ERASING THE PAST, FAIR AND BALANCED

News flash, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife were found hiding in a grave in Memphis, Tennessee.  Experts are confused as to how the couple remained unnoticed for 110 years.  Nonetheless, the city council has elected to root them out and cart them off to, who knows, maybe a land fill somewhere northwest of Hahira, Georgia.

The removal of all things Confederate has now officially moved from the sublime to the ridiculous.  Unless the suspected hidden agenda, that the University of Tennessee wants the land for expansion, is true.  In that case it makes perfect sense.

No matter, the General is out of favor and has to go.

I fear that in this frenzy to whitewash the past we are neglecting to be fair and balanced.  So far only the sins of the South have been featured.  If we are to be fair then historic figures from the other side should also be noted.  I shall now endeavor to do just that.

Cultural Cleansers, please stand ready to attack the memories, artifacts and monuments dedicated to the following men, all due to their crime of being men of their time judged by today’s ethics and mores.  Let’s begin at the beginning.

George Washington was a slave owner and although he wrote and spoke quite a bit against the institution he never freed a single slave during his lifetime.  His will stipulated that all his slaves be freed upon his wife’s death yet slave labor continued on Mount Vernon long after his passing.

http://www.harryschenawolf.com/george-washington-slavery-the-legacy-of-his-silent-condemnation/

Thomas Jefferson, despite all his writings about the equality of man, was a slave owner and a lifelong supporter of the practice.  He opposed both private manumission and public emancipation.  His will freed only five slaves, all relatives of his mistress Sally Hemings.  His other slaves, nearly 200, were consigned to the auction block

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/01/opinion/the-real-thomas-jefferson.html?_r=1

Abraham Lincoln is called the Great Emancipator despite the fact that his racist views were widely known and his desire to free the slaves was in order to deport them en masse from the USA. His position is perhaps best summed up by an excerpt from the Lincoln Douglas debates.

http://musingsofacac.com/2013/09/28/did-abraham-lincoln-believe-in-racial-equality/

Theodore Roosevelt, perhaps the most enlightened of this group, referred to “white Americans, as the ‘forward race’, who had the responsibility to raise the status of minorities through training the ‘backward race(s)’…”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18795.html

If we are to approach a balanced cultural cleansing of all things related to historic figures who demonstrated bigotry against the African-American then we must venture north of the Mason-Dixon line.  By cleansing our culture of the four listed above you lose Mt. Rushmore, The Washington Monument, Monticello, The Lincoln Memorial and the Hero of San Juan Hill.

Ridiculous?  Perhaps but no more so than digging up a corpse, 110 years in the ground, along with his wife who’s bigotry or lack thereof is not documented.

And what of our past presidents?  Let’s revisit just two for sake of brevity.

Woodrow Wilson, when questioned about his discriminatory policies against minorities said, “the purpose of these measures was to reduce the social friction building up in American society.  They (his policies) are as far as possible from being a movement against the Negroes,  I sincerely believe it to be in their interest.”

http://www.edb.utexas.edu/faculty/salinas/students/student_sites/Spring2008/Alex_Torie/page3.html

Herbert Hoover was a white supremacist.  He believed blacks were inherently inferior and wanted to rid the Republican party of any blacks of position or influence.

http://rakemucker.com/history/troubling%20legacy%20of%20herbert%20hoover.htm

Yet these monsters are not only mentioned favorably in history books, they are also allowed to have presidential libraries where their attitudes can be enshrined only to corrupt future generations.  Cultural Cleansers, you have your work cut out for you.

And just for good measure, let’s toss in a national hero.  For this slot I’ll nominate Lucky Lindy.

Charles Lindbergh was a great pilot but his political views would not stand him in favor today.  “We, the heirs of the European culture, are on the verge of a disastrous war, a war within our own family of nations, a war which will reduce the strength and destroy the treasures of the White race…”  And, “It is time to guard our heritage from the Mongol, Persian and Moor.”

Erasing all things Lindy can actually serve as a starting point for the cleansing of the first four mentioned above.  Simply pull “The Spirit of St. Louis” from the museum, make it airworthy again and then crash it into Mt. Rushmore.  Voila, a two-fer.

Okay, I’ve had my fun with the subject but on a serious note can any reasonable person believe that it is fair, or even possible to judge a person from the past outside the context of the times in which he or she lived?

