aside Reblog Of Padre Steve’s Post Responding To General Kelly’s Narrative About The Civil War

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I have had conflicting thoughts about the president’s Chief Of Staff General John Kelly’s publicly stated lies about the history of the Civil War. This commentary presented during a FOX TV interview, followed his recent public misrepresentation of US Representative Frederica Wilson (D-FL) who is a a close family friend of the Gold Star widow, Myeshia Johnson. His description of Ms. Wilson’s actions at a 2015 event has been proven false by a video depicting the entire event.

Jon Schwartz in a 10/21/17 Intercept post says that this is what the chief of staff should have said: “The president is deeply concerned by news reports that he miscommunicated his condolences when speaking with Sgt. Johnson’s (who lost his life in Niger on 10/4) wife Myeshia. He hopes to talk to her again as soon as she feels able, to apologize and make this right. And while he would have preferred that Rep. Frederica Wilson had not spoken publicly about what he intended to be a private call, he appreciates her personal connection to Sgt. Johnson and that she is mourning his loss as well.”

“Instead, (General) Kelly engaged in a Trumpian scorched-earth attack   against (Rep.) Wilson, claiming to be appalled that she had “listened in” on the conversation — when she could not have avoided hearing it while in a car in which it was on speakerphone — and making up a story about her statements at a public appearance in 2015.”

“And he interspersed all this with remarks about how women, life, and religion used to be “sacred” in America but are no longer – and hence “there’s nothing in our country anymore” that indicates that it’s worthy of sacrifice.” (Echoes of “Make America Great Again”)

The following post helped me to put my thoughts into perspective. It is a reblog from “Padre Steve’s World…Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland.”

On November 1, 2017, Padre Steve penned the following piece as a response to the republican President Donald J. Trump’s Chief of Staff General John F. Kelly’s revisionist “fake news” details about the “Civil War.”  His post is titled, “”Some Civil War Reading for those Who Dare Question Trump, Kelly, and Sanders”

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

“I am still appalled at the remarks made by President Trump’s Chief of Staff on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News propaganda broadcast the other night. In my view a man whose military career was marked by honorable service has destroyed his reputation over the past month in defending the indefensible words and actions of President Trump. In doing that he also went to where no knowledgeable person should go in his remarks about the Civil War and the traitorous Confederate General Robert E. Lee. According to Kelly the war was simply due to an inability to compromise, disregarding decades of compromise by slavery opponents beginning with the 3/5ths rule which allowed Slave States which had far fewer white citizens than Free States to count their slaves as 3/5ths of a person to increase their representation in the House of Representatives and many other compromises, all of which benefited slave owners, Slave States, and businesses in the South and North who all profited from slavery.”

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“The fact that Kelly also defended Confederate General Robert E. Lee, a man whose life has been baptized in myth for a century and a half, and was backed up by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and the previous words of the President who called the White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis whose march in Charlottesville resulted in the deaths of one counter-protester and two Virginia State Troopers “good people.”

“Like General Kelly I am a military and combat veteran of over 30 years of service, and though I didn’t know him at the time our careers crossed paths in 2000-2001 in the Second Marine Division at Camp LeJeune North Carolina. That being said I have more post-graduate education than the retired General, I am a historian, and I also have completed the same level of Joint Professional Military Education as Kelly. In addition my first book, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: Race, Religion, Ideology, and Politics in the Civil War Era, which hopefully will be published in the next year deals extensively with the subject of slavery and Southerner’s inability to compromise as the chief cause of the Civil War will show that I actually have the gravitas to tell the retired General, the Press Secretary, or the President, that on this subject they should not make idiots of themselves by spouting such moronic and historically unsupportable comments.”

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“But I don’t want my readers to just take my word for it. Here is a reading list of reputable and non-politically ideological historians and their works which demonstrate my points. So here they are in no particular order:”

“Battlecry of Freedom by James McPherson which is the definite one volume treatment of the era. It is followed by Allen Guelzo’s Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War, and David Goldfield’s America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation. But there are more…”

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“Eric Foner’s “Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction”, David Blight’s Beyond the Battlefield: Race Memory, and the American Civil War, and Charles Lane’s The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction are equally important in understanding how slavery and racism were paramount issues in what caused the conflict and the events following it. Of course one cannot forget the Autobiography of Frederick Douglass when contemplating the causes of the war in regards to race and slavery. Meanwhile Stephanie McCurry’s Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South helps readers to understand the domestic politics of the Confederacy. Likewise, Elizabeth Pryor’s Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee helps bust the myth of Lee using his own words.”

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“But religion in the South had a profound impact on the war, principally because Southern religious leaders were in the forefront of the support of slavery and the push for secession, and Michael Snay’s Gospel of Disunion: Religion and Separatism in the Antebellum South is one of a number of books that demonstrate the importance that pro-slavery and pro-secession leaders ascribed to Religion and their view that God had ordained slavery and created blacks as less than human.”

“Less known stories are told by Brian Jordan in his book Marching Home: Union Veterans and their Unending Civil War, and Noah Andre Trudeau’s Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War are especially important in light of the vast numbers of books that extol the Confederate Army and its soldiers.”

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“If one wants to read collections of essays from individuals, politicians, and the press regarding the causes of the war and what happened afterward the must read collections include James Lowen’s The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The “Great Truth” about the “Lost Cause”,William Gienapp’s The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection and the New York Times collection Disunion: Modern Historians Revisit and Reconsider the Civil War From Lincoln’s Election to the Emancipation Proclamation.”

