Why Old People should not Drink…#144

OIP
I live in a community where every Friday a few gather for “Happy Hour”. I moved here eight years ago, my first Friday in residence I went to this event; immediately I was questioned about my southern roots, my accent, my beliefs in the Civil War; and if I owned a confederate flag? My answers were my ancestors were land owners without slaves, however, my roots also lay with my Native American ancestor whom were drove from their ancestral lands by “white men, want to discuss that! Of course not! My accent after 47 years was not something that I tried to keep or lose; it was part of my being, my roots and culture. I did have ancestors who fought in the Civil War, they fought for what they believed right, that was about 150 years ago, and I had no say into their decisions, why am I being judged now for the actions of others. If someone stole from you, would it be your belief that your four or five great-grandchildren be allow to put a claim to what their ancestors owned today? The Confederate Flag as people like to call it is actually the “Stars and Bars”, my answer was no I do not own that flag and if I did I would not fly it, but I did not believe in the Vietnam war either should I protest the flying of the American flag. I believe the entire Civil War was like wars and conflicts that have followed it, political started and ended, scripted, costing too many lives. Eight years later with all new people around the Happy Hour table the same questions were ask of me. I did have an answer for them.
I am a Southerner and an American citizen by birth; I am an individual that believes in voting for the “best” individual for the political job that they are running for at the time, no matter their political party. I have no religious affiliations, yet, I believe in a “higher power”, I find some things in all religions that I can integrate into my life. I believe that one has to forgive the wrongs others have “done to them” in order to move forward in life. I also believe that one has to “forget”; how can we know where we are going if we do not know, where we have come from or what life that we have lived. With that being said, yes, I am against the Civil War Memorials being removed!
I understand the concept of such defamation, but how long must the South and born Southerners pay for the decision to pull out of the Union. Was it a good choice, no! Did they start a war that they could not win, yes! The South had cotton and that was it. They went up against the Union, which had all the resources to win; the South had no means to manufacture what they needed to win. It did not take long for them to realize that they were cut off from such.
What they were rich in was the pride and the belief that they had to right to govern their own land. Was slavery wrong, absolutely? Do I have ancestors who were slaveholders, “NO”, but I am being questioned on many levels because I am a Southerner born one hundred years later!
However, the Northern states were no better than the south in their ownership of slaves. Southerners did not create slavery; The First Legal Slave-owner in America was a black man Anthony Johnson. Whites could not legally hold a black servant as a chattel slave until 1670. Anthony Johnson was the first prominent landholder in the English colonies. With that being said…many of our presidents owned slaves.
George Washington owned 317 slaves; he was a major slaveholder before, during, and after his presidency. Thomas Jefferson owned 600, and it is believed that he fathered multiple slave children with his quadroon slave Sally Heming’s, the half-sister of his late wife Martha Wayles Skelton. James Madison owned approximately 100 slaves. James Monroe owned 75, while Andrew Jackson owned 200; Martin Van Buren only 1. William Henry Harrison 11; John Tyler 70; James Polk 25; Zachary Taylor 150; Andrew Johnson 8; Ulysses S. Grant 1;
Why must we remove these monuments, they represent history, and we cannot change history, I wanted to ask the question, it has been almost 150 years since the Civil War, when will those born afterwards quit being held responsible for what their ancestors did? I don’t expect to be given reparation for the white man stealing the land of my Native American ancestors. You can destroy all the monuments about the Southern states in the Civil War that you want; again, it does not change history. My generation protested the Vietnam War, and those who fought in that war was treated like criminals when they returned; no recognition for their service. Should we now start a process to remove the Vietnam War Memorial, ”NO”! Just because I did not believe in that war does not mean that I want the memorial torn down, when I was given the opportunity to go to D.C. and visit the memorial I wept like a child at the loss of so many . Why are these now so offensive when they have stood for some over 100 years? I note a few statue removals below:
In Austin, Texas, the statues of four people with ties to the Confederacy – Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnson, John H. Reagan and former Texas Gov. James Stephen Hogg.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh wanted to move “quickly and quietly” to take down four Confederate statues or monuments – statues of Lee and Thomas, J. “Stonewall” Jackson and monuments for Confederate Soldiers, Sailors, and Confederate Women.

In Brooklyn, N.Y. Plaques honoring Lee were removed from an Episcopal church’s property and the governor called on the Army to remove the names of Lee and another Confederate general from the streets around a nearby fort.

In Dallas, Texas, a statue of Robert E. Lee, was removed from Robert E. Lee Park, which was also named in honor of the Confederate general, it had stood in Lee Park for 81 years. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the park to Lee in 1936 during a renaming ceremony of the park.

In Chapel Hill, N.C., protesters toppled the “Silent Sam” statue that has stood on the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus since 1913.

In Durham, N.C., protesters associated with the Workers World party toppled a nearly-century old statue of a Confederate soldier.

In Gainesville, Fla., a chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy paid for the removal of a monument to Confederate soldiers known locally as “Old Joe” that stood in front a building in downtown Gainesville for 113 years.

