Tag Archives: American Civil War

Why this statue of Lincoln should go

Associated Press photo

The Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., portrays President Abraham Lincoln, holding his Emancipation Proclamation, with a freshly freed slave at his feet. The statue was erected in 1876 — and certainly is a product of its time.

We have bigger fish to fry than to worry about our public statues, I hear you whine.

You probably maybe are right. COVID-19 continues to ravage the nation because we are a nation of adolescents and thus couldn’t remain locked down for even three full months and so we reopened way prematurely, just collectively pretending that it was all clear; unemployment due to the novel coronavirus pandemic remains a huge problem; the cops, most of them white, keep killing black Americans (men, mostly) when a non- or less-lethal response was possible; and our long-standing problems, such as climate change, insane income inequality and the over-militarization of our nation, of course remain untouched under the “leadership” of the unelected and thus illegitimate “President” Pussygrabber.

But statues are part of the American culture, and it’s not only that Americans create the national culture, but that the national culture also forms Americans.

Generally speaking, a public statue is erected because someone and/or some event is not only to be commemorated, but is to be venerated. Most statues are not, of course, neutral, but are statements of that society’s highest values.

Therefore, it’s entirely appropriate that all public commemorations of the fucking Confederacy, including statues, be removed from public view. Treason, white-supremacist racism and slavery are not to be venerated.

I don’t maintain that all of the offensive and oppressive statues have to be destroyed, but they should be removed from public view. I’m OK with them being warehoused or placed in museums if they’re part of the history that the museum is telling.

But they don’t belong in the public square. All of us have the right to be out and about in public without our senses, our psyches and our souls being assaulted by symbols of tyranny, ignorance and hatred.

True, we could go pretty far with this exercise. George Washington owned slaves. So did Thomas Jefferson. So did even Benjamin Franklin. Ditto for John Hancock and Patrick Henry. I’m not advocating that we raze the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial. Indeed, these monuments were not raised in praise of slavery, but some of the background history there nonetheless is pretty fucking ugly.

Abraham Lincoln, my favorite president, of course never owned a slave, but then again, he also grew up in poverty, and I’d like to think that he’d never have been a slave holder even if he had grown up in wealth and if his formative years had been spent in a slave state instead of mostly in Indiana and Illinois. (He was born in Kentucky, but his family moved to Indiana when he was a young boy and then to Illinois when he was a young man.)

And while Lincoln opposed slavery, he did not believe that whites and blacks were social equals (almost no white person in his day and age did) — something about Lincoln that we don’t routinely teach our young children in school.

Still, looking at Lincoln’s presidency, I think that on balance, given the steep challenges that faced him and how he fared with them, he is the best president that we’ve had.

(For the most part I agree with Wikipedia’s rather glowing assessment of Lincoln that he “led the nation through its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis in the American Civil War. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.”)

But that doesn’t mean that I have to like every statue or other public depiction of Lincoln, and the statue of Lincoln at the Emancipation Memorial (pictured above) — which, unshockingly, was paid for by donations from former slaves but was designed and sculpted by one or more white people — is problematic.

First and foremost, it portrays a white man as the slaves’ savior. Apparently, the white man never can lose; even though he enslaved abducted Africans in the first fucking place, he is to get kudos, too, for finally having set them free. Just: No.

I have a black co-worker who once blithely opined that Barack Obama was a great president because, among other things, she claimed, he “gave us gay marriage.”

No, not true. Not only was it the U.S. Supreme Court, not Obama, that ruled five years ago yesterday that same-sex marriage legally cannot be prohibited anywhere on U.S. soil, but even the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t “give” us non-heterosexuals equal marriage rights.

Those equal human rights already always were there; they were just being denied to us LGBT individuals by an oppressive, heterosexist majority. Ditto for the slaves, of course: Their right to be free always had existed; it was just being denied to them by the tyrannical white majority.

In Obergefell vs. Hodges, the Supreme Court simply acknowledged where the majority of the American people already were — that it was past the time to stop shitting and pissing upon LGBT individuals — and codified it.

Before and behind that was generations of fighting for equality by non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals, who often were brutalized and murdered.

Ditto in the case of Abraham Lincoln. Many, many others, obviously blacks as well as whites (and others), fought for — and died for — the abolition of slavery. That fight culminated in the Emancipation Proclamation, but to act as though the Emancipation Proclamation came out of thin air — or even from one person — is to ignore blatantly the actual history.

