Showing posts with label slavery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label slavery. Show all posts

Monday, August 21, 2017


Robert E Lee statue removed in New Orleans
In the midst of protests and controversies about taking down Confederate statues and monuments, seemingly enlightened people state that we judge Robert E Lee too harshly, that he was a complex man who is considered by many to be a person of honor and rectitude.  That may well be, but he led an army of rebellion against the United States to preserve an institution that he himself labeled a moral & political evil.

In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages.I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild & melting influence of Christianity, than the storms & tempests of fiery Controversy.

Robert E Lee's letter to his wife.

How unfortunate that Lee didn't follow his better instincts and side with those who opposed slavery.

Further, after the war ended, Lee expressed his opposition to Confederate monuments when he received letters asking his support for erecting a statue of Stonewall Jackson:

As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated, my conviction is, that, however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt, in the present condition of the country, would have the effect of retarding instead of accelerating its accomplishment, and of continuing if not adding to the difficulties under which the Southern people labor.

Yes, Lee was a complex man, but, according to the general himself, the country would be a far better place without Confederate monuments.

Picture from Wikipedia.

Friday, July 3, 2015


Thanks to Doug for his very wise words which helped me articulate my thoughts about tomorrow, our national holiday, in which we celebrate the birth of the United States of America. The original sin of our birth as a nation is grave, indeed, and soils all that followed, with serious consequences still felt today. The US is my country, because I choose to live here, rather than somewhere else, but I am no fervent, flag-waving patriot, because I see the good, the bad, and the ugly in our history. (As a matter of fact, flag worship is repulsive rather than inspiring to me.) I prefer to honor the inspirational words in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the US Constitution, which did not speak the whole truth at the time they were written, and are not yet wholly true to this day. I will continue to do my duty as a citizen, as I see it, because it is my responsibility to do so in my country of choice, with only a remote hope that the splendid ideals spelled out in the founding documents will one day be realized.

Friday, June 19, 2015


Are we now seeing the beginning of the breakdown of civil society in the United States?

Have we ever had a civil society in the US?

Is there greater violence now, or were we always a violent nation?

When is a massacre by a white person a terrorist act, an existential threat that we must fight with all our might?

When will we give attention to the phrase "a well-regulated militia" in the Second Amendment and seriously discuss the meaning of the words? Or does the phrase signify nothing whatsoever?

Not that I expect answers, but I do believe we need to start talking about these matters.

Though I know them to be true, I was saddened by President Obama's words.
We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.

Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let’s be clear:

At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.
It is in our power to do something, but we will talk about the shootings for a while, and then we will do nothing.

The president said further:
The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked. And we know that hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals.
The dark part of our history goes back to the beginning, with the Founding Fathers acceptance of the institution of slavery for the sake of unity.