Last Friday and Saturday folks traveled to Lexington, Virginia, to celebrate Lee-Jackson Day. Having attended a university in Virginia where monuments to Lee and Jackson stand in the downtown area, I’m more than familiar with the holiday. However, I left it to other interested parties to hold forth on the holiday, from suggesting that calls to boycott the town’s businesses had failed to questioning whether the holiday would persist in the future. Oh, yes, someone did notice the usual outburst of historical ignorance, but what’s new about that? Even a long-time chronicler of such missteps decided that it wasn’t worth following up on what he speculated might happen.
I’ll simply point out that according to the logic whereby the Confederate flag(s) is (are) American flag(s), then Confederate history is American history, and thus the new name of the joint venture reflects the very reality some people want us to embrace concerning the Confederate flag(s). In short, people like the Virginia Flaggers helped inspire this rebranding. Congratulations to them for their success.
On December 2 the Florida Department of Environmental Protection held a hearing to canvas opinions on a recent proposal to erect a monument to United States soldiers who fought at Olustee, Florida, in February 1864. The SCV represented itself in fine style at the meeting. So did that black Confederate for hire, H. K. Edgerton. “There is no place in the south land of America to memorialize Yankee soldiers,” declared our favorite hero. “This is an army that came here raping, robbing, stealing, killing and murdering our people. The kinds of things that happened here under the sanction of Abraham Lincoln were for these men to commit total warfare against innocent men, women and children who could not defend themselves.”
As reported on Kevin Levin’s blog (and a host of media outlets, including Richmond’s leading newspaper), the American Civil War Center and the Museum of the Confederacy have announced plans to merge by 2015.
Not everyone will welcome this news. Rumors of a merger created quite a stir in some corners of the Confederate heritage committee and led to some incomplete reporting. No doubt we’ll hear of a continuing war to eradicate Confederate heritage. It will be interesting to see whether their protests amount to anything. I’ll be interested to learn how the branch of the Museum of the Confederacy at Appomattox will be treated in this reorganization, as it is a Confederate museum, not a Civil War museum.
In the words of one SCV member:
If you have an Iraq war monument, you don’t want to put a Muslim/jihadist monument right in front of it.
These boys always seem a little too eager to put their foot right into their mouths. But wait, there’s more. Here’s how the SCV characterizes it:
You knew it had to happen … you just didn’t know how.
In the wake of The Ineptitude Along I-95, courtesy of those fumbling Virginia Flaggers, I decided that they had wrested away the title of The Gift That Keeps On Giving from our long-time favorite repository of heritage farce and incompetence, the Southern Heritage Preservation Group. This was not simply a way to recognize how the Flaggers had gone above and beyond our expectations by erecting their little flag in the woods: it was also a tribute to the efforts of the SHPG to extract itself from the mire that it had once basked in.
To be sure, there have been moments where it has slipped back, and it’s hard to take seriously a call for respecting Confederate heritage from a man who proudly shares a picture of himself embracing some poor excuse for a Confederate superhero, but on the whole one could be pleased with the progress the group has made in many areas. Indeed, its moderate and reasonable course in some instances has drawn fire from several Confederate heritage advocates who deplore the discussion of any fact that might damage their lily-white fantasy of the wonders of the Confederate experience.
But one had cause to ponder exactly how long that would last. After all, expectations of competence might just set too high a standard for the group in light of its long history of getting things flat wrong and of the tendency of some prominent posters to plagiarize freely.
In other words … when would Gary Adams strike again?
Those folks will not be disappointed by this report, in which we have two statements, one plagiarized, one out of context, merged together to form a manufactured quote about the sesquicentennial from author James Baldwin, who died the year before the 125th anniversary of Gettysburg (1987 for those of you who find those calculations too challenging).
Now, you may say that this is too good to be true, but those of us who know better wonder whether this backsliding will continue. Don’t worry, for the moment the title of The Gift That Keeps On Giving remains securely in the hands of the Virginia Flaggers (there’s always more where that came from … just ask Susan Hathaway about the VMFA and the Robinson House) … but perhaps the playoffs aren’t too far off.
At least the SHPG has the good sense to stay away from Matthew Heimbach.
Here’s Michael Givens, commander-in-chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, on how to handle the press:
The SCV could use a professional video operator.
And here’s how a Confederate advocate respects free speech (NSFW):
I’ve always wondered why Confederate heritage advocates turn to issues of sexual preference and identity when they go after people. Does this betray a sneaking insecurity about their own identity and practices?
And we all know who attended that event …
It’s in response to the Brad Paisley discussion, but it applies to other issues.
Nothing is changed by banishing the Confederate Flag out of a desire to be polite or inoffensive. The Confederate Flag should not die because black people have come to feel a certain way about their country, it should die when white people come to feel a certain way about themselves. It can’t be for me. It has to be for you.