“I could recommend quite a few more books and collections but I think this is enough for now. Reading books like these helps to discourage ignorance and makes one accountable for what they say about history, especially when people like Kelly, Sanders, and Trump, try to misuse it as a weapon to advance falsehoods and buttress unconscionable and unconstitutional ideas. I do have a draft of an article about Robert E. Lee that I will do some more work with before I publish it here, but honestly, the man is not one that any officer should aspire to be like, despite the myth that surrounds him.”

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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13 comments

  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ‘In my view a man whose military career was marked by honorable service has destroyed his reputation over the past month in defending the indefensible words and actions of President Trump. ‘
    … in my view, Kelly crossed the line and went into the gutter with Drumpf. There will be no recovery from this for his credibility and ‘honor’ … but that’s just me!!

    • Dear Horty,

      I’m with you. General Kelly has crossed a line. His public verbalization of his inaccurate rendition of the Civil War narrative is similar to what a White supremacist would say..

      I am reminded of this Maya Angelou quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”.This is the stance that I am taking.

      Thanks a million times over for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

  2. Gronda, I was reading that Sarah Huckabee-Sanders defended Kelly by using the words of historian Shelby Foote from Ken Burns’ “The Civil War.” Burns’ himself was critical of Kelly and Sanders saying while there were other contributing factors, of course, the Civil War was about slavery. This whitewashing of history (pun intended), is part of the build-up of white supremacy. Mainstream society should know better. What’s next – the rationalization of the removal and killing of the Native American or Jim Crow lynchings and put downs? Keith

    • Dear Keith.

      For me, General crossed a line when he went public with his revisionist history of the “Civil War.” Like you said, he was detailing the Civil War story that one would expect to hear from a White supremacist..

      When I see this fruit that is rotten, I can’t help but question if he isn’t dealing with racist tendencies.

      From the Marine Corp’s own website, “The officer’s oath acts as another safeguard against power corruption by not swearing obedience to the president or other officials, but rather to the Constitution. As a result of these two, our military is capable of having people like Thompson, who can correct situations where the military is being misused without fear of punishment for their actions.”.

      “Giving the individual Marine responsibility for judging orders as right or wrong keeps our service members accountable and helps keeps our honor clean as a professional warfighting organization.”.

      I now think of General Kelly as an enabler of President Trump instead of a protector of our US constitution.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Agreed. At some point, cooler heads will need to do an intervention. They need to be up to the task. Trump will go down in flames and take everything with him. Somebody will need to tell him for the good of the country, he needs to resign before he is impeached.

  3. I would add to that impressive list another of Allen Guelzo’s books ‘Gettysburg. The Last Invasion’ which cities the seizure of local African Americans as mere booty to be taken South and sold into slavery.
    One should always refer to history carefully. Particularly in the case of the Civil War which was littered with follies, petty rivalries, opportunistic vanities and of course downright brutalities on both sides and which were paid for in blood and misery. In the final analysis very few of the major figures come out favourably.

    • Dear Roger,

      Your analysis is accurate as always except for my belief that the outcome was the right one. But we are still dealing with the fallout from this war as racists, many in the South, attempt to keep hold of pre- Civil War prejudices.

      We have made progress but we still have a long way to go to rid ourselves from the scourge of slavery in our US history.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Indeed. You need only pick amongst the myriad of political and social groups across Europe to see that some folk will just not let go of their blinkered view that theirs was the only innocent one to have suffered so very much.

  4. The underlying reason for American civil war was economic primarily. Of course slavery was a main issue, wealthy southern plantation/ landowners wanted to hold on to free labor via slavery. The northern states wanted to level the playing field and abolish this “unfair advantage” using the pretext of human rights and equality for all mankind.

    I’ve learned that throughout history, politic’s underlying motives are always financially colored, pun intended.

    It seems the rift is growing between left and right, neighbor vs neighbor: Rand Paul was severely beaten at his own home over political disagreement with leftist neighbor!

    https://thehornnews.com/outrage-rand-paul-severely-beaten-home/

  5. Dear 1EarthUnited,

    For various sites that monitor for fake news, The Horn News website has a poor reputation.

    I have to respectfully and strongly disagree with your thesis which is off the mark. The historian who wrote the above post has credibility and he has recommended many sources. Roger made an excellent recommendation.

    To try to explain a part of history which is complicated, nuanced in a few sentences, is simply lacking/ inadequate. Of course economics was a factor, but it is one factor out of numerous others.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Roger, Gronda, et al, a few thoughts after reading the comments. I find some similarities in the fighting in the Civil War and World War I. The incompetence of the Generals led to a brutal slaughter of so many men, especially on the North side during the Civil War. It is sad that men (and I am sure women) lost their lives by becoming cannon fodder and something to aim at. WWI was equally brutal by the similar proximity of the soldiers.

      If we want to set aside the humanity, slavery is all about economics. Assets that need only be maintained were used as key parts of an economy in the South. The poor men who fought on the South were sold a bill of goods by the richer slave owners that this was more about states’ rights. I find that to be political subterfuge to get them to fight on their behalf. They may have been less inclined to fight otherwise.

      Between imprisoning former slaves on petty crimes after the war for prison labor to unseating elected Black officials to KKK and Jim Crow, the demonization and exploitation of Blacks continued. It is indicative of Jim Crow that more than half the monuments were built well after the Civil War. Keith

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