Police protests have been growing over the years. Commensurate with an increase in police power. Such must stop and be corrected for the good of those suffering suppression.
Two more black deaths of concern in the past 24 hours. The nation is out of control. Beginning with the police.
A black man shot in a Wendy’s parking lot in Atlanta. I viewed the shooting on the internet. The scene one of police out of control in the manner they handled a simple situation.
The other in California. A black man was found hanging from a tree dead. Police claim a suicide. The matter is under investigation, including an autopsy.
One need go no further than the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence to understand there is no difference between black and white when it comes to the law.
The second paragraph.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. — That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED. — That WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS, it is the RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE NEW GOVERNMENT, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, AS TO THEM SHALL SEEM MOST LIKELY TO EFFECT THEIR SAFETY AND HAPPINESS.” (emphasis added)
I have 2 major concerns.
The first is a government cannot operate without some sort of police power. “Defund” actually means “reorganize.” It should if it does not.
Society requires some sort of policing. Whether you like to believe it or not, people are not all the same. There are bad people out there. Some intrinsically evil.
My other concern involves property rights. Yes, there is such a thing as property rights. A person buys a piece of real estate, he owns it. His money paid for it, performed improvements, etc.
In comes a group of protesters. Most black. As in Seattle. They have taken over a 4 or 6 block area, including a police precinct.
I saw a black man at the protest site on TV yesterday explaining what they had p planned for that area (pointing) and then another. Not his to do with. He had not paid for the properties nor earned them.
Property owners have rights also. Not as valuable as human life. However to be considered.
If the police/black problem is not resolved, eventually you will have the blacks and property owners at each others’ throats.
I wrote yesterday re the removal of Confederate statues, changing names of military bases, etc. The point I sought to make was one cannot be selective in so doing. Do them all or none at all.
The question then becomes what is “all.”
Take Arlington Cemetery for example.
In 1900, Congress approved the burial of Confederate veterans in Arlington Cemetery. They numbered 482.
Arlington is divided into sections. The Confederate soldiers lie in section 16. Section 16 is not far from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
There is the Confederate Memorial authorized in 1906. Unveiled by President Wilson in 1914. Intentionally unveiled on the 196th anniversary of the birth of Jefferson Davis.
Since erected, most President send a wreath to be placed at the Memorial on Memorial Day.
There is a Tomb of the Civil War Unknowns in section 26. Dedicated in 1866. The remains of war dead arising from the fields of Bull Run and the Route to the Rappahanak River.
Two thousand one hundred eleven dead from the battles buried in Arlington. Some Union, some Confederate. Scattered remains across the battlefield within a 25 mike radius of Washington. The result of mass carnage. Remains could not be identified.
All buried together. One grave/vault for all.
The history of the land known as Arlington interesting. Reveals connections with both sides of the Civil War.
George Washington’s step grandson was George Washington Parke Custis. His grandmother was Martha Washington.
Custis inherited what he named the Arlington Estate in 1802. From whom, I could not determine. George Washington himself? I do not know. All I could discover was he inherited the property.
Custis wanted the property to be a living memorial to the former President.
So far, everyone concerned with the Arlington property on the side of the angels.
Custis had a daughter Mary. She married Robert E. Lee in 1831. The same Robert E. Lee who led Confederate forces in the Civil War.
When Custis died, he left the estate to his daughter Mary for the duration of her life, and upon her death, to her eldest son.
Robert E. Lee never owned the property himself, though he was executor of his father in law’s will.
The Lees abandoned the property at the start of the Civil War. Union soldiers were coming. The Union seized the property on May 25, 1861. The land had value from a military perspective. It was located on high ground and was perfect for defense purposes in protecting Washington.
The taking by the Union had nothing to do with punishing the Lees. It was taken strictly for its strategic value.
The first Civil War Union dead was buried May 13, 1864. There were 2 national cemeteries at the time. Both overloaded with bodies due to the War. Arlington not a national cemetery yet. Nevertheless, the 2 national cemeteries closed to any further burials the day the first Union soldier was buried at Arlington.
Arlington became a national cemetery June 15, 1864.
Arlington was segregated. As all national cemeteries were at the time. Arlington remained segregated till 1948 when President Truman desegregated it.
White soldiers buried in section 13. African Americans and freed people in section 27. Today there are 3,800 freed African Americans buried in section 27.
Arlington is huge. It has expanded several times. Today 400,000 veterans and eligible dependents are buried in Arlington.
The Lee home long gone, of course.
A law was passed soon after the War began. Property on Union soil could be sold for back taxes. One condition. The owner had to pay the taxes in person.
Mary, wife of General Lee, had failed to pay the taxes. All of $92.07. She claimed illness the day she was to appear to pay the taxes. She sent her cousin Philip Fendall in her place. The authorities refused to accept payment from Fendall as the law required the person who defaulted to appear in person.
The Union purchased the property.
Custis sued. After many years, the case was settled with the Government paying something like $3 million.
Now for the question. Should all the Confederate monuments be removed and as well as all the Confederate graves?
