Monday, February 20, 2006

Historical cleansing movement rears its ugly head (again)

The latest debate in the saga of Confederate historical revisionism has come to Tennessee. Namely, what to do about one of Tennessee's most famous (or infamous) war heroes, General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Everyone thinks or Forrest as the founder of the Ku Klux Klan-but Forrest was not the founder, he was merely the early Klan's most famous leader. What's more, the Klan of the 1860's was not the Klan of the 1920's, known for its vicious lynchings, nearly all historians of good repute agree on that. By 1869, when he thought the Klan had become too violent, he ordered it disbanded, and later in his life, the former slave trader known for his brutality became an advocate for black advancement.

Forrest's record was a decidedly mixed one, but he remains an extremely important figure in Tennessee history. Now comes the characteristic outcry from certain so-called black leaders to remove his bust from the State Capitol, rename Forrest Park in Memphis (African-American Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said no), and purge Forrest's name (at least in any good light) from the history of Tennessee. State Rep. Johnny Shaw, himself a racist who thinks that white Representatives concerned about their black constituents should not be welcomed into the Black Caucus he leads, says we need to become "race neutral."

Shaw and those like him are not interested in becoming a race-neutral society, they are interested in exacting vengeance on white people because whites are responsible for all of the evils they see in the world, so they think. Rather than seriously address the very real problems of Tennessee's black community, they would rather spend their time tearing down statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest, who is apparently the party lately deemed as responsible for why the illegitimacy rate is twice as high among African-Americans, the illiteracy rate twice as high, and the murder rate three times as high as among the rest of the population.

I'm not saying that Nathan Bedford Forrest was Mr. Fabulous, I am saying that our history should not be rewritten because Shaw and his ilk do not like it. Our time would better be spent doing things vouchers to African-American children to attend better schools.

Oh, I forgot, Shaw would rather keep them in a failing public school system, and spend his time and ours griping about General Forrest.

And yes, I think removing that bust would be a great tragedy. Why? Well, we have a new form of cultural genocide in this country. If there is any historical symbol or decoration that gives any honor to the Confederate States of America, it needs to be destroyed post-haste according to the orthodoxy of the Politically Correct.

We don't need people like Shaw telling us that the people in our past might not always have been so savory...we can figure that out ourselves. You do not erase the great figures of history merely because they did things that were not always pleasant.


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