today from monuments erected more than a century ago marking a war



You know of course that those statues were themselves the sign of bruised egos? They didn't go up until 40 years after the war, and they were a reaction from racist whites against blacks finally getting their rights.

https://hyperallergic.com/396116/confederate-monuments-southern-poverty-law-dylann-roof/

So taking down the statues is all about taking down symbols of white racism.

Victor.

-- My CD.
MikeRobinson
Forum Full Member


Registered: 08/29/11
Posts: 733
Location: Chattanooga, TN United States
 
Re:One of the most insightful editorials I've read
Monday, August 28 2017 @ 09:51 AM CDT

Quote by: VicDiesel
You know of course that those statues were themselves the sign of bruised egos? They didn't go up until 40 years after the war, and they were a reaction from racist whites against blacks finally getting their rights.

https://hyperallergic.com/396116/confederate-monuments-southern-poverty-law-dylann-roof/

So taking down the statues is all about taking down symbols of white racism.

Victor.



Come with me to the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, which was created in 1890 as the first in a series of such battlefield monuments.   This was not done as a symbol of racism but as a determination to preserve the history of that horrible War and to do so while some of the veterans were still alive, and as a classroom for military tactics.
It owes its existence chiefly to the efforts of Generals Henry V. Boynton and Ferdinand Van Derveer, both veterans of the Union Army of the Cumberland, who saw the need for a federal park to preserve and commemorate these battlefields.   Another early proponent and driving force behind the park's creation was Ohio General Henry M. Cist, who led the Chickamauga Memorial Society in 1888.   Another former Union officer, Charles H. Grosvenor, was chairman of the park commission from 1910 until his death in 1917.   During the Park's early years, it was managed by the War Department and used for military study as well as a memorial.   The National Park Service took over site management in 1933.

So, Victor, it actually wasn’t the consequence of bruised egos or the reaction of “racist whites.”   These people wanted to preserve the institutional memory of what did happen on those battlefields, and why.   (The enabling legislation was then expanded to the preservation of other non-battlefield sites.)   They represented both the South and the North, and sites were preserved all over the country.

The American Civil War ignited for many reasons other than agricultural slavery ... or the alternative forms of slavery and of indentured servitude that reigned in the Northern states ... and, no matter what its perceived motivations or justifications were, it wiped out a huge percentage of America’s population at that time.   (And not merely on the fields of battle.)

We speak of “remember this, so that it may never happen again,” in the context of the Jewish Holocaust.   (And there is no doubt that this grim incident killed many times more people.)   But, in American history, the Civil War is also an incident that we must Never Forget.   Racial intolerance was certainly one aspect that we must Never Forget, but it is not the only one.

In my mind, to simplify it – as you did in what you said, Victor – is a terrible and dangerous error.   History, especially bloody history, is never simple.   And, it is never very far away.   One motivation was the issue of State’s Rights and generally the proper role of the Federal Government.   Do we not remember that there was talk in Texas of seceding from the Union in response to Trump’s election?   This sort of thing should not be taken as idle talk.   It is not.   If we do not remember history – as it actually was, in all its complexity – then it will kill again.

In fact, in my mind, we are in the present day courting once again with many of the motivations that underlaid that conflict and which enabled it to explode upon the scene ... and in this statement I am specifically not speaking of agricultural slavery nor with reaction to public monuments.   Civil War, or some lesser variation thereof, is always a danger, especially when the public is angry, discontent, and feels Powerless.
VicDiesel
Forum Full Member


Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2960
Location: Austin, TX
 
Re:One of the most insightful editorials I've read
Monday, August 28 2017 @ 10:08 AM CDT

Quote by: MikeRobinson

Come with me to the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, which was created in 1890 as the first in a series of such battlefield monuments.



Nice try. You know that's not what we're talking about. Commemorating the dead is outside of this dispute.

We're talking about statues of Robert E. Lee who stood for maintaining the "Southern Way of life". Compare him to his lieutenant general James Longstreet, who embraced equal rights for blacks, and didn't get a statue until 1998.

It's all about racism.

Victor.

-- My CD.
MikeRobinson
Forum Full Member


Registered: 08/29/11
Posts: 733
Location: Chattanooga, TN United States
 
Re:One of the most insightful editorials I've read
Monday, August 28 2017 @ 04:54 PM CDT

I think that we would be slicing hairs to debate exactly who got a statue placed somewhere, when.   I consider it hopeless typecasting to say that General Robert E. Lee “stood for maintaining a Southern way of life,” or to exalt General Longstreet and to assert that he received a statue only because of his purported stance on human-rights issues.   I really have no response to such a blanket statement, and so I respectfully yield your point.

