19 January 2019 is Robert E. Lee’s Birthday in Florida and Confederate Heroes’ Day in Texas. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way it adds up to Grand Treason Day in the United States—a day that honors those brave men who broke their oaths to their country and took up arms against it in defense of their god-given right to hold other people in servitude. The right to imprison other people and to compel them to work for nothing but the bare minimum needed to keep them alive. The right to beat them for trivial or imagined offenses, the right to mutilate them for whatever reason, the right to work them to death in the name of profit. There’s no nobility or honor in the business—just crass calculations of profit and loss.
Not a fan. I will note that I have (or should that be had?) relatives—long dead before I ever stepped onto the cosmic stage, needless to say—on both sides of that conflict. No direct ancestors as far as I can tell—but their brothers or cousins or the like. Hell, one of my direct ancestors apparently took part in the institution of slavery itself—the 1840 census (this is from memory) showed him as having an enslaved woman as part of his household. I suppose I could celebrate my “heritage” in some manner, but I prefer merely to record it—treat it as an object-lesson, I suppose, rather than a holy icon. It’s a matter of taste, maybe.
Ah, but it’s all about heroism and valor and willingness to die for your country, comes the rejoinder, not about the specific cause these heroes embraced. Horseshit. The German soldiers who fought for Adolf Hitler had all those things, and their valor in no way ennobled their sacrifice. They fought in a bad cause, they died for a bad principle, and they deserve to be smothered in obloquy, not held up to the admiration of posterity. And so did the Confederates. It’s the least we can do for their shame.