Southern conservatives continue to rail against the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans because something something "heritage":
The monument to Confederate President Jefferson Davis was taken off its pedestal on his eponymous street in New Orleans early Thursday morning, marking the halfway point of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's efforts to remove statues to three Confederate leaders and a white supremacist militia from public land.
Once again, crews in helmets, masks and body armor took down the statue - as they had done with the removal of New Orleans' Battle of Liberty Place monument two weeks ago - in the dead of night with no official forewarning, precautions taken in response to threats against contractors and city officials working on the project.
150 years after losing the Civil War, the Confederacy still has hordes of supporters who, in the very same breath, will assure you that they are the most red-blooded, patriotic, god-fearin' Murikan you ever will meet.
They are, of course, lying.
Anyone who so loves the Confederate States of America that they would threaten violence over the removal of memorials does not love the United States. Rather, they love the idea of what the United States could have been if only the North had lost. And while they dream of that alternate reality, they've come to loathe the country they currently live in with all of its diversity and a former black president. They long for a another chance to wage war against the country they pretend to revere.
Let's be absolutely clear here: The Confederacy was comprised entirely of people who wanted to destroy the United States of America through war. They saw a future in which they could not own other human beings and still be an American citizen so they chose to renounce their citizenship and go to war on behalf of a foreign power. That is, by definition, committing treason. This is who southern conservatives (and not a few northern ones), claim as their heritage.
The Confederacy was not a political party or a social movement; it was an attempt to create a rival nation whose first order of business was to consume the Unites States and dissolve our government and constitution. A monument to their president, Jefferson Davis, is like having a statue of Emperor Hirohito or King George III to celebrate that time they tried to wipe our nation off the map. Perhaps "patriotism" has a different meaning in the South?
Right about now, white supremacists are furiously typing a response that the "War of Northern Aggression" was all about "states' rights" and slavery was just a small facet. That's just adorable. First, I think we can all agree that if anyone could explain the reason for the Civil War, it would be the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens. Second, Vice President Stephens says your "states' rights" argument is total bullshit in his curiously not widely known "Corner-Stone Speech" of March 21, 1861. After explaining that the United States fell apart because too many of its founders believed that slavery was "wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically", Stephens bragged:
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.
If slavery is the foundation, his words, not mine, of your nation, states' rights had nothing to do with why you went to war. Unless, of course, you mean the right to own slaves. Also, several of the traitor states made written declarations of why they were leaving the Union and preserving slavery was the explicit cause. So there's that.
Slavery is tied with systemic genocide for the title of "Most Morally Indefensible Evil" that mankind has ever come up with. The idea of defending people who waged a war against America with a death toll of over one million in order to preserve slavery is nauseating. There's nothing wrong with preserving that history, it's a part of who we are, but celebrating it is sick.
And yet, Republicans and their conservative supporters continue to fight to keep the Confederacy alive on their flags and in their parks and on their pick up trucks because they're patriots who love their country. Not the country that they actually live in, but the one in their dreams where the white man is king and the black man could never be president because he's not even human; he's just property. This, more than anything else, explains Donald Trump and the modern conservative movement.
There are 544 days left to the 2018 elections.
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