The United States was by and large a racist nation.  The enslaved Africans, as were the members of any minority you care to name, were not afforded equality nor were they regarded as worthy of an equal place in any aspect of society.  No amount of cultural cleansing will expunge that fact.

The genius of our culture and our society is that it had the power to change, to grow in wisdom and understanding and to become a place where all are welcomed in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King.

This frenzy to alter the past is not helping us to move further along the path toward complete equality that so many have fought and died to blaze.  Quite the contrary, it is divisive and counter productive.

Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover would have reveled in what is being done to the history of this great nation.

 

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About rixlibris

Retired from child care photography after thirty years of coaxing smiles and wiping noses. Currently venting years of repressed fictional story lines via self-published novels. Married and still alive in a remote corner of Waller County, Texas.
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28 Responses to ERASING THE PAST, FAIR AND BALANCED

  1. Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    Thanks for giving me the link! I am sure some people will find this opinionated piece interesting! -OM
    Note: Comments disabled here, please visit their blog.

  2. oledphatnuglee says:

    Our mayor is a diplomatic man with a respect for our history. He is obviously under a lot of pressure from the majority of those who live in our city to cave in to the hysteria of the moment and destroy statues, move graves, etc. I have a lot of respect for him because I know he won’t do it. Our city is 75 or 80% black. His generation of leaders grew up at a time when he had to pay the same price for a ticket, but was forced to enter through the side door of the Orpheum. He had to work harder than white students to achieve the same goals, he had to fight for everything that younger generations take for granted. He had to sit in the back of the bus, and watch his elders swallow their pride again and again under the pressure from Boss Crumps regime.

    He has good reasons to hate all whites, …but he doesn’t. I’m sure he knew when this all started that he would have to find the balance and quell the uproar. He has found a peaceful solution that will preserve the history and show that he supports moving on. I applaud him for that. I believe most of the statues in question will be moved to a famous, well kept, local, historical cemetery.

    Yes, it saddens me that we are so quick to want to erase our history. I think that wiping it away is counter productive and I think you’re right that it’s a slippery slope that can never end. However, I think his solution works in a way that respects our city and allows a peaceful way out. I think he has a lot tougher decisions ahead. Once we begin a cleanse the inevitable results are rather sickening to conceive of.

    • rixlibris says:

      I meant no disrespect to your mayor or to any other city official. While I have a general disdain for elected officials at the national level, I recognize the tightrope that many local politicians have to walk. They are so much closer to where the seat of our government is supposed to be and while taking more heat, they are accorded less respect in the grand scheme of things. Props to your mayor.

      • oledphatnuglee says:

        I didn’t take it as disrespect. I’ve lived here a long time and so got to see them in action. We sit on a powder keg of emotion dealing with race issues here is very tricky.

      • rixlibris says:

        Dealing with race issues is difficult no matter where you are and it is made more so when certain people use the racial divide as a source of their power base. I do not believe that racial hatred is inherent, it is fostered and taught with an agenda in mind. How many “leaders” from either side of the divide would be living in obscurity were it not for their ability to keep the animosity alive? The battle for equality has pretty much been won in the courts and enshrined in law, so the only way to insure that those cards and letters keep rolling in is to maintain the divide in the streets. And we, black, white, brown, yellow or red, seem content to allow the ubiquitous “them” to keep pushing our own particular bias buttons. I suppose it’s less threatening than saying,”hey leader, shut up and let me get to know my neighbor without you telling me how I should regard them.”

  3. oledphatnuglee says:

    Wow, that ended up being really long, feel free to delete it. Oh and Nathan Bedfords grave was originally in Elmore park I think so they’re just putting him back 🙂

    • rixlibris says:

      Thanks for the information. The coverage given to the exhumation was written to imply that a nefarious “villain” from the past was being given the heave-ho from an honored place.

      • oledphatnuglee says:

        The coverage always goes for the drama and we have enough of it in our city to make anything seem bigger than it is.

  4. oledphatnuglee says:

    ooops again and now I’m spamming you kinda… that should be Elmwood cemetery not Elmore

  5. Sheila says:

    Excellent piece and I’m in complete agreement.

  6. lynn k scott says:

    This has to be one of the best written pieces on this twisted Twilight Zone worthy episode of current events. I have spoken to many of the points you have raised here only to have been given questionable glances. I would love to reblog this, with your permission.

