Posted by: minnow | August 17, 2017

So You Object to the Rewriting of History

And, to the fabricating of truth.

Well, I’m right there with you.  So here are a few HISTORICAL FACTS for those who think the conflict in places like Charlottesville, Baltimore, Helena, and Gainesville is about history, statues, or equally valid points of view:

  • America has never been a pure white nation. Black slaves arrived on our shores in 1619. Spain (Hispanics) had control of what we now call Florida and New Mexico before Europeans landed in Jamestown and in 1691 today’s Texas was a separate Spanish providence. The first Asians landed on our shores around 1750.  And, Native Americans were here before any other people group. Period.
  • The South’s attempt to cede from the Union was an act of treason.
  • Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were not American heroes. They were not great American generals. They do not deserve to be immortalized or honored. They were traitors. Their side lost. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox effectively ended the Civil War. Every single southern state reaffirmed its allegiance to the U. S. Constitution before it was readmitted. The fact Lee was never imprisoned is due to his support of President Johnson’s plans for reconstruction, his vocal approval of the end of slavery, and his original opposition to succession.  Though his citizenship was eventually reinstated, he was never again allowed to vote and some of his property was permanently seized.
  • The descendants of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis have publicly stated  they wish to see the statues of their ancestors removed from the public square and transferred to historical museums where they will be seen in the proper context.
  • History belongs in museums and history books where it can be explained, understood, and a learning tool.
  • And finally, white privilege has less to do with how you treat others than with how you, as a white person, are treated.

If you are white and believe it is time our nation wrestles with the question of race in America you may need to understand your own privilege a bit more before calling yourself an ally. Undoubtedly you do not think you treat others as less than because of the color of their skin, but do you recognize the ways others treat you as more than because of the color of yours? Do you understand how people of color see you in your role as an ally? Did you even consider that question something you should ask yourself?  We must not over advocate on behalf of those society has marginalized. Instead, turn the microphones in our hands over to them. Whenever possible their voices, not ours, need to be heard. So in that spirit, I highly recommend you read and heed these words from Courtney Ariel.

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, the question: “What’s wrong with calling out both sides?” has continually received air time. Consider this question as a response, for what reason are you calling out both sides? Every American must understand–one side arrived in Charlottesville intent on abusing our First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly in order to spread their racist propaganda and carry flags of treason under our flag of freedom. The second group showed up like the soldiers on the shores of Normandy to defend American principles of freedom, equality, justice, and truth. Members from one group shouted racial slurs and hate-filled rhetoric, were armed with knives and guns, carried torches as they chanted and marched, and ultimately plowed a car into a group of peaceful protesters, killing one and injuring at least 19 others. The other group defended (some forcefully pushing back against that which both insulted and assaulted) our Constitution, our national heritage, and individual citizens. There is NO MORAL EQUIVALENCY here.  There are NO EQUALLY VALID talking points.

If these words sound judgmental to you–they are! Hatred, Neo-Nazi propaganda, physical aggression, and domestic terrorism deserve nothing short of our harshest rebuke and our absolute refusal to submit or be intimidated! We do not need a declaration from Congress to know the United States is at WAR.  We are fighting for our national soul.

The outcome of this conflict will not be decided by a single battle. Charlottesville was not a lone skirmish. In words most millennials understand, “winter is coming”. We must decide now on which side we stand. Our silence, our vacillating, and our reluctance to get involved paints us with the same brush strokes history painted the German people after World War II. But we. have. no. excuses. because we. have seen it. before.  We must not allow a racist, narcissistic leader bribe us with the promise of economic growth. We cannot allow this evil to snuff out what most of the world once regarded as a shining city on a hill.

Choose.  Choose this day which god you serve–money or freedom, fear or courage, silent self interest and the spoils of war or the unfettered voice of truth and justice.  Choose where you stand and where you fight.  Choose who you stand beside and what you fight for. Ultimately, this war will be won or lost in the hearts and minds of the American citizen. History is being written. Choose yours.

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