Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Confederate Day

Smithers Minneapolis is one of my favorite bloggers, even though I haven't added him to my blogroll yet. He's one of my favorites because he combines liberalism and bicycling. These are things, along with drinking, that should be combined as often as possible, though obviously not at the same time.

Today, Smithers worries about that portion of the U.S. that still feels it needs to celebrate Confederate Day. Wikipedia is strangely lax on the subject, just giving some variations for the name of the holiday, and listing the days it's celebrated in certain states. What isn't addressed is whether those same states also celebrate Juneteenth (which, in all fairness, is celebrated by Texas...some polite clapping is appropriate). But if there are confederate flags left all over the place from Confederate Day celebrations two weeks earlier, I can't imagine Juneteenth feels all that festive.

What kinds of subjects are best addressed on Confederate Day? Apparently, The Wilson Massacre. Which isn't called a massacre anywhere else on the web except in a speech for Confederate Day. Probably not the Saltville Massacre, which really was a massacre, of black soldiers. After all, you're honoring valiant confederate soldiers and they're still valiant even if they were shooting black soldiers one day and using them as slaves to rebuild buildings the next - heck, it was a way of life, hasn't everyone seen Gone With the Wind? Do they honor the memory of Andersonville? Do they honor the memory of the black prisoners of war that were denied any treatment and/or executed? I know in Front Royal, Virginia, they honor John S. Mosby's executed soldiers (alt), while berating Custer, because I've seen it in my grandmother's photo album. But I don't recall any memorials to those who were lynched in her photos, and Front Royal is suspiciously close to Lynchburg, named after a relative of the man whose name coined the word.

Yes, we're all Americans. And those who celebrate Confederate Day can deny that they're celebrating the oppression of blacks and a legacy of slavery and a fight to maintain a system that, when it failed, deteriorated into some psychotic fear of black male sexuality, worries about tit for tat regarding what amounted to black female sexual slavery, and 100+ subsequent years of bitter, passive-aggressive whinging that manifested as Jim Crow laws, lynchings, KKK rallies, et al...but they are.

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