Removing Confederate Statues Unfair To Southern Heroes Who Did Other, Later Racism, Says Idiot
Culture warrior Matt Walsh has come up with a unique rationale for keeping statues of dead Confederates in the US Capitol: Removing the monuments would be a grave insult to southern states, because even if the men depicted fought against the USA to preserve slavery, many of them went on to serve their states in Congress later, and isn't it mean just to cancel them for a little light treason in their youth?
In his daily video blog for Ben Shapiro's Internet Whining Concern, Walsh argued for the "cancellation" of House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and the other 66 Rs who voted to remove statues of Confederates from Statuary Hall.
You see, kids, by excluding people simply because they happened to take up arms against the United States in a treasonous rebellion, the bill, which passed the House and is pending in the Senate, would remove statues of "men who served in Congress after the war was over," and how is that even fair? Walsh doesn't even like calling these "Confederate Statues," because that obscures these fine men's "distinguished careers" following the end of the war.
Here's the video, cued up to the start of the segment, although if you want to see his earlier rant about the Washington Post allegedly pushing kinky gay stuff on children, you can do so for extra credit.
Walsh named two former Confederates whose post-Civil War service to their states would be cancelled by the bill. For starters, there's South Carolina's Wade Hampton III, who Walsh says
opposed secession but remained loyal to his state when it seceded and became a brigadier general of the cavalry for the Confederates. In the three decades that he lived after the war, he served as governor, US Senator, and railroad commissioner.
In addition, Walsh singled out the career of Alabama's Joseph Wheeler, who, yes, was a cavalry general in the Confederate army, but also entered politics following the war.
He served in the House from 1881 all the way until 1900. These are not all people who are known to history solely as members of the Confederacy. Many of them had distinguished careers after the fact.
So you see, Walsh explained, removing their statues simply because of their Confederate ties is in fact a kind of anti-Southern bigotry, you Yankee monsters.
That they were members of the Confederacy is a reflection of the fact that they lived in the South. So what Congress is saying today is that Southern states simply are not allowed to honor anyone who lived in or served their state from the middle part of the 19th century up until the beginning of the 20th. Congress has decreed ... that these states must look elsewhere to find people to memorialize.
Huh. So Walsh is saying that nobody in the South did anything worth memorializing since 1900? Kind of a weird take.
Walsh went on to decry McCarthy and the other 66 Republicans who had "[joined] hands with the mindless statue-toppling hordes," because even though the legislation actually will return most statues to the states that provided them, it's more fun to pretend this'll be a festival of anarchy directed at a lot of Very Fine People who served their states honorably after the Civil War.
Or at least you might think that if the only thing you knew about them was what Walsh tells you. Strangely, it only takes a quick visit to the Source of All Knowledge to find out more about the postbellum careers of Wade Hampton III and Joseph Wheeler.
So how did they "serve" their respective states in the post-Reconstruction era? Oh look, it was mostly by doing all they could to undo Reconstruction and reestablish white supremacy! Who could possibly have guessed unless they read the headline up top?
The second goddamn paragraph of Hampton's Wikipedia entry gives you a pretty good sense of his brand of public service:
At the end of Reconstruction, with the withdrawal of federal troops from the state, Hampton was leader of the Redeemers who restored white rule. His campaign for governor was marked by extensive violence by the Red Shirts, a paramilitary group that served the Democratic Party by disrupting elections and suppressing black and Republican voting in the state. He was elected Governor, serving 1876 to 1879. After that, he served two terms as U.S. Senator, from 1879 to 1891.
Read a little further, and you'll see that during the 1876 election that put Hampton in office, some 150 Black South Carolinians were murdered by the Red Shirts and other white supremacist terrorists, although a biographer argued there's "no evidence that Hampton himself supported or encouraged that violence." He only benefited from it, OK?
Oh yes, and before the Civil War? He grew up on a plantation and got rich off the labor of enslaved people. Weird how Walsh left that out, too. In the Wonkette Sekrit ChatCave, Stephen pointed out yesterday that
Wade Hampton's name is everywhere in Greenville, SC, and in mundane things like roads, etc, so you don't think about the history. It's weird that Black people (who mostly live in the South) are conditioned to use the names of white supremacists this way.
There's a reason there's no Goebbels Blvd in Berlin.
So maybe there could be more than one reason not to keep Hampton in a place of honor, gosh, history is complex.
But what about that Joseph Wheeler guy? We bet he had a perfectly unobjectionable career serving Alabama, huh? His Wikipedia entry mostly focuses on his dashing military career, but the "see also" bit links to a discussion of Wheeler's 1894 speech "Slavery and States' Rights," which downplayed the significance of slavery as a cause of the Civil War, justified slavery as a constitutional right — and insisted that enslaved human beings were no more than property.
In essence, like plenty of Lost Cause revisionists to follow, Wheeler blamed the North for causing the war, by infringing on white Southerners' God-given constitutional rights to hold human beings in bondage. Wheeler was particularly incensed by the North's refusal to enforce fugitive slave laws, quoting Daniel Webster as an authority. In fact, by failing to return people who escaped slavery, it was actually Northern states that had committed "treason," leaving the South little choice but to secede.
And then that damn traitor Abraham Lincoln got elected. Wheeler offered these thoughts on the Republican Party's second-favorite president:
Then followed the election of Abraham Lincoln upon a platform which clearly informed the southern people that the guaranties of the Constitution, which they revered, and the doctrines of State rights and other principles of government, which they cherished, were to be ignored, and that they were to be deprived of the greater part of their property, and all possibility of continued prosperity.
The South was of necessity alarmed. They were seized with the fear that the extreme leaders of the Republican party would not stop at any excess, that they would not be satisfied with depriving them of their property, but that, so far as possible, they would place the ignorant slave not only upon equality with, but even above his former master.
It was but natural that such an impending fate horrified the people, and that measures to avert it were contemplated and discussed.
So that's the guy whose good and honest public service to Alabama deserves to be honored in the nation's Capitol, according to Matt Walsh, who would just hate to see such a nice fellow dishonored.
After all, there was so much more to these fine people than just their time in the Confederate Army. There was all the hard work they did to reimpose white supremacy after the end of Reconstruction, but hey, at least they were no longer Confederates then, so it all works out.
[Matt Walsh Show on YouTube via Jason Campbell on Twitter / National Endowment for the Humanities / History.com / "Slavery and States' Rights"]
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