A Southern Gal’s Response to Charlottesville Riots

Most people are horrified by the violence in Charlottesville. Most Americans are embarrassed by a mealy-mouthed response from the Federal Government to Nazi’s and heavily armed White Supremacist’s in riot gear marching in the streets. But not everybody. And not everybody is comfortable with removing monuments.

People who think like the President, and argue that there are “good people” protesting because we are destroying their heritage and “proud memories” are missing the point. They are missing ALL the points.

A tortured discussion has taken place in the New South. The decision to remove symbols and memorials to the Confederacy was not reached in a flash of insight. We have argued and debated and discussed and voted. The choice comes after years of discussion about what should and should not be memorialized.

We are not sanitizing or changing history. We are recognizing the truth of our history. We declare an end to lingering resentment and false memories of glory. We will no longer support lies about who and what the Confederacy was, how it came about and what it did to our ancestors.

We don’t support the ideology that fostered the Civil War. We don’t believe humans have rights to enslave other humans. We don’t respect a lifestyle and economy of slavery and oppression. We do not want our children and grandchildren to think we sanction or glorify a war of succession fought to maintain an economy dependent on enslaving 12% of the population. We do not want to foster more lingering resentment and false memories.

To those who say taking down the monuments disrespects, dishonors or sanitizes national heritage and destroys ‘proud memories’ of our past,

I SAY:

(1) Nobody alive has ANY memories of the Civil War.

(2) 620,000 soldiers died from combat, accident, starvation, and disease during the Civil War. That’s more Americans than died in both World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam combined. This amounted to 2 percent of the population at the time, which would be the equivalent to about 6 million Americans dying today. Diarrhea, typhoid fever, lung inflammation, dysentery, and childhood diseases like chicken pox were the cause of 67 percent of the deaths. And if those numbers aren’t bad enough, new estimates suggest that the death total may be higher.

(3) 20% of the soldiers were children (under 18 years of age)

(4) Government spending tripled and cost of the war was $6.9 billion (equivalent of $146 Billion today)

(5) South had $10 Billion dollars loss in property damage and 20% of livestock was destroyed.

(6) Prior to the war – 12.6% of our population was enslaved – that is 3,953,761 people.

(7) Prior to the war – 6% of Southern White Americans enslaved people, a total 1.4 % of white Americans enslaved people and 3,000 nonwhite Americans enslaved 20,000 people.

(8)The War of the Confederacy was fought by those who enslaved people for the benefit of those who enslaved people – and they forced those who did not enslave people to fight their war and die for them. “Numbers of white southerners also refused to support the Confederacy. From the beginning, there were factions who vehemently disagreed with secession and remained loyal to the Union. Many poor southern whites became disillusioned during the course of the war. Wealthy planters had been granted exemptions from military service early on. This became especially inflammatory when the South instituted the draft in 1862 and the exemptions remained in place. It became clear to many poor southern whites that the war was being waged by the rich planters and the poor were fighting it. In addition, the common people were hit hard by wartime scarcity. By 1863, there was a food shortage. Riots and strikes occurred as inflation soared and people became desperate.”-PBS The Civil War

I SAY ENOUGH FALSE HONOR. Let us replace our celebratory monuments to “Confederacy Leaders” with symbols of what really happened and why it happened. Let our artists create new symbols and memorials for our children. Let us teach them how the descendants of Confederate leaders and the people they oppressed have grown and changed and created a new prosperity based on human collaboration, mutual respect and dignity, not human oppression and enslavement.

A Southern Gal’s Response https://t.co/ruuTFf79KP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *