“Time to Oblterate the Marks of Civil Strife and the Feelings of Oblivion the Feelings it Engendered”  


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Just a short post today because I have become weary of cyber-battles with neo-Confederates and Alt-Right Nazis. That is not to say that I won’t stop fighting them, but don’t have a lot of energy to put into this post because of those battles. I guess it could be worse, I could be tired because I had spent the day getting real bullets fired at me by these people’s Confederate and Nazi ancestors. I have been shot at in combat by Iraqi insurgents, and no it is not fun, especially when you are the only guy there without a weapon. That being said, my ancestors on both sides of my family fought for the Confederacy, and those on my paternal side were slave owners, Confederate officers, and unrepentant rebels who would not reconcile themselves to the defeat of the Confederacy. 

Unlike my ancestors, Confederate General James Longstreet was honest with himself and to the causes of the war. He wrote this in 1867:

“The surrender of the Confederate armies in 1865 involved: 1. The surrender of the claim to the right of secession. 2. The surrender of the former political relations of the negro. 3. The surrender of the Southern Confederacy. These issues expired on the fields last occupied by the Confederate armies. There they should have been buried. The soldier prefers to have the sod that receives him when he falls cover his remains. The political questions of the war should have been buried upon the fields that marked their end.” 

I am going to write about my rather nuanced view of statues dedicated to Confederate soldiers or leaders in the next few days. I had a really good, and lengthy discussion today with a fellow officer and friend about that subject. When I write it my words will probably not make anyone completely happy because I am not an absolutist in my views. While I reject what my ancestors fought for I also know that there were Confederate soldiers who were drafted against their will, Southerners like George Thomas and John Buford, who fought for the Union, and Northerners who fought political battles against Abraham Lincoln and wanted the South to win its independence because it would be good for business, and because they were as racist as the most rabid slave power secessionist. There were also Confederates who after their defeat, including James Longstreet, John Mosby, and Billy Malone who reconciled with the United States, recanted their secessionist views, and were demonized as if they were Judas Iscariot by the leaders of the Lost Cause cult because they did so. 

Robert E. Lee, who as so many statues in his honor including the one in Charlottesville that the Neo-Nazis supposedly went to defend, made this comment regarding such things, he was not in favor of them because he did not think it wise to keep open the wounds of war. He said:

“I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.” 

The neo-Confederates would be wise to heed to his words and those of James Longstreet. 

But I’ll leave that until I write that article. 

Peace

Padre Steve+ 

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6 Comments

Filed under civil rights, civil war, ethics, History, Military, News and current events, Political Commentary

6 responses to ““Time to Oblterate the Marks of Civil Strife and the Feelings of Oblivion the Feelings it Engendered”  

  1. David A. Budka

    I am sorry people treated you in a mean fashion over this issue. It has been a tough one for me because I have had it hammered through my head to be tolerant, understanding, and forgiving since childhood. So I get beat up trying to understand Redneck Bubba or some old dead generals. That doesn’t mean I approve of slavery, racism, or Nazism.
    You confirmed something that I heard on ABC radio news this afternoon: Robert E. Lee wasn’t crazy about raising statues to the Confederacy. However, I can live with or without Confederate flags or statues. Like the one poor woman’s father said, “Can’t we just forgive each other?” That is a paraphrase.
    I feel like we are moving into a world where morality is becoming increasingly relativistic and gray. I hope you find more supporters than detractors.

    • padresteve

      I have a draft of an article on the statues. I’m going to wait a bit for things to die down before I post it. I’m sure there are absolutists on both sides that will find fault but I think the context of each monument must be taken into account in deciding what to do with it.

      Thanks as always for your thoughts and I do sympathize with you last comment especially.

      Blessings

      Steve+

  2. For some time I’m following this controversy about Confederate related statue.

    Both opposite parties seem to have claimed those statues. One wants them to be removed, others want them to be kept where they are.

    The ‘remove them’ group see them as a symbol for all that what is considered wrong.

    The ‘keep them’ feel that their history is under attack.

    Both parties have a point.

    I do understand that on governmental buildings etc. the Confederate flag has no place.
    The only appropriate flag is the official US flag. The state flag has also a place there.

    Removing statues harbours a danger. The out of sight out of mind attitude comes to mind.

    I just wonder if there is a solution where both groups could agree on.
    What I mean is that there should be place for what and who represented the system of slavery, the scars it left. The division of a society based on the colour of one’s skin.

    The other group should have a part in this, because right or wrong it is also part of their history.

    And it is part of the history of the US as a whole.

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