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No, no racism here, just good soldiering

By Tony Hicks
Thursday, February 10th, 2011 at 1:25 pm in Uncategorized.

That One Car Tag
Picture by Flickr user thetimchannel used under Creative Commons attribution license

We now break from the normal tomfoolery of this Insert Foot blog for a semi-serious rant about people still living in the 19th Century.

I think Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson pretty much summed it up with one word.

“Seriously?”

The Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans wants the state to issue a series of commemorative license plates honoring the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

OK, sure. I’m a history buff. I get it. Sort of (I’m pretty sure I would’ve been on the other side — it gets pretty warm in the South and I tend to sweat a lot). But I had the same reaction as Johnson when I heard that one of the figures they want to honor is Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, also known as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

You remember those guys. Hid under sheets. Preached white supremacy. Lynched blacks for looking at white women, refused to buy CDs by new jack music artists in the early ’90s, etc.

Seriously?

Forrest is considered to be a military genius by some. Others don’t think he was so wonderful after leading a massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow, then joining the Klan after the war. Obviously, this guy was not a fan of Motown.

In language these people can probably understand, after the war – during which his exploits became legendary – Forrest became a terrorist. That’s what the Klan was.

Greg Stewart of the Sons of Confederate Veterans says the good general eventually distanced himself from the Klan and became a good Christian at the end of his life. Which is a great argument to forgive lots of people who find religion only when they realize they may not getting into heaven for being evil toads for most of their lives.

He says we should “respect that.”

Oh. Why? Because he was a great military strategist who massacred black troops? And, yes, here comes the Hitler comparison I said previously people should stop using.

The guys in the Nazi high command were pretty good strategists themselves, rolling through and conquering much of Europe like drunken frat boys who stumbled onto an abandoned tank factory. They slaughtered millions of innocent people and made the name “Adolph” pretty much unusable for the next 10,000 years.

But, wow — great strategists. Forget Nuremburg. Say you’re sorry and get up on that license plate.

I’m sick of racists making excuses for other racists. At least come out and admit you’re one. I’ll give the Klan credit for that — at least they don’t beat around the bush (though I’d really wish they’d take off those hoods — they’re so 19th century).

Find something better to do with your time. Plan your next Civil War re-enactment. Formulate a strategy to deal with the communist troops that gathered at the Mexican border in 1987 and are still awaiting the order to attack, something.

And change your name. It’s fine to honor one’s heritage – well, maybe not the racism, lynching, segregation, etc. — but do it in a way that provides real perspective, and draw adult conclusions that make sense.

You’re not the Sons of Confederate Veterans. You’re not even their grandsons or great-grandsons. You lost – Get over it.

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One Response to “No, no racism here, just good soldiering”

  1. Pat Craig Says:

    Tony, you neglected to explore the most interesting part of this tale — Fort Pillow. Certainly, the massacre puts him in the Rusty Calley category, but Fort fricken Pillow?
    Was this where he got the idea for the Klan uniforms? Did he dream of eating giant marshmallows the night before the fight? Did they call it Fort Pillow because until the massacre, was it considered cushy duty?And, as long as I’m asking stuff, that hyundai in the photo? Is that a Hyundai Mouron, and how would you pronounce that. That should do it for now

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