20100409

Conservatives defending the Confederacy?

Pat Buchanan has come out against what he calls "The New Intolerance." Buchanan attacks CNN's Roland Martin for speaking out against Gov. Bob McDonnell for declaring Confederate History Month in Virginia. Martin called it a recognition of terrorists. Buchanan is incensed and calls it intolerance.

Pat Buchanan has no clue what he's talking about. He has no idea what the Confederacy represents to black people, especially to those who grew up in the former Confederate states. Buchanan never had family picnics interrupted by Confederate-flag-waving yahoos yelling "Nigger!" He never had the experience, as a 16-year-old boy simply mowing his lawn, of having Confederate flag-waving freaks threatening to kill him or rather yelling "Die nigger!".

Buchanan makes a good point of how slavery existed in Maryland and many other northern states throughout the Civil War. I'm not stupid enough to think racism only exists in the former Confederacy. I often laugh when I hear people say that they didn't know anything about racism until they visited the South. Come on. Some of the most blatant racism/prejudice I've experienced in my adult life has been in New York (Manhattan) and in the burbs of Los Angeles and Pennsylvania.

Message to Buchanan and others: Don't defend the Confederacy and tell people like me what it really means. The Confederacy has meant something to me my entire life. It's not something I imagined. It's something I've seen. I want no part of it.

We should no more celebrate or recognize the "sacrifice" of the Confederacy as something noble any more than the Germans should celebrate Nazis. Surely Germans loved their sons who fought defending their nation. But does that mean they should fly the old flag and dedicate months to their valiant Nazi past?

Like Germany's past, America's Confederate past is history. Leave it as just that.