Marshall Rooster Cogburn: …you can forget about your duty.
Eula Goodnight: Your own General Lee thought it was the most beautiful word in the English language.
Marshall Rooster Cogburn: What the devil do you know of General Lee?
Eula Goodnight: That he was a christian gentleman who was soundly whipped in the field by Yankees!
Rooster Cogburn 1975
As a general rule I’m opposed to playing games with history and reality. History is what it is and a lot of trouble happens when you try to fiddle with it for the sake of an agenda. That basis also is sufficient to oppose removing the confederate monuments in the south, much better, in my opinion to put up other monuments near and/or with them and explain how and why these folks thought what they thought, why they choose to fight and what the general condition of both American and world culture was so people understand how a nation’s decision to kick the slavery can down the road for 60 years led to a destructive Civil War. And given our current situation lessons on how to avoid such a war might be a pretty good idea.
But there is one more point that I think overrides all of these considerations in my mind and should be taken into account by all those self righteous virtue signaling folk trying to use this to raise their own political profile by playing the “triggered” card.
There were hundreds of thousands of Union causalities in the civil war. According to the US Parks service over 340,000 died (over 110K in battle). Furthermore another 275,000 were wounded meaning tens of thousands of US soldiers spent the rest of their lives maimed because of the various generals honored by those statues and the troops who served under them.
Yet not only didn’t those Union Soldiers begrudge the south honoring those who tried to kill them or succeeded in crippling them, but the elected representatives of the Union survivors not only felt no need to force the removal of said monuments but were perfectly happy to vote honors in those directions even though:
- The southern states never at any time held a congressional majority
- The Union vets and their children were a significant voting block that drove elections nationally for decades.
- After the Civil war no southerner occupied the White House until every single Civil War Vet from both sides was dead and said southerner (LBJ) only became president due to Kennedy’s assassination.
Why didn’t they care? I suspect it was because they understood that the south had lost the war and lost it big time.
Again turning to park service numbers out of a population of 5.5 non slaves the south suffered over 483,000 casualties, nearly a tenth of the entire population. Over 194,000 confederate soldiers came home wounded and when they did come home they found cities destroyed, their countryside practically picked clean by the armies that had slaughtered and maimed their military age population and found that their wealth had been drained faster than a sink unclogged by liquid plumber.
The Union vets and their children were wise enough to understand that no monument even if carved of the best marble or stone whether in a city square or on the side of a mountain could change the fact that the south in general and the southern armies in particular were thoroughly and utterly defeated.
To my mind if the children of those union soldiers, not to mention the men themselves who were targeted for death and destruction by the subjects of those figures depicted in those statues, weren’t offended enough by them to force their removal how much less of a claim do we have generations later to be so offended that those monuments must go?
Let em keep their rocks.
Update: A pretty good counter argument here