July 30, 2020
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
Stand Up Against Renaming Military Bases
Today I pass on an essay by my South Carolina friend, historian Gene Kizer, of the Charleston Athenaeum Press. Gene offers up a detailed (and footnoted) article in defense of the current names of the various Army bases that bear the monikers of Confederate generals (including Forts Bragg, Hood, Gordon, Lee, etc.). I have edited it just bit for length, but its message is clear to all Southerners and upright citizens interested in preserving our great heritage and history of military valour. Indeed, as Gene writes, these bases are integral not only to our military history, but they in many ways define it, just as they in many ways define us as a people.
Gene urges each and every one of you to contact your US senators, most especially your Republican senators. And let them know that you oppose the change—sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts—that would remove those historical Confederate names within three years. If you are a member of the VFW, the American Legion, AmVets, or Vietnam Vets, so much the better—identify yourself as such when you contact your senator. If you are a member of a heritage association—the UDC, SCV, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, etc.—let them also know that and that the thousands of voters in your organization are carefully following what happens with this legislation.
Yesterday I contacted the offices of North Carolina Senator Tom Tillis, a member of the Armed Services Committee; while I could not speak with a “live” person in the Washington DC office (I left a message), I was able to speak to a real person in the Raleigh office to express my opposition to name changing…and I mentioned that as a longtime member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans I believed that I was indeed speaking for the 3,000 members in North Carolina, plus wives and children, and additionally, members of the UDC. The assistant took down my information.
But thousands more need to do exactly the same thing: bombard both the state AND national offices with our supplication, and the implication that senators like Tillis in North Carolina and others, just cannot take heritage and military voters for granted: we are watching, and we know that this November’s election will be close. Every vote will, hopefully, count, and our votes can make the difference between victory and defeat.
For North Carolina, here is the telephone contact information for Senator Tillis:
Washington: (202) 224-6342 (be sure to call this number, plus the local ones)
Raleigh: (919) 856-4630
Charlotte: (704) 509-9087
Greenville: (252) 329-0371
Hendersonville: (828) 693-8750
High Point: (336) 885-0685
An email option is also available if you wish to use that method: https://www.tillis.senate.gov/email-me
I urge you to contact Tillis…and other senators; be respectful but firm. We can still win this is if our elected representatives get some backbone… and know that they face ignominious defeat if they continue to play political games and run to the tall grass.
CHARLESTON ATHENAEUM PRESS
Republicans, There Is No
to Defending Southern History
by Gene Kizer, Jr. July 30, 2020
The Republican Party has committed a major unforced error by backing Elizabeth Warren's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which changes the names of United States Army bases in the South named for Confederate officers.
That mistake could cost Republicans the election, which promises to be close.
Republicans may now lose the electoral votes of some or all of the following states because changing Confederate named bases in the South right before the election, which is just 95 days away as of July 30, will put a horribly bad taste in the mouths of millions of Republican voters, and Democrats are sure to make that taste as close to raw sewage as they can get with constant hate and agitation on the issue:
1) Texas, where two bases are located: Fort Hood near Killeen, and Camp Maxey, near Paris.
2) Virginia, a purple state with four bases: Fort A. P. Hill, near Bowling Green; Fort Lee, in Prince George County; Camp Pendleton, in Virginia Beach; and Fort Pickett, near Blackstone.
3) North Carolina, a purple state where Fort Bragg is located, near Fayetteville.
4) Georgia, where two forts are located: Fort Benning, near Columbus; and Fort Gordon, near Grovetown.
5) Louisiana, where two bases are located: Camp Beauregard, near Pineville; and Fort Polk, near Leesville.
6) Alabama, where Fort Rucker is located, in Dale County.
President Trump does not want the base names changed, and there may still be a way.
Trump tweeted July 24th that he had spoken to Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, "who has informed me that he WILL NOT be changing the names of our great Military Bases and Forts, places from which we won two World Wars (and more!)."1
Still, stupid Senate Republicans have put themselves in a bad position. Inhofe shepherded the NDAA through the Senate with Elizabeth Warren's name change required within three years. A committee of negotiators from the House and Senate has to reconcile the House and Senate versions. The House calls for the base names to change in one year.
