Just as the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston SC began the Civil War, a heinous murder in a historic black church has started a new civil war of sorts. The attack on and cleansing of all evidence of the Antebellum South or those that fought and died for the Confederate cause in American history. The timing and location of this awful attack on churchgoers could not have been more perfect for this cultural cleansing if it had been purposely planned. Of course, there are those already calling it a false flag, a staged attack for this very purpose.
This happening in Charleston South Carolina where the original Civil War began, a state where the Confederate battle flag flies over a Confederate memorial next to the State House, has fuel debate about retiring the flag to museums once and for all. Being the beginning of an election cycle has politicians in both the Republican and Democrat parties publicly advocating for the removal of part of American history for the sake of winning the “black vote.” The bipartisan call for the retiring of the battle flag is just one of many attempts to cleanse and rewrite American history.
- Tennessee calls for removing the battle flag from TN license plates and for the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest to be removed from the statehouse;
- Baltimore lawmakers want to rename Robert E. Lee Park;
- A Dallas Morning News Poll asks “should Dallas ISD rename schools named for Confederate generals?“;
- St. Louis reignites Confederate memorial debate in Forest Park;
- Commissioners in Hillsborough, North Carolina are debating whether to remove the words “Confederate Memorial” from a Confederate memorial.
These are just a few of the nationwide calls for the cultural cleansing of all things Confederate. The rationale seems to be that it is finally time to cleanse this nation of all references to our racist past and begin anew. History and popular culture have already succeeded in portraying the Civil War as nothing more than a racist war to protect the slave trade, so why not erase it from history altogether, right? The only problem is that it is a false narrative that has been promulgated within American society. There is an old adage repeated throughout history that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.
We have not learned from our past it seems, because much of it being repeated before our very eyes and few seem to notice. Rewriting history or expunging it from the public consciousness is not learning from it.
“The root cause of the American Civil War is perhaps the most controversial topic in American history. Even before the war was over, scholars in the North and South began to analyze and interpret the reasons behind the bloodshed.” – Civil War Trust
Was it about slavery? Of course it was. All of the Articles of Secession issued by the Southern states said as much, but that is not all that they said. While the focus was on Slavery, it was the focus because of how it affected other issues, such as states’ rights, western expansion, taxes and tariffs imposed on Southern states. It revolved around the perceived increased power that Northern states had within the federal government and how the Southern states felt they were not receiving equal representation at the federal level. The debate over the root causes of the Civil War continue 150 years after its conclusion, now does that sound like something that can be explained away as simply as by saying it was all about slavery?
However, with the current elevated levels of racial division and unrest, it appears that the march is on to expunge all references to the Southern Secession and Confederate States of America that once existed here. Much like Sherman’s march to the sea, all references to this checkered past are set to be burned from the public consciousness. Yet the questions remain, will this make any difference in race relations in the future? Will erasing all evidence of that period of our history settle the debate once and for all? Answer the century and a half old question of WHY? I think not, but it does serve a more immediate political purpose and that is all that matters in an election cycle, right?