Two 130-year-old Confederate statues were removed from downtown Lexington, Ky. Lexington used private funds to take the statues, of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and John Breckinridge, a former U.S. Vice President and the last Confederate Secretary of War.
In Madison, Wis., a neighboring town close to me a plaque honoring Confederate soldiers was removed from a cemetery. “The Civil War was an act of insurrection and treason and a defense of the deplorable practice of slavery,” said Mayor Paul Soglin in a statement. “The monuments in question were connected to that action and we do not need them on city property.” He has protested for Civil Rights for over 50 years, why does he feel the need to hop on the bandwagon now. For votes?

Last but not least, the Robert E. Lee House. At the start of the war, Lee and his family headed south, leaving Arlington House, and they did not reclaim their property after the War. The federal government seized the estate (now known as Arlington National Cemetery) and used it for military graves for thousands of fallen Union soldiers, possibly to prevent Lee from ever returning home. In addition, many honorable soldiers since. The Lee family residence is now managed by the National Park Service as Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, and is open to the public for tours. Now, when it makes a difference in what some want the usage of property is appropriate. We all know is that the government would not allow Arlington cemetery to be plowed under even though it was the land owned by a slave owner. Moreover, Arlington House makes money!

All this created by going to Happy Hour with a bunch of old people. Nonetheless, it was written long after that glass of wine took its course. Today, I made practice of my “Freedom of Speech”.
©2020.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

15 thoughts on “Why Old People should not Drink…#144

  1. People seem to think that it is appropriate to rewrite history and remove the offending bits but that perspective changes over time. Hollywood rewrites history all the time and then accepts awards for doing it. Love the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I, too, am a southerner by birth in Texas and now living for the past 45 years in South Carolina. I guess I see things differently, though. I find the statues and confederate flags displayed on public grounds bitter reminders of an institution I find reprehensible, as reprehensible as the treatment our government gave to Native Americans in this country. I have a free floating guilt as real as the guilt I feel for the asylum seekers now locked in concentration camps along our southern borders.
    Racism is alive and well and living in America as it has from our beginnings, but do we need to continually celebrate it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree on many levels, but we cannot erase history. Tearing down statues of those who we disagree with has become the norm for many years. I look at them as more of a reminder than a celebration of their actions. We have a history in America if something is offensive to anyone it is challenged for removal. We are only free as long as we go along and agree with the rule makers. I see the loss of freedom in America almost daily. However, it is America and we can agree to disagree. Have a great week and thank you for stopping by… E.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing these words. Yes, well written. We cannot erase history but it’s good to know about our history. I do not agree with things being torn down either. We can learn from all types of events and persons that have gone before us and form our own opinions. (the reminder you mentioned) Love, understanding and respect will launch us forward. Charitable actions and respect begin in our own neighborhoods and friendship groups.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely loved this post. If I could, I would add a “right on!” to almost every statement. And I’m not generally that kind of reader. Kidding aside, you make excellent points that many feel, but few can express so articulately.
    I’m reminded of George Santayana’s famous statement, “Those who cannot remember history will be doomed to repeat it.” As you say, we cannot erase history, but neither does that mean that we are celebrating it when we permit the public display of historical monuments from a dark time in our past. I do believe we should give careful consideration as to how such memorials to the past are displayed, though. A statue that is clearly and justifiably offensive to African Americans (as many are in the South), sends a racist message if it’s displayed in a way that commands respect and adulation. The same statue in a history museum, and in the appropriate context, can stir the viewer to understand the conflict within the human heart at the time it was sculpted, without feeling the subject of that art should be honored. How else will be be able to tell the actual story of history? Those statues and monuments and flags are all, today, relics of a dark and confused time in our history. They should remain in the public view, with all appropriate solemnity at the awful meaning they convey.
    We are in dark times even now. Generations from now, I’d hate to see all evidence of the struggles our nation is enduring wiped away simply because the events of our time are offensive to some. I hope these events are preserved and remembered. To over-simplify, our mistakes are our greatest teachers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love the comment, you are right about it all. I would suggest they put them in a museum and while they are yet on display make sure the tour guide gives reference to the bitter cruelty and aftermath of this terrible war where brother fought against brother. We cannot change it but remember so it will not happen again, that goes for all of the wars. E.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Here in the United Kingdom the “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign has pressed for the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes from the University of Oxford, on the grounds that he was an “imperialist” and a “racist”. While Rhodes was a strong proponent of empire and did much to support the imperial cause, the money granted for the Rhodes Scholarship does not preclude non-whites from receiving financial support, and a number of non-whites have obtained funding. So, irrespective of Rhodes views, his money has helped people who are none-white so I, for one would not support the removal of the statue which, thankfully continues to stand in it’s place in the grounds of Oxford University.

    If we follow the logic of those who call for the removal of statues of people of whom they disapprove, why not stop publich libraries from holding copies of Kipling’s works? His poem “The White Man’s Burden” can certainly be construed as “racist”, whilst a lesser known poem, “The stranger” has been used by far-right groups on their websites.

    I’m not advocating the removal of Kipling’s works as that is wholly iliberal. However if one follows the logic of those who call for “Rhodes to Fall” there is (from the point of view of such campaigners) logic in censoring books of which they disapprove.

    As Hamlet says, “treat every man after his deserts, and who shall ‘scape whipping?”. Looking back into history (through today’s eyes) the answer is very few, if any will escape a flogging for they where people of their time.

    Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

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