Because the name change is in the bill the Senate passed, they can't just disregard it but Inhofe says "We're going to see to it that provision doesn't survive the bill. I'm not going to say how at this point."2
This is all hands on deck for Southerners who are FED UP with the Democrat Party/news media war on Southern history [and also Republican pussyfooting!].
Call and write every senator in the United States Senate and every House member too. Get your camps and chapters organized and pump out some letters and calls.
Use the documented historical information in this article and on my blog as well as on the Abbeville Institute website at https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/, and historian Phil Leigh's website at https://civilwarchat.wordpress.com/.
Tell them those bases are in some cases 100 years old. As President Trump said, we won two World Wars out of those bases. Even people like Gen. Jack Keane, a New Yorker who has no affinity for Confederates, does not want the base names changed.
I am sure there is broad support among the electorate for leaving the base names as they are. Millions of our veterans have gone through those bases at one time or another. If we could get a victory on this, it could be a turning point in this Democrat propaganda war against Southern history.[….]
Trump stated that the Confederate battle flag is a proud symbol of the South: "When people had their Confederate flags they're not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the South."3
He has blasted NASCAR for putting the wishes of one selfish driver, Bubba Wallace, who is black, over the wishes of thousands of NASCAR fans for whom the flag is an important tradition. [….]
There is no downside to defending truthful Southern history. Republicans think Southern history is what their Democrat colleagues portray to them and what they hear in the fake news media, which is overwhelmingly Democrat and politicized.
It is not history Republicans are hearing. It is political propaganda.
The Democrat interpretation of the past is political propaganda designed to promote unjustified hate against the South so they can keep blacks on the Democrat Party plantation, though thanks to organizations like BLEXIT,4 which is the opposite of Black Lives Matter, there is pushback by blacks against Democrats. [….]
Eugene D. Genovese,5 one of America's greatest historians before his death in 2012, explains how Democrats with their 100% politicized history, and the news media, give a fraudulent interpretation of Southern history. He wrote this is 1994:
Rarely, these days, even on Southern campuses, is it possible to acknowledge the achievements of the white people of the South. The history of the Old South is now often taught at leading universities, when it is taught at all, as a prolonged guilt-trip, not to say a prologue to the history of Nazi Germany. . . . To speak positively about any part of this Southern tradition is to invite charges of being a racist and an apologist for slavery and segregation. We are witnessing a cultural and political atrocity.6
Dr. Genovese goes on to say that this cultural and political atrocity is being forced on us by "the media and an academic elite.”7
There is no truth to the portrayal of Southern history today that Democrats are pushing. It is 100% political propaganda. Democrats are also pushing The New York Times' 1619 Project despite major historians like James M. McPherson labeling it, basically, fake history. It has the American Revolution being fought by white supremacist colonists so they could keep slavery, though the 1619 Project does not offer a single iota of proof of that . . . because there is none. Not a single statement by a single person, no letter, no document, not a shred of evidence supports the false premise of the 1619 Project, that the American Revolution was fought so white supremacist colonists could keep their slaves. [….]
We live in a twisted world when The New York Times, the most biased newspaper in America, full of fake news, is now the arbiter of American history. [….]
For Republicans and fair minded Democrats, there is no downside to defending Southern history. No Confederate memorial of any type, anywhere, should be removed, ever. Any that have been removed or destroyed should be replaced forthwith.
Here's your cover enabling you to defend Southern history, and it is impenetrable. Take a lesson from Ike. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1st Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, in World War II, later president of the United States for eight years, had a picture of Gen. Robert E. Lee on his wall in the White House his entire time there. Like President John F. Kennedy, Eisenhower had great respect for Gen. Lee and his cause, and he appreciated Lee's efforts to bind up the nation's wounds after our bloodiest war.
On August 1, 1960, a New York dentist, Dr. Leon W. Scott, wrote an angry letter to President Eisenhower excoriating him for having that picture of Lee in his White House office. Scott wrote: "I do not understand how any American can include Robert E. Lee as a person to be emulated, and why the President of the United States of America should do so is certainly beyond me. / The most outstanding thing that Robert E. Lee did, was to devote his best efforts to the destruction of the United States Government, and I am sure that you do not say that a person who tries to destroy our Government is worthy of being held as one of our heroes."8
President Eisenhower wrote back on the 9th:
Dear Dr. Scott:
Respecting your August 1 inquiry calling attention to my often expressed admiration for General Robert E. Lee, I would say, first, that we need to understand that at the time of the War between the States the issue of secession had remained unresolved for more than 70 years. Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.