(Yet another parallel: Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but did he “give” black Americans equal human and civil rights that even the Emancipation Proclamation hadn’t gained them? No. Again, many, many people had fought for — and died for — civil-rights advancements before Johnson signed any legislation. And these rights weren’t created, as they always already had existed.)

The statue at the Emancipation Memorial keeps the white man above the black man — figuratively as well as literally. The spirit of it is that the white man freed the black man — as though an act of nature, instead of white people, had created slavery — and the shadow aspect of that is that because the white man retains the upper hand over the black man, he could reverse himself and reinstitute the slavery of the black man at any time.

Note that Frederick Douglass, who justifiably had some issues with Lincoln, disliked the statue at the Emancipation Memorial, and note that, of course, since the statue commemorated the 11th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, we have no way of knowing what he himself would have thought of such a depiction of himself. (My best guess is that Lincoln would have thought the statue to be gauche, even for 1876.)

I surmise that the statue at the Emancipation Memorial will remain there for a time to come, as the issue of its continued existence is hashed out, but I’m perfectly OK with its removal. (It’s now being protected by a barrier because activists have targeted it to be removed.)

A statue that’s in the public square should represent the better angels of our nature.

I think that’s what Lincoln would have wanted.

P.S. This is a wonderful recent Washington Post news photo of the usual suspect arguing for the Emancipation Memorial to remain intact while an activist who supports its removal has to suffer his presence:

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Arizona and California in the news

Another black eye for Arizona (yes, it’s the thought that counts)

Jo Beaudry holds up a sign as she joins nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. The protesters gathered demanding Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs. The governor must sign or veto Senate Bill 1062 by the end of next week. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

An anti-discrimination protester holds up a sign at the Arizona Capitol yesterday. Whackadoodle Repugnican Tea Party Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (below) has less than a week to decide whether or not to sign into law the legislation that the state’s legislature just passed that allows business owners to discriminate against non-heterosexuals out of their “religious” beliefs.

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2014 file photo, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announces her plan to end the current Child Protective Services agency by executive order during her State of the State address at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix. An independent team named by Gov. Brewer to review the state's troubled child welfare agency on Friday Jan. 31, 2014, called for a top-to-bottom overhaul of the department to focus it purely on child safety. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Associated Press photos

The Arizona legislature’s passage of a law that, under the guise of the protection of religious beliefs, allows businesses to discriminate against non-heterosexuals (mostly, to refuse to serve them, and, very apparently, this applies also to those whom the “religious” business owners simply perceive or suspect to be non-heterosexual, and very most likely also would apply, by extension, to the non-gender-conforming), is yet another example of the abject ignorance, bigotry and mean-spiritedness that exists in the backasswards state where I was born and raised and left in 1998, yet to have set foot back there since.

All eyes now are on Repugnican Tea Party Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Will she or won’t she sign the discriminatory legislation into law?

Arizona businesses — quite ironically, since the legislation is touted as being for the benefit of business owners — vehemently don’t want Brewer to sign the legislation into law, arguing, correctly, that like Arizona’s past refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Day and its more recent unconstitutional discrimination against the brown-skinned perceived to be “illegals,” this legislation, if enacted, would give the pathetic state yet another black eye and result in more boycotts and more lost business.

The Arizona Republic, Arizona’s largest newspaper, also has come out against the discriminatory legislation. But this is Arizona, you see, and so the Republic’s largest argument is not that even further discrimination against an already historically oppressed minority group is wrong, but is that it’s bad for bidness. (The Republic’s editorial concludes:

… High-tech companies need talented young workers, so they locate in places young people find attractive and welcoming.

Arizona should strive to be one of those places.

This bill is a do-it-yourself black eye that would tag Arizona as a champion of anachronistic views of sexual orientation.

That’s not just the wrong side of history; it’s the dumb side of economic development.

We urge the governor to veto this bill as part of her continuing message that Arizona is open for business.)

But the Bible-thumping, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, inbred haters in Arizona (and they are legion), like the wing comprised of the plutocrats and those who love them, also are a huge wing of the Repugnican Tea Party, and they vehemently want Brewer to sign the legislation into law, so what’s poor Brewer to do?

My best guess is that Brewer won’t sign it into law — citing business interests, and not, of course, moral or ethical or even legal concerns — but I’m thinking that it’s only just over 50-50 that she won’t, so I wouldn’t be shocked if she does enact the discriminatory legislation.

However, if Brewer signs the legislation, this could backfire on the haters in Arizona and in the other red states, with whom we of the blue states still are waging a civil war.

