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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Gen. Kelly Misremembers

Gen. Kelly After Charlottesville

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly waded into the long-simmering dispute over the removal of memorials to Confederate leaders saying in a televised interview on Monday night that "the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War."

In the interview on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle," host Laura Ingraham asked Kelly about the decision by Christ Church, an Episcopal congregation in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, to remove plaques honoring President George Washington and Robert E. Lee, the commander of Confederate forces during the Civil War...


The following is the full transcript of Kelly's remarks on the removal of Confederate statues:

Well, history's history. And there are certain things in history that were not so good and other things that were very, very good.

I think we make a mistake, though, and as a society, and certainly as individuals, when we take what is today accepted as right and wrong and go back 100, 200, 300 years or more and say, 'What Christopher Columbus did was wrong.'

You know, 500 years later, it's inconceivable to me that you would take what we think now and apply it back then. I think it's just very, very dangerous. I think it shows you just how much of a lack of appreciation of history and what history is.

I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it's different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.

Perhaps it was the fact that Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, was no longer alive that caused this situation.
However, there was a long history of conflict and compromise. Finally, large portions of both sides of the slavery question grew tired of compromise and decided to take a stand.

It was the inability of the long period of compromise to attain a long-term solution that led to the Civil War. I mean, wasn't Bleeding Kansas born from compromise? By then, compromise that worked in the time of Henry Clay was no longer working. Another answer had to be found, and given the heat of the passions, it was obvious which way the wind was blowing.

The Election of 1860 - which, by the way, has plenty of "False News" : alarming reports of slave rebellions instigated by Northern spies (untrue as it turned out) and the foulest motives ascribed to all the principal figures in the election - was the line in the sand. The South said if a "Black" Republican were elected, then they would consider secession or outright secede. Abraham Lincoln was elected and South Carolina seceded the next month.

Compromise is not a cure-all.
It is an intermediate step to a long-term solution. The Civil War was supposed to be that long-term solution, and it was, at least as regards the Union, for no State would presume to secede nowadays.

Robert E. Lee was in the U.S.Army at the time and when Virginia finally did secede, had to break his oath of allegiance, because he felt he must support his State. His situation was a perfect description of a coherence set of beliefs which contained a contradiction, and it was only when Union was opposed to State that the contradiction became deadly.

My brother and I grew up and shared a bedroom with 2 portraits:  U. S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.
I do not think I would remove either, even now.
It is complex.
It becomes more complex the more you immerse yourself into the history of the USA from the beginnings up to the Civil War.


create two lists:  trash / not to trash
and list the leaders you would put under each.

I know exactly where I would put Washington and Jefferson, and exactly where I would place Nathaniel Bedford Forrest and  Edmund Ruffin.

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