General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was a poised and inspiring leader, true to the high trust reposed in him by millions of his fellow citizens; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his faith in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history.
From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee's caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the Nation's wounds once the bitter struggle was over, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.
Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.
Dwight D. Eisenhower9
Dwight D. Eisenhower9
Republican senators in states that aren't in the South like Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who might be tempted to vote for base name changes, better think…. Without the South, where Republican red state strength is located, other Republicans are dead because they will be a powerless minority party.
All the judges President Trump has been appointing, and the sure Supreme Court picks that will occur over the next four years would now go to the Democrats.
Our country is not in a good mood. We have had to endure months of COVID-19 as well as three straight months of non-stop violent riots plus the constant hate and false charge of racism in the media against people who are not racist in the least.
There is a feeling that the country is coming apart. Over 200 monuments have been destroyed, vandalized or removed since May with most being to Confederate dead here in the South, the ancestors of today's Republican voters.
The military valor of the South is unsurpassed in the history of the world, and that's why Confederate named bases need to stay Confederate. That is what President Trump knows. The death statistics in the War Between the States are now between 650,000 and 850,000. These are the widely accepted statistics of historian J. David Hacker of Binghamton University.10 Drew Gilpin Faust in her excellent book, This Republic of Suffering, Death and the American Civil War, uses the earlier statistics of 620,000 total deaths compiled by William F. Fox, and she writes that those deaths were "approximately equal to the total American fatalities in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War combined."11
If you use Hacker's statistics, you'd have to add Vietnam, both Gulf Wars, Afghanistan and the war on terror; in other words, deaths in the War Between the States were higher than all other American wars combined with plenty of room to spare. Faust says the rate of death "in comparison with the size of the American population, was six times that of World War II. A similar rate, about 2 percent, in the United States today would mean six million fatalities."12 Confederate soldiers "died at a rate three times that of their Yankee counterparts; one in five white Southern men of military age did not survive the Civil War."13 Faust quotes James McPherson who writes that "the overall mortality rate for the South exceeded that of any country in World War I and that of all but the region between the Rhine and the Volga in World War II."14
To personalize some of those statistics, Confederate Col. George E. Purvis was quoted in Confederate Veteran magazine, March, 1897, from an article he had written about Union Gen. Henry Van Ness Boynton and the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
Gen. Boynton, with great respect for the courage of the Confederates he faced, wanted to make it a sacred memorial, not just to Union valor, but American valor. Col. Purvis writes that Gen. Boynton and a friend had visited the Chickamauga battlefield on a quiet Sunday morning in the summer of 1888 and heard singing in a church nearby. The general's thoughts went from those sweet sounds to the hellish and "fearful horrors of that other Sunday, when the very demons of hell seemed abroad, armed and equipped for the annihilation of mankind" almost a quarter of a century earlier:15
They saw again the charging squadrons, like great waves of the sea, dashed and broken in pieces against lines and positions that would not yield to their assaults. They saw again Baird's, Johnson's, Palmer's, and Reynolds's immovable lines around the Kelley farm, and Wood on the spurs of Snodgrass Hill; Brannan, Grosvenor, Steedman, and Granger on the now famous Horseshoe; once more was brought back to their minds' eye, "the unequaled fighting of that thin and contracted line of heroes and the magnificent Confederate assaults," which swept in again and again ceaselessly as that stormy service of all the gods of battle was prolonged through those other Sunday hours.
Their eyes traveled over the ground again where Forrest's and Walker's men had dashed into the smoke of the Union musketry and the very flame of the Federal batteries, and saw their ranks melt as snowflakes dissolve and disappear in the heat of conflagration.
They stood on Baird's line, where Helms's Brigade went to pieces, but not until three men out of four - mark that, ye coming heroes! - not until three men out of every four were either wounded or dead, eclipsing the historic charge at Balaklava and the bloody losses in the great battles of modern times.