    • rixlibris says:

      Thanks for the kind words and by all means, do re blog. Perhaps the only way to stem the tide of revisionist history is to embarrass those who are pushing for it. Those who are capable of being embarrassed, that is.

  7. amommasview says:

    Good point. Acknowledge the past, change what needs to be changed and move forward.

  8. Capt Jill says:

    Good point. Both sides (North and South) were plenty guilty. I think we should not be trying to erase history or to make anyone ‘feel better’. It is what it is! All this political correctness is a bunch of hooey! If people can’t stand to put up with a few bad feelings, then THEY are the ones who should toughen up. It really is NOT up to society to make everything perfect for everyone.

  9. rixlibris says:

    Thanks for your comment, Cap’n. Insightful as always. Societies, by their very nature, cannot please everyone. That’s why we divide ourselves into “tribes” of like minded people. The best we can hope for is to find enough common ground between the different approaches to life that we can refrain from killing each other over ideology.

  10. hrh7 says:

    I completely agree with everything in this article. It is logical and it is factual. And I do love facts.
    However, stepping away from both, I have to say, where do logic and fact meet to make things fair? Where do the majority of a race that has built a nation get their say? I respect culture. I completely do. I’m Nigerian and we have extremely strong senses of culture but even these cultures have been changed. Worldwide, with every woman making her voice heard, women are treated better. It sounds as though this particular movement has been taken too far and I support that it needs to be stopped before it degenerates into full blown madness, but the killings of blacks need to be stopped, the treatment of some of u like we’re shiftless, cunning idiots suitable only for twerking and rap/sports needs to be modified. Plus, for goodness sakes where do policemen and neighbourhood watchmen get off harassing people without being stopped or challenged?
    Rage having been duly expended, it’s a slippery slope. But it needs to be stopped somewhere. History cannot be changed but we have the present to be molded and we do need to be able to look towards our futures without fear.

    • rixlibris says:

      Thank you for your comments. I could not agree with you more. My point is that in America the legal battle for civil rights has been won. It is on the cultural front that we must engage and no amount of revisionist history will address that struggle. Allowing very real grievances from the minority community to shape politically expedient, so-called politically correct, action from the government only adds to the division I will not judge a person by factors over which he or she had no control and never by how far they have gotten in life without considering how far they had to come to get to that point. Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is a personal hero for me. He demonstrates by his life and his actions that a person can be born into the poorest of circumstances and through sheer work and determination rise to the top of their chosen field, in his case becoming the top neurosurgeon on the planet. I was born into similar circumstances and while not having achieved to his level, I can appreciate what it took for him to get there. I have made a fairly successful life while many of my contemporaries chose a life of consuming corrective services in a variety of state and federal prisons. We must get past the idea that there is any inherent difference between us and address the cultural issues, find common ground, ignore the so-called leaders who actually profit from the racial divide and work toward mutual understanding and support. I could go on ad infinitum but I don’t wish to become a bore. Thanks again for your interest.

      • hrh7 says:

        I am actually very interested in reading your thoughts on this. I’ve pored through your blog and there is a wealth of articles on this from you and I definitely was surprised to find that the swastika was a symbol of peace before it became what it is today. I do realise that for us to live peacefully with one another we must unlearn the things we have been thought beforehand sometimes. But culture is in turn pervasive and subversive. It causes the best of us to do things we would not ordinarily do until we hear a voice of reason.
        I guess we need to pray and communicate with God to raise for us more voices of reason.

  11. rixlibris says:

    As I have mentioned before, it is my firm belief that in the period following the War Between the States the Federal Government made a concerted and well planned effort to promote unrest between the races. The only purpose for a government to do so would be economic. The freed slaves and the poor whites of the South had everything in common, other than skin color. Were they to have formed a coalition and presented a united front they could have controlled the circumstances of their employment much as did the union movement in the industrial North a few years later. D. W. Griffith’s 1915 silent film, “Birth of a Nation”, as difficult as it is to watch, points out in its hyperbolic way the type of atmosphere reconstruction fostered. It is a classic example of divide and conquer. The same or similar mind set once ruled in South Africa and Rhodesia to the same effect. The film is three hours long and is painful to watch but, in case you have an interest, here it is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=302YMeiDSrI

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