I appreciate that Ben Jones, chief of heritage operations with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, has commented on my post concerning his assessment of the situation at Washington and Lee. As I’ve said previously, I take him seriously, and I believe he’s willing to engage in a dialogue that I hope will be constructive, even fruitful. In such conversations we glimpse the chance to understand each other better and to move ahead. I trust everyone who chooses to engage with him will show the same attitude that he does in coming here.
Nearly four weeks ago President Kenneth Ruscio of Washington and Lee University issued a statement that served as his response to the demands of a group of WLU law students known as The Committee. You can read that document here and listen to or read his reasoning here.
Since then we’ve seen a great deal of heat and precious little light about this matter. There’s been an uproar from various Confederate heritage groups, and in recent days we’ve seen that the League of the South has staked out a position that distinguishes itself from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, while the Virginia Flaggers have remained silent on whether they side with the League of the South or the SCV. Some will attribute that to cowardice, while others will point to the confusion and a muddle-headedness that has characterized the behavior of that group’s members for years (to say nothing of a general ignorance of history, period). Critics of these groups have not framed a common position, either. Indeed, people who took the trouble to read what Kevin Levin wrote about this matter prior to the president’s announcement (see here and here) can hardly say that he pushed for removal of the replica flags that once adorned the chapel’s interior around a monument to Lee. Nor did I say a word about the proposals, and in fact I never endorsed what The Committee advocated (if you say otherwise, prove it or look foolish). All I’ve said, in fact, is that Ruscio’s proposal was reasonable. I also predicted it would be contested.