Should Brewer sign the law, I have little doubt that a lawsuit would result, and it is quite possible, if not even probable, that because of the Arizona teatards’ attempt to legalize the practice of discriminating against an already historically oppressed minority group while hiding behind the facade of their “religious” “sensibilities,” we will see federal law changed to protect non-heterosexuals among the groups that federal law already protects.

Specifically, Title II of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 declares that “All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

This federal law, and the subsequent court rulings regarding it, prohibit most (if not even all) businesses that serve the general public from practicing discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion or national origin (we could add the more generic category of “ethnicity” to that list, I believe). Simply adding sexual orientation to this list of protected groups of individuals would invalidate any state’s law to enshrine discrimination against non-heterosexuals in its statutes or constitution.

(Civics 101 lesson for the teatards: No state’s law, even a law contained within a state’s constitution, may violate federal law, which includes: the mandates of the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, and, of course, the rulings of the federal courts, up to the U.S. Supreme Court.)

No, I wouldn’t, of course, expect the currently-less-than-worthless U.S. House of Representatives to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to offer any more historically oppressed minority groups protection from discrimination, since the Repugnican Tea Party is all about discrimination against the “wrong” kinds of Americans, but the House won’t be in the teatards’ control forever.

And while the current U.S. Supreme Court is too timid and too slow to bring all Americans to the level of equality that we are promised by the U.S. Constitution (and other founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence), I wouldn’t rule out the U.S. Supreme Court, or, at least, a lower federal court, ruling Arizona’s legalized discrimination against non-heterosexuals to be unconstitutional (since it is), and thus invalid.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to write about this issue until Brewer had gone one way or the other, but you know, whether Brewer signs the law into effect or not, the majority of the Arizona legislature has passed this deeply anti-American (well, I suppose that, given our nation’s ugly history, you could argue that it’s very American…) legislation, and it’s the thought that counts.

That the state’s legislature would even pass such hate-filled legislation like this tells you volumes about the backasswards state of Arizona.

California will keep its 55 electoral votes, fuck you very much

Much has been written about some bizillionaire’s attempt to get an initiative on California’s ballot that, if the majority of the state’s voters passed, would signify their agreement with his plan to split California up into six states as shown in the graphic above.

Having lived in California for more than 15 years now, I can tell you that California will not be split any century soon.

Not only would a majority of California’s voters never approve splitting the state even into two, but the U.S. Congress, which must approve the creation of any new state, most likely would not approve a plan to create one or more new states from California (or from any other of the already existing 50 states, for that matter).

So let’s not waste time arguing about the viability of the plan, since many proposals to split the state of California have come and gone over the decades and will continue to do so, will continue to go nowhere.

What we should pay attention to, however, is what most discussions of these periodic proposals to split California up miss: the fact that the real agenda behind these proposals is to make it easier for the Repugnican (Tea) Party to win the White House.

Yes, California’s 55 electoral votes — more electoral votes than any other state, since California is the most populous state (even the second-most-populous state, Texas, has only 38 electoral votes) — are just sitting there, in a huge pile, and they are soooo tempting to the wingnuts. (Since the 1992 presidential election, all of California’s electoral votes have gone to the Democratic presidential candidate.)

Divvy up California, especially creating one or more new red states from California’s red(der) regions, and now the Repugnican Tea Party now gets a significant chunk of those 55 electoral votes, making it easier for Repugnican Tea Party traitors and more difficult for the opposition party (as much as we can call the Democratic Party “the opposition party,” anyway) to win the White House.

If it isn’t about that, then how come the very same Repugnican Tea Party traitors who want to divide California don’t advocate that we divide other, populous, red(der) states, such as Texas and Florida? (The third-most-populous state of Florida has 29 electoral votes.)

Um, yeah.

Whenever a wingnut proposes something and claims that it’s for the public good, take a good look behind the curtains and see what the real agenda is.

Nothing good comes from the Repugnican Tea Party traitors.

P.S. The rich proponent of the so-called “six Californias,” a venture capitalist from Silicon Valley, claims that he is an “independent,” but my guess is that that is a smokescreen for his pro-plutocratic agenda. In any event, the majority of so-called “independents” lean to the right, and their calling themselves “independents” often (if not usually) is to (try to) sucker in those who have soured on the Repugnican Tea Party; it’s classic bait and switch.

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Time for another ‘revolution,’ Sarah? No, time for another civil war!

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin addresses attendees ...