But it sure is funny that you should mention General Longstreet, because it was his massive attack – aimed at precisely the point and at precisely the instant when a mix-up of orders created a hole in the Union lines – which caused the devastating Union rout that occurred at Chickamauga!   There are no statues of these or any Generals at this battlefield park, but if there was a place where a statue might have been erected to his honor, Chickamauga certainly would have been an excellent place.   (It was the coffin-nail in Union General Rosecrans’ military career.)   Union General Thomas, “the Rock of Chickamauga,” certainly would have deserved a statue, too.  

However, it was the States who were invited to contribute (and, pay for ...) memorials to their favorite sons, and to their smallest military groups at specific moments during the battle. 
  • Some of the monuments are poignant – such as an out-of-the-way memorial to the brave cavalier on the gray steed (otherwise known as a minion of the Signal Corps who was killed while delivering a message ... please notice that the writer of the web page calls him “my cousin!”), erected by his family.
  • Or, the only(!) marked grave on the battlefield, erected by family members (from the area) who searched for their son’s body – and found it – when he did not return home.
  • Uh huh... this was personal ...
None of them decided to pay for statues for Generals.

This biographical page about Gen. Longstreet, particularly after the war, shows that the man – and his reputation – was anything but simple, and to me begs the question of why a statue might or might not have been built particularly for or about him at any point in time.   A whole lot of people did not like him after the war, even though he was a brilliant military commander during that war.

  • Also, obviously, a statue erected in 1998 would not have been built by anyone who knew him.   The passage of more than 100 years between statue-building events clearly indicates that the events are the product of two different eras and thus not really comparable at all.

After the War ended, the nation had to patch itself up, return to becoming one country again, and to deal with the aftermath.   Slavery had been abolished, but sharecropping was in many ways worse.   In the North, indentures were likewise abolished but peonage took its place.   Many struggles, including the fight for organized-labor, fill our history books.   Even today, it can well be said that slavery did not actually end:   we simply substituted the “undocumented” Mexican.   Indentured servitude did not end:   we (quite recently) substituted the “non-immigrant visa.”   And so it goes.

As far as why particular honor might have been accorded, and accorded generations earlier, to General Lee, merely pause to consider who surrendered to whom at Appomattox Court House!   General Ulysses S. Grant was the symbol of the North, and of course became President and was honored on the $50 bill, yet he threatened to resign his commission if General Lee was prosecuted as a war criminal.   (The two officers had served together in the Mexican-American War.)   General Lee was therefore the symbol of the South, and of the final military defeat of the Second American Revolution.   It should come as a surprise to no one that, of the Generals who participated in that horrible War, he would receive more monuments.   (Likewise General Grant, and of course, the martyred Abraham Lincoln, who was no saint either!)

- - -

Mind you, Victor (et al ...) I’m not “apologizing,” nor defending racism, nor “speaking for the South,” even though today I live barely a half-dozen straight-line miles from Chickamauga Battlefield.   I’m just saying that the actual history (and the motivations to memorialize and to remember that history in all its awful ugliness), are anything but as simple as they are now being portrayed.   The recent actions will accomplish nothing but discord, and in my opinion are based on a stereotype of the historical realities.   I am dismayed to see them embraced, and eagerly acted upon, especially by those who do not seem to be asking questions.
  • And, Victor:   I respect both you and your opinion, though we may disagree, and I specifically do not intend anything of this post nor especially of the preceding paragraph, to be seen as any sort of specific reference whatsoever to you, personally:   “sideways” or otherwise.   (Nor to any other MJer.)
A great many things about our day’s recent events trouble me to the core, especially because I see so many very-ugly historical precedents for them.   Nothing(!!) good may come of this!”
Daugrin
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Registered: 03/24/09
Posts: 1142
Location: , Extraverse
 
Re:One of the most insightful editorials I've read
Monday, August 28 2017 @ 11:16 PM CDT

Two of my favorite MJ Regressive's debating slavery, as usual, its all about what someone told them.

That Civil War was fought over slavery. Slavers lost. VIc's point about the monuments being a continuation of the war, in a cultural sense, resonates with lots of people, imho this is an accurate assessment.

There are culture merchants, like Dolly Parton and Charlie Daniels, who have a great deal invested in the cultural identity of the social classes drawn from below the old slave masters. These folks perhaps rejected slavery, yet still profited from the Evil, significantly, their social status was enhanced by the slave class. The descendants of these people are the folks who would like to see the icons of the Confederacy unchallenged. The slave masters? They figured out how to continue their exploitation of others and still, to this day, don't care about the black people who they had viewed as farm machinary, it might be helpful to consider their position for a second. Who are their descendents? Why don't you know?

