Confederate traitors do not deserve to be honored by America

GEORGE E. CURRY | 7/13/2015, 10:58 a.m.
Can you imagine waving a flag that honors Benedict Arnold, a name synonymous with treason?
George Curry

(NNPA) –Can you imagine waving a flag that honors Benedict Arnold, a name synonymous with treason?

How about traveling to work and back on Aldrich Ames Boulevard, a tribute to the CIA mole who secretly worked for the Russians?

Should we erect a statue of Robert Hanssen, the FBI computer and wiretapping expert who spent most of his career spying for the Soviet Union and Russia, in the hallway of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.?

Do you favor naming public schools attended mostly by Jews after Fritz Kuhn to honor the German who lived in the U.S. and was in charge of the famous U.S. Nazi group, the German American Bund?

If you are repulsed by the thought of honoring those traitors, you should be equally indignant at the thought of erecting statues and naming streets and schools after Confederate traitors.

Make no mistake about it: Those who declared war on the Union were traitors, defined as a person who is not loyal to his or her own country, friends, etc.

Eleven Southern states broke from the Union for the same reason.

Writing in his book, The Creation of Confederate Nationalism: Ideology and identity in the Civil War South, Drew Gilpin Faust observed that leaders of the secession movement across the South cited slavery as the most compelling reason for Southern independence.

Alexander Stephens, in what became known as the Cornerstone Speech, said on March 21, 1861, in Savannah, Georgia, “The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.”

He explained, “[The Confederate] its corner-stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

These historical facts notwithstanding, a majority of Americans, 57 percent, view the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride rather than racism, according to a recent CNN poll.

It gets more interesting when the numbers are broken down by race. Of Whites polled, only 25 percent view the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism. However, 72 percent of Blacks associate the flag with racism.

It is time to bring down the Confederate flag of hate, but we shouldn’t stop there. We should remove the monuments and tributes to the Civil War traitors from public buildings and streets. If Robert J. Bentley, the Republican governor of Alabama, can voluntarily remove four Confederate flags from the Capitol grounds in Montgomery and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., can recommend that a statue of Kentucky-born Jefferson Davis be removed from the state Capitol, it is time to remove the tributes to Confederate leaders from the U.S. Capitol.

Visitors to the Capitol are greeted by towering statues of 11 former Confederate leaders, including Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Vice President Alexander H. Stephens and Gen. Robert E. Lee.