Associated Press photo

A snarling Sarah Palin-Quayle appears as the keynote speaker at the Wingnut Super Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., today. She apparently has called for a “revolution” against the nation’s first democratically elected White House administration since the Clinton administration, and while the Bush regime’s having run up the federal budget deficit to a record level was perfectly OK, the Obama administration’s spending on people instead of on the Perpetual War Machine Palin-Quayle dubbed “generational theft.” Because clearly, the party and the ideology that denies the problem of global warming and that stokes the fires of anti-American hatred in the Middle East by killing thousands upon thousands of innocent people there cares so much about future generations.

Queen Wingnut Sarah Palin-Quayle told the “tea party” fanatics at their national convention today that “America is ready for another revolution” and that the “tea party” “movement” “is about the people.”

Oh, except that the majority of the people elected Barack Obama, and not her and John McCainosaurus, in November 2008 — radical right-wing Repugnican Tom Tancredo’s complaint that we didn’t first have to pass a “civics literacy test” notwithstanding.

So apparently we, the majority of the people of the United States of America (53 percent of us) who voted for Barack Obama, aren’t really “the people.”

Only those who agree with Sarah Fucking Palin-Quayle and her “tea-partying” ilk are “the people.”

This comparison of the “tea party” “movement” to the American Revolution is uber bullshit.

What we are seeing is not a replay of the events that led up to the American Revolution, but a replay of the events that led up to the American Civil War.

See, I don’t view the wingnuts as “the people,” and they don’t view me and my kind — sane Americans who truly want liberty and justice for all, not just for certain demographics — as “the people.”

These are what you call irrefuckingconcilable differences, and they are the stuff that civil wars are made of.

And I’m ready for another civil war. Bring it on, bitches! Bring! It! On!

The wingnuts lost the November 2008 election fairly and squarely. They can’t fucking deal with it, so they’re claiming that they’re now under the “oppressive,” “socialist” Obama administration — against which they must “revolt.” Sarah Palin-Quayle’s calling for a “revolution” — when the majority of Americans voted for Barack Obama, does that not smell like treason?

The “tea party” nutjobs are not victims. They simply lost the fucking 2008 presidential election, and they lost it by a margin too large for them to be able to steal it, like they stole the 2000 presidential election and quite possibly the 2004 election as well. It’s called a “democracy,” fucktards. Get over it, sore losermen.

Palin-Quayle also sneered to her adoring all-white crowd: “How’s that hope-y, change-y stuff workin’ out for you?”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Except that her party, the Repugnican Party, is the party that put our nation in its mess now. It is as though “President” George W. Bush never were behind the wheel (like a drunk) at the White House from January 2001 to January 2009.

But if we can act as though the wingnuts are poor oppressed people like the American colonists were poor oppressed people under the British monarchy, I suppose that we also can just pretend that the time period from January 2001 to January 2009 never fucking happened, and that Barack Obama picked up right where Bill Clinton left off.

That’s how detached from reality Sarah Palin-Quayle and her mouth-breathing followers are.

Most Americans who voted for Barack Obama in November 2008 — those Americans who have some idea as to what reality is and who thus never would attend a “tea party” function — did not expect him to reverse the severe damage that the unelected Bush regime caused from January 2001 to January 2009 overnight.

Most Americans are willing to give the president whom they actually elected this time the time to fix the nation’s dire problems, and they are not willing to participate in the “revolution” that Sarah Fucking Palin-Quayle speaks of. Palin-Quayle’s “vision” we already lived under for eight long nightmarish years, from January 2001 to January 2009.

Most Americans want the wingnuts to shut the fuck up and to stop putting their IEDs along the nation’s long, hard road to recovery. Doing everything possible to interfere with the nation’s recovery, and indeed, hoping that the current, actually-elected White House administration fails — again, I am catching a whiff of treason.

I am willing to defend my president — and “my president” is a phrase that I was unable to use from January 2001 through January 2009, since BushCheneyCorp blatantly stole the White House in late 2000, and since you cannot be “re”-elected if you never legitimately were elected in the first place — to my death.

Barack Obama is not perfect, and I certainly have been critical of him — mainly for being too timid to advance the progressive agenda — but he is our democratically elected president, our first democratically elected president since Bill Clinton, and I will allow the wingnuts to again take the White House that does not belong to them over my dead body.

Millions of my fellow Americans agree with me, Sarah Palin-Quayle, so fuck your “revolution” and ask yourself if you and your FUCKING RETARDED supporters really can win a rematch of the Civil War.

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