Friday, April 09, 2010

Happy Appomattox Day

If SpongeBob SquarePants has taught me anything, it's that I can celebrate any holiday I want.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) has gone a step further though. With his authority he has proclaimed April to be Confederate History Month in the state of Virginia. But somehow, in the excitement of the festivities, he forgot to mention slavery. Actually, he didn't forget, but he didn't think slavery was "significant" enough. Huh?

It's a grave distortion of the past to recognize Confederate history without mentioning slavery. Let's just make this clear: the American Civil War was about slavery. Just take a moment to read the Declarations of Secession of Southern States:

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.”

South Carolina:

We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.


The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic.


Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits– a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy.
Yes Virginia, the American Civil War was about slavery. Don't let Gov. McDonnell and his white supremacist friends tell you it was about independence, taxes, or the other common canard, "states' rights." Confederates supported fugitive slave laws requiring the federal government to assist in the capture and return of runaway slaves in all states. To hell with states' rights, right?

The Confederate States of America was formed to defend an ideology and an economy built around owning black people. And as you all know, the Confederate States lost.
The Appomattox Campaign was a series of battles fought March 29 – April 9, 1865, in Virginia that culminated in the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and the effective end of the American Civil War.
Hey McDonnell, I would be fine letting the events of 145 years ago remain in the past, but you guys keep bringing them up as a point of pride. How can you be proud of what the Confederacy stood for? Whether you're honestly proud or not, it's pathetically clear that you are pandering to a racist constituency.

So let me just say, "I'm glad your side lost." Oh, and happy Appomattox Day. The Union kicked your ass.


Trung said...

your blog entry was quite good. to me, governor mcdonnell's omission of slavery is akin to mel gibson and his father denying the holocaust. it's as if by ignoring it, the event never took place. also, should we not be surprised that none of the tea party people expressed any outrage?

Kristen said...

Good point about the teabaggers.

The Daily show did a good piece on Virginia's Confederate History Month. The Union Victory commemorative chess set looks cool.

Roberta said...

Can you effin believe that people till this day claim that the civil war was much more complicated and was more about state's rights than it was slaver? umm.. hello!! it was about them wanting to retain the rights to keep slaves. it says so right in their formal declarations. i just want to sock these people right in the face.