Over at The Gift That Keeps On Giving, a member posted a link to this article from the News-Press, a paper in Southwest Florida, which includes Fort Myers. The article, written by a person named Quentin Fairchild, has such gems as, “Rebuking the spirit of respect and reconciliation practiced by Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt, local NAACP President James Muwakkil has decided to cast his stone at the portrait of Robert E. Lee hanging on the wall of the Old County Courthouse. But if our county commission were to give in to his demand and remove the painting, would they not be surrendering to a destructive logic that would also bring down the county that bears Lee’s name and countless other markers to our history and heritage?”
Oh, do tell us: “During the war, there was no greater collaboration in the Confederacy than that between Lee and Stonewall Jackson, but right here in Downtown Fort Myers, Lee and Jackson Streets still run side-by-side as if the war had never ended. Must these roads be renamed? Must our county commissioners lie awake at night worrying that someday Mr. Muwakkil will realize that Fort Myers was named for Abraham Myers, who during the Civil War served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Confederate Army?”
So let’s see, now. Let’s say the two streets are renamed. So what? How about Fort Myers? It appears as though Fort Myers was named in the 1830s, well before the Civil War. But let’s humor him. Let’s say Fort Myers gets renamed. So what? What does that “bring down?”
The author is just warming up, though: “He tells us that Lee’s portrait ‘is a symbol of racism,’ but if we hunt after all the old ghosts of American history, we will find buried everywhere we look the bones of white racism. The Civil War was a war for independence fought by a slave-holding republic, but then so was the Revolutionary War, as a slave-holding general named George Washington led an army from 13 slave-holding colonies. Should we dynamite the slave-holding half of Mount Rushmore to meet the modern moral standards of Mr. Muwakkil? Will he demand drone strikes on the Washington Monument?” Well, Mr. Fairchild doesn’t understand the history he’s writing about. The confederacy specifically seceded and was formed to preserve slavery and white supremacy, so those who fought for it were automatically fighting for those twin goals. The United States was not formed in order to preserve slavery and white supremacy, so his analogy falls apart.
Mr. Fairchild continues to mischaracterize history: “Slavery is an incomprehensible evil to all of us, but wouldn’t it have been as common to Lee as abortion and migrant wage slavery appear to us today? Do we hold, say, General Petraeus responsible for our country’s current moral failings?” Again, the confederacy’s goal in attempting to be independent was to preserve slavery and white supremacy. The United States was not formed or is fighting in Afghanistan in order to preserve abortion or the treatment of migrant workers.
So, where does the racism come in? In the reactions in the SHPG to this article, to wit:
The next genius contributes, “Yeah. It starts with reading ‘Uncle Toms Cabin’. Followed up by watching ‘Roots’, ‘Mississippi Burning’ and the Spike Lee collection. Probably has a section devoted to ‘national heroes’ such as Trayvon Martin, Rodney King, and OJ.”
Then we have, “I haven’t visited the “Peace Monument” in 12 years. There is no peace and those who can’t see that should see their opthamologist [sic] asap. History is no longer studied objectively. Most contemporary historians are lying sacks of **** who have agendas or have been brainwashed since childhood. I have as much use for them as the last piece of cow manure that I stepped in. I have come to realize that this country won’t be around much longer and that the only good thing I can say about that is that when it finally happens I probably won’t be around to see it. And finally, I have come to the conclusion that 150 years ago, the wrong side won.”
Followed by: “Yes, the public schools do still teach ‘History’-their form of it. Unfortunately there is so much either changed or left out that the only thing that parents that want their children to know the truth can do is to make sure to teach their children (and any others that will listen) the truth (or homeschool them like we have chosen to do)”
Gee, why would anyone think these folks had racist tendencies?
Here are a couple of other gems on the same thread:
“It’s revisionist history designed to steer the thinking into one particular direction. Example: The Civil War was fought because the Southern states wanted to maintain slavery therefore they rebelled against the US govt by seceding. They seceded because Lincoln was elected President and he was going to free the slaves. Lincoln fought the war because he believed that all people should be free. Therefore if you’re of Confederate heritage you should be ashamed because your ancestors were white supremacists who wanted to enslave an entire race of people. Another example: The Great Depression was caused because the Republicans were in charge of both the White House and Congress. They were a bunch of rich fat cats who only cared about their wealthy pals. But Franklin D Roosevelt was elected and he saved America from the Depression by instituting the New Deal.” Notice that this person has heard the truth but has decided in his own mind that he’s not going to believe what the secessionists themselves have said about why they were seceding. I guess he thinks they were all a bunch of liars. Then he advances a strawman regarding Lincoln and then shows that he gets his personal identity from people who lived 150 years ago and whom he never met rather than establishing his own identity. I won’t comment on his view of the Great Depression, or rather what he fancies is the view of historians regarding the Great Depression.
Finally, there is this laugher: “Gettysburg is one of the BIGGEST celebrations of Union victory and tyranny going. I wouldn’t go there on a bet.” A celebration of tyranny? LOL You can’t make this stuff up, folks.