I’m sure that many of you are thinking about springtime now. It’s been a long winter, but pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training, and I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for Arizona weather after some time spent in Boston and Springfield, Illinois.
The advent of spring means something else as well: Ed Sebesta’s annual effort to ask President Barack Obama to end the tradition of having a wreath laid at the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. In 2009 Sebesta and James Loewen prepared a similar letter; in 2010 Sebesta tried again.
In 2010 Sebesta’s letter singled out the Sons of Confederate Veterans for especial attention. This year he highlights the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the awards they sponsor at various US service academies … and institutions that educate military officers (although he overlooks ROTC institutions … at least for now: his targets are VMI and the Citadel). According to Sebesta,
“It is clear, therefore, that even in the 21st Century, members of the UDC continue its tradition of racism and opposition to equality, yet the United States military tacitly supports and enables this neo-Confederate ideology by allowing the UDC to award honors at U.S. Service academies and other military schools.”
Each year the president has sent a wreath to the Confederate Memorial. In the past he has not responded to Sebesta’s letters, and it appears that Loewen’s no longer part of the exercise. Sebesta seems more intent on having the president act against other groups he dislikes than upon ending the wreath-laying ceremony, judging by the space accorded to each exercise.
I am waiting to see whether Mr. Sebesta is going to conduct a campaign against the presence of statues honoring Confederates in the United States Capitol. I wonder why he has tolerated that for so long. A man of such self-professed principle would not want to be charged with being inconsistent, right? And that’s just for starters.
I suspect this letter will encounter the same fate as its predecessors.