John Kelly’s Comments on the Civil War and Lee are wrong, wrong, wrong
I know we’re all supposed to genuflect with our hero-worship of veterans and senior generals etc etc etc, but John Kelly’s latest comments have made me lose respect.
Let’s break this out a little.
The Civil War was, in fact, about not wanting to compromise.
What, exactly, where they unwilling to compromise about?
Simply this: Whether or not wealthy private citizens could enslave other people.
Also, whether or not those states dominated by wealthy private citizens who kept fellow human beings enslaved could tear apart our nation in order to preserve their wealth.
That’s it. Don’t take my word for it. Read the actual statements written by the damned for all history legislatures who seceded from the United States. They were the ones who said it was about slavery. It was only many years later that revisionists tried to whitewash that history by claiming it was all about states rights. State’s rights? Their right to do what?
Oh, right. To enslave human beings.
The enduring Lost Cause myth spread by the losers of that war is perfectly illustrated in the near worship of Robert E. Lee. We are told he was an honorable man, who probably deep in his heart opposed slavery, but made the agonizing decision to support his state in the “war between the states.”
In fact, it’s well documented that he personally participated in torture of his own slaves, and ordered further torture of others. He was a military general who let his soldiers round up free black citizens in Pennsylvania and sell them into slavery in the south. His army massacred surrendering Americans soldiers because they were black.
The *compromise* was that the leaders of the rebellion were not tried for treason. The *compromise* was that only ten percent of the voters of the southern states had to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States in order to be readmitted to the union.
John Kelly is smart enough to know his history. Which means he is choosing to elevate a myth that reinforces white supremacy, and he is choosing to continue to eulogize the myth of a man who was responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Excellent essay … Maybe White House Chief of Staff John Kelly should take a refresher course in U.S. history as well as visit Fort Pillow and Andersonville Prison. I would gladly escort him to both.