They saw Longstreet's men sweep over the difficult and almost inaccessible slopes of the Horseshoe, "dash wildly, and break there, like angry waves, and recede, only to sweep on again and again with almost the regularity of ocean surges, ever marking a higher tide."
They looked down again on those slopes, slippery with blood and strewn thick as leaves with all the horrible wreck of battle, over which and in spite of repeated failures these assaulting Confederate columns still formed and reformed, charging again and again with undaunted and undying courage.
We need to win this battle over Confederate named bases in the South. We need a full court press, all hands on deck, everybody call and write everybody in the United States House of Representatives and especially every senator in the Senate and tell them you do not want Confederate named bases to change, that those bases are significant in American history exactly as they are, and they are named for generals but represent the common soldier of the South who was often hungry and barefoot but fought with a ferocity and willingness to die like the bravest in world history.
The soil of the South is soaked with the blood of these patriots, and Republican voters in the South are their progeny. They are Americans. We were the Confederate States of America. They were as gallant and honorable as the Union soldiers they faced on the battlefield, most of whom had great admiration for their Southern counterparts.[….]
Let's make this the turning point in the war on Southern history, whereupon we start regaining the ground lost in the past 60 years.
Our country will be a much better place for it.
1 "President Trump, GOP ally vow Confederate base names won't change", July 24, 2020, https://fox6now.com/2020/07/24/president-trump-gop-ally-vow-confederate-base-names-wont-change, accessed 7-29-20.
3 "Trump says Confederate flag proud symbol of U.S. South" by Doina Chiacu, Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-confederate/trump-says-confederate-flag-proud-symbol-of-us-south-idUSKCN24K0I0, accessed 7-29-20.
4 Here's the founders' statement on the BLEXIT website: "Founders Candace Owens and Brandon Tatum came together because of their shared desire to build a better future for America. Candace and Brandon seek to educate minorities across America about the history of our great country by highlighting the principles of the Constitution of the United States and the importance of self-reliance. The two believe it is time to take criminal justice reform seriously to stop the over-incarceration of minorities, to build strong families in the minority communities, and to value the life and the sanctity of every individual." https://blexitfoundation.org/, accessed 7-29-20.
5 Genovese was a brilliant historian as the following paragraph illustrates. It is the opening paragraph of an essay in The Journal of Southern History, Volume LXXX, No. 2, May, 2014 entitled "Eugene Genovese's Old South: A Review Essay" by J. William Harris: "The death of Eugene D. Genovese in September 2012 brought to a close a remarkable career. In the decades following his first published essay on Southern history, Genovese produced an outstanding body of scholarship, based on a rare combination of deep research in primary sources; a mastery of the historical literature, not only in Southern history but also in many complementary fields; a sophisticated command of methodological issues; and often sparkling prose. And Genovese's reputation reached far beyond specialists in Southern history, and even beyond the academy. In 2005 a reviewer in one magazine for a general readership called Genovese the 'Country's greatest living historian' and his Roll, Jordan, Roll 'the most lasting work of American historical scholarship since the Second World War.'"
6 Eugene D. Genovese, The Southern Tradition, The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), Preface, xi-xii.
8 Dwight D. Eisenhower in Defense of Robert E. Lee, August 10, 2014, Mathew W. Lively, https://www.civilwarprofiles.com/dwight-d-eisenhower-in-defense-of-robert-e-lee/, accessed 5-3-20.
9 Dwight D. Eisenhower letter, August 9, 1960, to Leon W. Scott, in "Dwight D. Eisenhower in Defense of Robert E. Lee," August 10, 2014, Mathew W. Lively, https://www.civilwarprofiles.com/dwight-d-eisenhower-in-defense-of-robert-e-lee/, accessed 5-3-20.
10 See Rachel Coker, "Historian revises estimate of Civil War dead," published September 21, 2011, Binghamton University Research News - Insights and Innovations from Binghamton University, http://discovere.binghamton.edu/news/civilwar-3826.html, accessed July 7, 2014. Hacker's range is 650,000 to 850,000. He uses 750,000.
11 Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering, Death and the American Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008), xi.
14 Faust, This Republic of Suffering, xii.
15 "American Valor at Chickamauga", Confederate Veteran, Vol. V, No. 3, March, 1897.