What should happen at Charlottesville?

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There is a statue of Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia. Robert E Lee was a general in the Confederate Army in the American Civil War. The Confederate States of America existed as a breakaway from the USA from 1861 to 1865. Why did these states secede from  United States? They did so for states’ rights; so their apologists claim. They wanted a state’s right to do what? To deny all rights to black people. The Confederacy existed to permit black people to be dehumanised. It was a society based on the frankest exploitation. It was built on the grossest injustice.

Robert E Lee owned people and he treated them like animals. He authorised the whipping of his workers. A man who holds others in servitude is not a good person. Lee was offered the command of the Union forces but said, “I cannot turn my hand against Virginia”.  He was given the chance to serve a moral cause but decided to fight for evil. It is true that the Union was not pledged to abolish slavery at the outbreak of the Civil War but only to save the Union. In the middle of the War Lincoln decided that slavery must be abolished throughout America. By then it was patent that this was freedom versus slavery. Lee served the cause of keeping people in servitude.

The Confederate States of America were never recognised as a nation by any other. It was a non sovereign entity. The CSA was in rebellion against the USA. CSA soldiers were fighting illegally. They would not be called terrorists. They wore uniforms and behaved like a conventional army but still they were terrorists by law.

Lee may have been a good family man and generous to his friends. This could be said of many a wicked person. Lee was a very effectual general. He was also an honourable soldier; not ordering any atrocities. However, he served a rotten cause. There can be no evading that salient fact.

Many African-Americans take the gravest possible exception to images of Confederate generals being in public squares. Quite a few non-blacks concur. The Confederate colours have been removed from many state flags which previously included them.

There is now a popular campaign to have the state of General Lee removed. Some white supremacists have foregathered in this town to insist that the state of Lee was remain in situ.

Who are the doughtiest defenders of Confederate imagery? These tend to be white nationalists. White nationalists are anti black in many cases. President Trump has perfervid support amongst these hate groups. The Ku Klux Klan is fervently pro Trump. President Trump has been slow to denounce the most notorious hate group in the United States. The KKK is a terrorist organisation. It ought to be outlawed.

One could say that Lee ought to be judged as a man of his time. By the 1860s most white Americans realised that slavery was totally unfair. Lee was behind the times as were most Southern whites.

Lee is exalted as a champion of whites. Lee killed more whites than any other man in America. The illogic and idiocy of white supremacists is laid bare. The anti-gay and anti-Semitic chants of these fiends showed what they are like.

I tend to oppose the removal of historic monuments. Lee is a significant figure in American History. There are many historical personalities who did things which are very tendentious or indeed now recognised to be totally unethical. It would be silly to remove all such likenesses of these people.

I sympathise with those who believe that the suffering of slaves need to be recognised. The real heroes are the likes of Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner.

Although I do not want Lee’s statue to be taken away I do not wish to be associated with the monsters of the KKK and their ilk. Their utter turpitude inclines me to think that perhaps Lee ought to be taken away and plonked in a musuem just to spite such foul beasts. No one should be mistreated on account of his or her colour. If Lee was removed I would not care overmuch. He holds no emotional purchase on me. I am concerned about the precedent. Where will it end?

There are reasons for Southern pride. These can be cuisine, cooking, architecture, sports, literature, the plastic arts, music and the like. The CSA is nothing to be proud of. Yes, there were valiant men on that side and they achieved some martial feats. Good causes and iniquitous ones have been served by courageous people.

Trump has vacillated on the issue. He talked about violence on all sides. There was only violence on that of the white supremacists. Duke is right that racists put Trump in the White House. These white supremacists in Charlottesville spoke up for Dr Assad who has butchered so many civilians. Do these anti Muslim bigots know that Assad is a Muslim?

Trump seems to equate Black Lives Matter with the KKK. I do not entirely agree with BLM but there is no doubt that they are immeasurably better than the KKK. BLM is multi racial whereas the KKK is an anti black criminal fraternity of cowards and sadists.

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About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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