Thursday, April 8, 2010

Confederate Patriotism or American Patriotism - Pick One Already!

In light of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's recent proclamation that April is "Confederate History Month" in the state of Virginia, a quick history lesson is in order:

March 4, 1861 - 7 states in the South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas) were pissed off at the anti-slavery infringement on "state's rights" by the Federal Government, declared that they were officially secceeding from the United States of America (aka "the North"), and formed their own government: the Confederate States of America. [can you imagine how wild that would look in today's context?]  About a month later, they attacked the United States at Fort Sumter, causing 4 more states to join the cause (Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia).  President Abraham Lincoln, who had just taken office by the way, ordered the troops of the United States to fight the Confederacy and officially started what we all now know as The Civil War.  That war lasted for another 4 years killing more Americans (over 620,000) than any other war or military operation that America has ever been a part of since.  As we all know, the United States won the Civil War in 1865, reclaimed the Southern states through the "Reconstruction" period, and ended slavery in America.

Fast forward to today, Governor McDonnell steps into office in Virginia and within his first few months in office he signs an executive order reducing the legal protection for gays and lesbians in his state, and then, while he's on a roll, issues a proclamation to honor the Confederacy.  One can only imagine what's next.

But before we get off on that tangent, about a week ago The Fed did a post about the so-called "Real Americans;" people who claim that their patriotism for America is superior to others because of certain enumerated beliefs typically revolving around a social conservative agenda.  One of the biggest ironies (or perhaps "hypocrisies" is a more apt description) of this group is their love for the Confederacy, it's flag, and all things associated therewith.  Nothing could be more anti-patriotic.

All racial implications of slavery aside (and that is a HUGE aside, people), the reason why honoring the Confederacy is anti-patriotic is simple: secession from the United States is treason. Text-book treason at that.  If you love America, you cannot love something that tried to destroy America. The two concepts are mutually exclusive.  We can add this inconsistency to the long line of inconsistencies talked about by The Fed and others regarding how so-called "Real Americans" seem to be missing the point about what it means to actually be, well, an American.  If you wanted to honor the memory of the Civil War, then decalre April "Civil War History Month," not "Confederate History Month."   In sum, Governor McDonnell's declaration of "Confederate History Month" in order to honor the Civil War is analogous to declaring September as "Al-Qaeda History Month" in order to honor 9/11.
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