As an old white guy who grew up in the “Old South”, I really didn’t think a lot about the statues of old white guys in our parks, etc. On the other hand, I remember having total contempt for a small “monument” on the Texas Capitol grounds, “For States Rights and Our Southland.” Not very subtle. I hope it’s not still there.
What is Southern for “Chutzpah”?
Meanwhile, back in the parks, it was easy to understand why the descendants of slaves were offended by the monuments to their ancestors’ oppressors. Ironically, Lee himself opposed erecting monuments.
Also, the descendants of the “Great Men” on the monuments often favored taking them down, while poor whites rioted to defend them. Of course, anyone who knows the history of the South must know that social class was almost as important as race.
The simple historical fact is that the old “Plantocracy”, led by Lee, was a disaster for the South. With hindsight we know that slavery could not survive in the modern world for both economic and cultural reasons, but these generals knew the horrors of war:
“What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world!”
Meanwhile back in the park, poor whites, who might be poorer still, if slavery had not been abolished, lament the “Lost Cause” that had been called a “rich man’s war but a poor man’s fight.”
Two hundred years earlier, the British ruling class went to war with itself in its own civil war from Aug 22, 1642 to Sep 3, 1651.
Less than fifty years after Appomattox, in Europe another aristocracy led by ancient dynasties, could fight another “civil war”, WW1, that was even more destructive and pointless.
While there are wars that seem truly unavoidable, most are simply the products of failed leadership. The Vietnam War and the Second Iraq War are other examples of a total failure of an elite.
The so-called Drug War is another example of a civil war that the elites cannot even acknowledge for what it is. Indeed, it is almost impossible to get anyone to mention it.
Some of the more fatuous talking heads on Fox, who get paid millions of dollars every year, like to pretend that they speak for “the people”, but all they have in common is a devotion to one failed leader.
And today Trump does seem like just another failed leader, but remember he won the Republican nomination by making a stage full of the party “leadership” look like clowns. And now he is the head clown.
The American President used to be called “The Leader of the Free World.” (Pause for tears and laughter), but now…
A few lines from Peter Townsend’s
“Won’t Get Fooled Again” describe it best:
We’ll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song
I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
There’s nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by the bye
And a parting on the left
Is now a parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight…
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
Who can save us… from ourselves?