What I would really like to suggest is that no one on this forum has ever touched a slave, in the sense that the black folks in America were slaves before the Civil War. In the world today there are more slaves than there were in the world at the time of the American Civil War. If you want to do something about slavery- it would seem to me anyway- that a social justice virtue signally warrior would fight against real slavery in the world today. Certainly enough slaves around with no champions... Name someone who has freed a slave this year! Can't? I will, for you, Glen Beck, that evil idiot on the talk radio organizes interventions that free slaves in the world you live in today. What?

What if all you guys are doing is hating statues because your (modern day) owners told you that they wanted you to hate them. The people that own your mind believe they can increase their political power in modern day 'Merica by dividing 'Mericans, the icons of the old south are simply convenient for that purpose.

If you really want to hate, and I believe you Regressives really do, hate the people in the world that still enslave others. You can start by recognizing that slavery, like the Nazi's, Bolsheviks, and every Evil you can name, evolves. Evil changes it's appearance over time. I am sorry this seem to be threatening to your world view and your craving a safe space... but one more thing...its important.

The Regressive Movement will target people like Ms. Parton and Mr. Daniels. The tools like BLM and those now familiar brown shirts in busses will be used against the social class which identify with the above icons. There is a real risk that many people will loose there lives in these conflicts. I would encourage all you to give up this hateful world view and renounce hate in 'Merica. We have too much work to do to waste our time hating each other.

Daug
MikeRobinson
Forum Full Member


Registered: 08/29/11
Posts: 733
Location: Chattanooga, TN United States
 
Re:One of the most insightful editorials I've read
Tuesday, August 29 2017 @ 10:55 AM CDT

Agricultural slavery never actually disappeared from this country – it just changed names, and targets.   And, just as before, those who benefit from “The Peculiar Institution™” insist that it is necessary in order that we may have cotton shirts avocadoes.

Immediately after slavery (in the South) and indentured servitude (in the North) were formally prohibited, it was replaced with economic bondage:   peonage and sharecropping.   (Johnny Cash was a sharecropper’s son.)

But then, slavery itself returned, although the term is never used.   The new slave is the undocumented, illegal, Mexican alien.   The new indentured servant is the holder of a non-immigrant visa ... a very recent and unprecedented addition to immigration law designed expressly for this purpose.   (The requirement for “sponsorship” is what creates the indenture.)

The new slave and the new servant are held in their inferior position through immigration law and the fear of enforcement.   They are never allowed and will never be allowed to become citizens.   They are obliged to do anything that they are told to do – or else.   The illegal alien lives in fear of deportation.   The indentured servant cannot leave his job and has no car.   Both of these situations are expressly prohibited by the 13th Amendment, but, “here they are.”

In a tony suburb of Nashville, I personally watched seventeen young Indian men in their early twenties ... identically dressed, and dressed to the nines ... file out of a two-bedroom apartment and climb aboard an unmarked mini-bus.   Dumbfounded, I peeked into the window after the bus drove away, and I saw sleeping bags neatly arranged on the floor.   All illegal as hell, but, “here they are.”   (I’m quite sure that, on the books of the apartment complex, the unit is rented to a nice, quiet couple ...)

“These are the jobs that Americans won’t do.”   “We simply can’t find suitable technical talent anywhere in America.”   “Are there no prisons?   Are there no workhouses?”

If you truly want to do something positive about human civil rights, don’t molest hundred-year old statues:   just look around you.   Where you find euphemisms, there will you find tyranny.   Especially when those euphemisms are being spoken by people in positions of power.
Skean
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Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 1586
Location: , Sweden
 
Re:One of the most insightful editorials I've read
Tuesday, August 29 2017 @ 11:35 AM CDT

Prison labor booms in US as low-cost inmates bring billions



Prison Labor: Employees or Modern-Day Slaves?



46 million people living as slaves, latest global index reveals
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/jun/01/46-million-people-living-as-slaves-latest-global-index-reveals-russell-crowe

I Almost Always Try to Think Positive Thoughts.
 
MikeRobinson
Forum Full Member


Registered: 08/29/11
Posts: 733
Location: Chattanooga, TN United States
 
Re:One of the most insightful editorials I've read
Tuesday, August 29 2017 @ 05:37 PM CDT

“Prison labor” would not qualify as slavery because of this clause of the 13th Amendment:
... except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted ...
I do understand the rationale for giving inmates an opportunity to learn new skills in hope that they will become productive and reformed citizens upon release.   (My uncle was actually the superintendent of the county prison for many years, and worked hard to develop such programs with some success.)   But abusive or exploitative treatment, taking unfair advantage of the fact that this person is incarcerated, should be (and is) prohibited by law.   Also, prison labor should not compete with free citizens.   I also disagree strongly with the concept of “for-profit prisons.”   Prison facilities should be run by government, not by private corporations.