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Deceptions and Lies

Palestinian protest in Boston’s Copley Square outside my hotel window 10/2023

I hope that everyone had a happy and safe holiday.

Nikki and the Civil War
Nikki Haley is surging the GOP polls. Well, that’s not quite right. She is doing better than anyone else who is not named Trump. She has been getting more extensive crowds and has performed relatively well in those scripted performances called debates.

More than a decade ago, when Haley was running for governor of South Carolina, she was asked about the Civil War. She said that the Civil War was about “traditions versus change.” Yes, she said that. Now, if a 14-year-old taking US History wrote that for a school essay, they should get an “F.”

Haley was asked the same question again in New Hampshire. Nikki Haley, a woman of Indian heritage, said, “I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run. The freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.” She went on to say, “I think it always comes down to the role of government and what the rights of the people are.”

What nonsense! I understand that she is a Republican. I also understand that politicians answer hundreds of questions daily as they campaign. Reporters, bloggers, and others want to catch the candidate off guard and post something juicy on social media, but this was a chip-shot. She had faced almost the exact same question before, which tripped her up. She is also the same person who fumbled the whole Confederate flag issue while she was governor of South Carolina.

The Civil War was about slavery. Period. Full stop. This is not a mystery. You don’t have to be a Civil War scholar to understand this simple fact. South Carolina, in its Declaration of Session, stated, “But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.”

Translation: You (the United States) are threatening to take our (South Carolina’s) slaves, so we are leaving.

Haley is an intelligent woman. She knows why the Civil War was started, but she would rather spin this state’s rights nonsense because that is the official GOP explanation of the Civil War. If we, as a nation, believe in truth and honesty, we need to bury this “state’s rights” lie under a tree in the backyard and let it die.

By |2024-02-04T01:55:27-04:00February 4th, 2024|Party Politics|0 Comments

Now What?

(I wrote this for the Urban News in July 2020.)

So, protests have swept the nation. There were protests from California to Texas to Florida and everywhere in between. There were protests in large cities like New York, Washington DC, and Chicago. And there were protests in small towns throughout the United States like Canton, MO, Morgantown, WV, Potsdam, NY, and Woburn, MA. More than a hundred protesters even showed up for Black Lives Matter in Pen Argyl, PA (population 3,600). The majority of the protests were peaceful. Unfortunately, there was some looting, though whether connected to protesters or simply opportunistic is in question. Lately, it appears that the protests have been centered around Confederate monuments.

This whole movement, whatever you want to call it, must be about more than pulling down Confederate monuments. There must be something tangible that comes out of all this heartache and pain.

I grew up in the South. I have lived more than 90 percent of my life in the South—from Dallas, to Shreveport, to Atlanta, to Asheville. I live and breathe southern culture. We glossed over the Civil War in high school. I did read Battle Cry of Freedom, an 800-page monstrosity written by James McPherson. It is incredibly detailed; it even appears to me that McPherson told it like it was. Like it still is.

States’ Rights v. Slavery
When you grow up in the South, you are taught that the Civil War was fought because of “states’ rights.” That is, the southern states simply wanted the right to do whatever they wanted without Washington telling them what to do. And because of this, young men took up arms against those bad old Yankees. And, the argument continues, Southerners just wanted to be free. They were rebels against too much government power.

Unfortunately, this is a nice, innocent, and utterly dishonest retelling of history. The South wanted to own slaves. The Civil War was about slavery.
Now, when I look back at it, it was almost funny, if not criminal, the way the Civil War was taught in high school. We only really covered three things: we learned about a few battles; the North won; and Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves.

That was mostly it. Oh, and there was this thing called Reconstruction, but it didn’t last.

But when you delve deeply into the War Between the States, you see something different. South Carolina was the first state to withdraw from the union. Their leaders wrote up this very nice document that resembles the Declaration of Independence in some ways. They laid out their grievances. They opined that the Constitution of States that were the original 13 states were to be “free, sovereign and independent states.” (They did write this in CAPS, just to make sure that nobody misses it.)

The truth
But toward the end of their declaration they began to rail against the “non-slaveowning states,” writing, “They have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies whose avowed object is to disrupt the peace and to eloign [take away] 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.”

It would be heartwarming if South Carolina were the only state that openly stated they left the union because of slavery. But, almost every one of the states that seceded had something like this in their declarations of secession. More importantly, in the Articles of Confederate States (Constitution of the Confederate States), the document that the seceded states put together, clearly delineates in Article 1, section 9 that the South was about slavery. The clearest section is subsection 4, No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in Negro slaves shall be passed.

To me, this is pretty clear. The Civil War wasn’t about honor or virtue. Now, did honor and virtue occur during the war? Of course they did. Honor and virtue appear during every war. So does noble sacrifice, and even heroism. All of these are noble qualities.

But that’s not what the Civil War was about. The Civil War was about slavery. It was about the South’s right to keep human beings enslaved as personal property; as chattel. That’s what the Civil War was all about.

Until we, as Southerners, understand this, embrace that truth, make it become one with our souls, we are doing everybody a disservice. (more…)

By |2020-09-23T19:32:15-04:00September 23rd, 2020|Civil Rights, Newsletter|Comments Off on Now What?

News Roundup – Confederate Flag, ObamaCare, Gov. Bobby

Over the last week or so there has been a ton of conversation about the South, Dylann Roof and the Confederate Flag. Just for one second, let’s take a deep breath. What was the Civil War about? Someone will usually say that the Civil War was about States Rights. Okay. That’s a half answer. The Civil War wasn’t about states’ rights to have their own Navy or trade exclusively with Africa or England. The Civil War was about a state’s right to continue slavery as they saw fit. The Confederate Flag is clearly associated with slavery. Then, after the war, the Confederate Flag was most associated with the KKK, a terrorist organization. So for me, as a Black man who grew up in the South, the Confederate Flag is associated with nothing positive. It is associated with terror and racism. Now, I fully understand that there are those Americans who see nothing but positive when they look at the Confederate Flag. They see bravery, honor and dedication to duty. We need to understand that the Confederate Flag symbolizes both. It is like that Batman character – Two Face. You can’t have one without the other. I think that removing the Confederate flag from the state capital in South Carolina is a step in the right direction. Oh, and I should add that Dylann Roof understood the meaning of the Confederate Flag. He clearly understood its link with racism. (Now, before some folks begin to seize, I don’t believe that every Southerner is a racist. On the other hand, I don’t believe that every Northerner is a saint. Look, America is a complex country. Good and evil can be found everywhere. )

ObamaCare (Affordable Care Act) has been upheld by the Supreme Court. I’m a little surprised.  The following is from ScotusBlog:

That, the Court concluded by a six-to-three vote, was what Congress intended when it passed the sweeping overhaul of the health insurance market five years ago.   If the subsidies are not available across the nation, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., wrote for the majority, that would bring about “the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.”

Had the ruling in King v. Burwell gone the other way, to eliminate subsidies in thirty-four states, at least 6.4 million Americans likely would have almost immediately lost the insurance coverage that many of them have for the first time.  And, given the way Congress wrote an interlocking law, the cascading effect of the loss of subsidies for so many probably would have collapsed the whole arrangement — a point that Roberts embraced in foreseeing the potential for a “death spiral” for the ACA.

 

Bobby Jindel. The GOP needs more candidates. It is like that old disco song – “More, more, more.”

Here are 10 “great” moments from Donald Trump’s announcement speech.

By |2015-06-26T07:32:41-04:00June 25th, 2015|Healthcare, Party Politics, Race, Terrorism|Comments Off on News Roundup – Confederate Flag, ObamaCare, Gov. Bobby
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