Many, if not all, will say no way. I say why not. What is good for one, is good for all. Otherwise leave everything alone. Do nothing.
The situation not as simple as it initially appears. I may be wrong. The question a tough one.
I apologize for not writing about Key West as frequently as I did. This is day 95 of my self-quarantine. If I do not go out, I do not know what is going on. When I am back in circulation news of Key West will be more prevalent.
Enjoy your Sunday!
“Oh where is the noble face of modesty, or the strength of virtue, now that blasphemy is in power and men have put justice behind them, and there is no law but lawlessness, and none join in fear of the gods.” Euripides.
The Greeks are always a good source of commentary on the failings of humanity. Here Euripides is speaking out against lawlessness and anarchy. It’s from one of his tragedies, but I don’t know which one.
Iphigenia in Aulis
I would say that everywhere, we should at least start with de-glorification of the confederacy, period! We need not necessarily demonize it, although we have done that with the Third Reich and Italy’s fascism symbols, but at the VERY least, not allow its glorification in any way. That would include statues, monuments, named afters, etc., etc.
That should include national cemeteries, including Arlington. I have real problems removing any civil war veterans buried there, that would be disrespectful, but I think any glorification of them there, say special recognitions, memorial ceremonies, veteran flags, etc., should not be allowed. Any other memorials of them, apart from ordinary headstones should come down and any ceremonies specifically to them, should be curtailed. They were traitors and should be regarded as such, apart from appropriate good taste towards death itself.
We owe this much, to the soldiers and their descendants who fought and died in that disaster, as well as those who are descendants of the slaves, for which this war was largely fought.
Tom presents a good argument. Personally, I hesitate to apply the word “traitor” to the military forces of the Confederacy. Traitor is a harsh word. Most Confederate soldiers and generals came from states that had formally seceded from the union, which in their minds made them fighters for the rights of their states against the tyranny of the Union. Of course the Constitution makes no allowance for secession or rebellion, so they were legally wrong to believe they were no longer part of that Union. Even though the United States itself had been born out of secession from and rebellion against Britain.
The causes of the Civil War go far deeper than the issue of slavery, and are too complex to be discussed here on Lou’s blog. For me, the war was a great sadness, and it should have been avoided. You may be familiar with a folk song called “Two Brothers”. It’s about a family’s two sons who went to war. One wore blue and one wore grey. Neither were traitors.
The 2,111 dead that Lou describes being entombed together at Arlington were gathered from battlefields nearby. Most were unrecognizable. Some wore blue and some wore grey. We should leave them in peace.
“Traitor” is indeed a harsh word, indelicate too. It is however appropriate and accurate. Furthermore your argument that it, the confederacy,
was no worse or different than the United States succeeding from Great Britain is an excuse at best, especially as those who were the military of the United States were clearly considered treasonous by the brits and summarily executed, if/when caught.
The causes of the Civil War do go far deeper than slavery, but would not have been caused in the first place had it not been for slavery having been abolished. In either case that argument is not germane to the discussion, neither is how you feel sad about all of this. Sad is not how those who died fighting the insurrection and their descendants and especially those who survived and are still being persecuted by the descendants of those that won’t give up their defeat. Sad is only what the apologists are when they don’t have the strength to do what needs to be done and would rather hide behind their own often twisted version of the Constitution rather than do anything at all.
What is real and important is what we should do something about the situation we are left with, which is what to do about these statutes, monuments, burials, etc., etc. I too say we do not remove the existing Civil War burials at Arlington or other national cemeteries. However, that we do eliminate any celebratory monuments, etc., and cease any celibrations having to do with the confederacy in any national cemetery from now on.
Treason is defined in section 3 of the Constitution, and by that definition every Confederate soldier in the Civil War—as well as every political leader—was a traitor. Accusations of treason were commonplace throughout the war for all sorts of offenses, including mere complaints against the Union. Lincoln, himself, had a list of names on the Confederate side that he wanted to be tried for treason. But as the war ended the accusations of treason gave way to a desire for leniency. In the end no one was executed for treason, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis was not even tried for the crime.
My reference to sadness about the Civil War was not personal. It has more to do with the war creating a tear in the fabric of the country that continues even today. Our nation joined others that were torn apart by hostilities that might have been avoided. That is a sadness for humanity.
As to what it all means for us today? Well, the statues are coming down, monuments are being defaced, and there are even those who would disinter the dead to avoid being reminded of their nation’s history. I disagree with those actions, but I have no power to change the minds and behaviors of others.
The constitution was written on toilet paper and is worthless when we are willing to accept it with just platitudes and worthless conversation, willing to twist it for what ever political position we wish to be true. Take you for instance, you are willing to let the issue of treason go, regardless of what the Constitution says because your sad about that Civil War thing. On the other hand you are letting Trump get away with anything (emoluments is just one example) because… well I don’t know why! But you want to adroitly bang on about the constitution when even you don’t actually support it, you are all talk.
