A Simple Fact Those Who Defend Confederate Monuments Won’t Want to Hear

I’m a born and bred Texan who’s lived in the Lone Star State my entire life, which means I’m well-versed in what it means to be a “southerner.” It also means I’ve grown up seeing, firsthand, southern racism and the glorification of the Confederacy by those who like to lie to themselves concerning what the Civil War was really about.

Spoiler alert: it was mostly about keeping and expanding slavery.

For many southerners, they see the push to remove various statues and monuments honoring the Confederacy as an “attack on their heritage.” You see, in the South, many people are raised to believe that the Confederate flag is a symbol of “southern pride and heritage,” not the symbol of hate, racism, and oppression that it really is. Many truly believe that the Civil War was about nothing more than “states’ rights” and the North trying to screw over southerners.

That’s why so many of today’s conservatives have such a strong distrust of our government. It’s all tied to the anti-government mindset dating back to the days of the Civil War and “northern aggression.”

So while I know it’s easy for people who aren’t from (or who’ve never lived in) the South to easily dismiss the debate over Confederate statues and monuments as “racists vs. non-racists,” for quite a few, it really does go much deeper than all of that.

The truth of the matter is, these damn statues and monuments should have never existed in the first place.

The vast majority of them weren’t built until decades after the war, mostly in states where segregation was legal, the KKK flourished, and African Americans, while no longer slaves, were still denied many of their rights as Americans. These were symbols that were constructed by racists who were honoring other racists who fought to keep slavery legal — many of whom probably still wished it was.

Ignoring the spin some people have put on it, let’s just be honest about what the Confederacy was: a treasonous uprising against the United States.

These men fought for states that betrayed this country and ultimately attacked a U.S. military fort in a move that started the war. Over 110k members of the United States military were killed in combat by Confederate forces, while another 250k died from various diseases during the war.

Think about that for a moment, roughly 360k members of the United States military died — 110k in combat — at the hands of traitors who fought a war against this country.

Please, tell me, where’s the “logic” in honoring men who were part of a rebellion against this country that resulted in the deaths of 360k members of the U.S. military?

Question: Would these folks who defend the Confederacy support monuments being built to honor particular individuals from 13 states controlled by liberals who led a treasonous betrayal of this country, who then attacked a U.S. military base, triggering a four-year war that ultimately resulted in 360k American troop deaths?

Of course not — because you don’t erect statues or monuments to honor traitors!

Except that’s exactly what the Confederacy did and what these various statues and monuments are doing.

The common misconception among those who defend public symbols honoring the Confederacy is that those of us who oppose them are trying to erase part of our history. That couldn’t be further from the truth. All we’re saying is that the Confederacy should be discussed in museums, history classes, or books, not honored publicly.

The main reason we’re even having the debate over whether or not these statues and monuments to the Confederacy should be removed is because, decades ago, they were wrongfully allowed to be built in the first place. No matter how any of these Confederate defenders want to spin the truth, the indisputable facts are that the Confederacy was a treasonous rebellion against the United States of America that resulted in the deaths of roughly 360k members of the U.S. military — 110k killed in combat by Confederate soldiers.

So what I hear when someone tells me they believe we should keep these monuments honoring the Confederacy is that they think it’s acceptable to honor traitors to this country.

As I’ve said before, honoring the Confederacy is like honoring Nazi Germany or any other hate group — because that’s the truth.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Facebook to let me know if you agree or disagree.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • john

    Are you saying that all members of the Confederate Army were traitors and supported slavery?

    • Kathleen Sullivan

      John, nowhere in this article did he make your suggested statement.

      • strayaway

        The word “all” was not used. Otherwise, those who fought for the Confederacy are described as “traitors” in this article. While I agree that siding with the Confederacy was a betrayal of Union sentiment, the author does not consider other possible overriding motivations confederate soldiers’ descendants might have. For instance, many other Americans are similarly proud of their Viking, Mongol, Irish, or other ancestors not because they approved of their ancestors’ atrocities but because they are proud of their ancestors’ bravery, ferocity, defiance and accomplishments. Teams get named after them; Vikings, Spartans, Buccaneers, Fighting Irish etc..

        While I’m sort of ok with the author’s use of the word “traitor”, it is notable that he did not include confederate war deaths as being American war deaths. He probably meant Union rather than American but still This article does not share the magnanimity and forgiveness offered by Grant and Lincoln to confederate troops after the Civil War. Its unlikely that today’s progressives would similarly let a contemporary General Lee move on to be a college president.

  • John Shaw

    The southern flag on the badge of a gray uniform meant treason and rebellion in 1861 and that is what it means now. I want it to be distinctly understood now and for all time that the men who wore the gray were eternally and eveverlastingly wrong and the men who wore the blue were eternally and everlastingly right. General John Peter shindel gobin United States Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic.

  • strayaway

    Local government usually have the right to make such decisions. Perhaps other communities will choose to replace names like Obama and FDR from public edifices. That too would be the right of local communities. However, the llegal tearing down statues of Gen. Lee or FDR should be punished.

    This is not something new. The Bible records ancient Israelis obliterating its enemies’ sacred sights. William of Orange and Roundheads broke the windows out of Roman Catholic churches and smashed statues within. ISIS, not US progressives, is today’s world champion of smashing statues. Legal or otherwise, those who burn books or otherwise obliterate symbols they disagree with are spiritual birds of a feather. They all claim to have overriding reasons.