I say let’s not re-litigate the Civil War, let’s at least try and fix the damage done Lincoln and then the rest of us, didn’t have the guts to fix when we should have.
I believe we should de-glorify any celebration of the Civil War, even that of the Union army. It was an awful time and making a thing out of a union triumph celebration would only serve to humiliate. Why not create a Civil War day to commemorate having saved the union (and constitution) and making the country whole again. One day a year to discuss our oneness, not every other weekend of every summer when we let NASCAR celebrate a Confederate America. Which perpetuates separate Americas.
To accomplish this I think we MUST first eliminate any form of Confederacy pride, exultation or celebration, especially that singular icon the Confederate Flag. Not only that but any statutes, monuments and military “fort” designations, etc., etc. We should, as a nation, divest ourselves of any confederacy pride. It has no place in our democracy and should NOT be tolerated by any American.
Maybe then we can work on the Constitution meaning something again.
BTW – I do think you have the power to change the minds of people. Try first to stop hiding behind the Constitution and start speaking truth to power.
My great fear is that Americans will come to regard the Constitution as outdated and worthless, written on toilet paper (or on parchment, to put it more nicely). For now it remains the backbone of our government. Fortunately, despite your accusation, I cannot twist it for whatever political position I wish to be true. Neither can you. Only the Justices of the Supreme Court can legally interpret the Constitution. Justices that apply a strict interpretation would likely side with the idea that all Confederate forces were traitors and should have been prosecuted. The judicial activists of the court would likely rule in favor of a less harsh interpretation, much like what actually happened. My opinion doesn’t count. Neither does yours.
How on earth did Donald Trump and emoluments become part of this thread? We are talking about events that occurred in 1864.
I wouldn’t object to the creation of an annual Civil War Day. But I believe it would cause more wounds than it heals.
BTW – I don’t hide behind the Constitution. I stand behind it.
Perhaps we should make a few points clear. First, “States Rights” was the impetus for the Civil war with slavery as the background.
Next, Bobby Lee resigned his commission in the Union Army when he believed he was about to be given orders to attack Richmond, Virginia. (He indeed would have been given the order.)
So I ask you, if a General is ordered by Trump to lead arm troops into Seatle, should that General charge willingly? or resign as Bobby Lee did?
And if that General was from Seatle, should he (she) take up with the National Guard to help defend Seatle… just as Bobby Lee did to defend his home in Richmond, Virginia.
One final point; Bobby Lee was only the General of Northern Virginia for all but the last 2 months of the war.
It’s never so simple when viewed with a calm, critical eye, evaluating all the facts.
Resigning the Union is perhaps not as treasonous as attacking and killing American soldiers especially as an aggression in northern areas (say Pennsylvania), yet treasonous, never the less. Whether they could have been tried for treason is irrelevant. Twisting things to suit ones own personal views is not exactly calm or true, neither is your opinion (or feelings) about what should constitute treason and should maybe be a little better thought out.
Same goes for your reasons for the Civil War. Like the poster above, it really is more complicated than we can discuss here, but not as simply put so emphatically by you as “States Rights” what ever that really is. As I implied in my reply to the other post above, you, or anyone else, would be hard pressed to argue that the Confederacy would have been created, or the Civil War would have been fought had it not been for slavery being abolished. The “snowflake” mentality (excuses) with this and any other subject needs to stop.
One further final point is that Lee’s short tenure in command was due to several things including several mistakes he made which caused his/their demise. Ditto the “snowflake” excuses. He knew the consequences and the likely out come(hanging as a disgraced traitor).
Your reference about Seattle is both confusing and weird. If you are talking about Robert E. Lee being in the National Guard and from Seattle and having to choose between defending Seattle (who has yet to succeed from the United States, form it’s own government and start attacking, say Portland, I would hope he be hung for treason if he joins that group. More importantly, why WOULD you even bring that up in this discussion, or is your whole post a hoax?
Making excuses for the Confederacy and the Civil War at this point is an effort in fulitily. That’s a ship that has already sailed. What to do about what we’re left with, is what we need to be talking about.
Lou, for now I think you should stay home and out of harms way, writing about what you want and what’s important to YOU, instead of putting yourself in any jeopardy, just so you can right a few tidbits about Key West for jest a few of your cranky readers.
The word defund is a poor choice if you are seeking to modify the temperament of police agencies. You may find the need to spend more for better in service training, physiological evaluation and additional community action officers. There is no doubt police are less focused on community service as in years gone by and the Supreme Court has rendered decisions that police are not mandated to protect. There is a disconnect and Protect and Serve is a thing of the past. Police agencies have become militarized in their appearance, equipment, training and attitude. They are well paid for the difficulties and danger they face. Do it right, do it professionally and do it without ego and bias. If you can’t then you are in the wrong profession.
Lincoln wanted the Country to heal and move on after our first civil war and acted accordingly, kind of like when Ford pardoned Nixon. They were mostly interested in a national reconciliation.
Maybe true, but it hasn’t seemed to work out that way. Some are still fighting the war, others still suffering in spite of it.