Living In The South

Our local paper devotes a portion of the editorial page to “Quotable Quotes.” In today’s paper, two of the selections were:

“I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” - Abraham Lincoln

“We have already lost all but our honor by the last war, and I must say, that in order to be men we must protect our honor at all hazards and we must protect our wives, our homes, and our families.” - Nathan Bedford Forrest

Your humble Smallholder almost had an aneurism. What are the odds that they’ll print my letter to the editor?

Dear Sirs,

The “Quotable” section from March 29’s paring of quotes from Abraham Lincoln and Nathan Bedford Forrest was astounding. Both are actual quotes, but when combined together they cast doubt on the DNR editorial staff’s collective judgment.
The Lincoln quote in which he claims no desire to interfere with slavery where it exists should have been placed in the context of Lincoln’s wartime maneuvers to keep the border states in the Union. Politicians routinely tailor their comments to their audiences and a wise man looks at a politician’s actions rather than his words to determine the politician’s true intent. Lincoln did end slavery, so one ought to take quotes like the one you published with a grain of salt. However, since folks who want to deny that slavery was the cause of the Civil War have popularized Honest Abe’s quote in public discourse, it is possible that the selection of the uncontextualized quote was the product of ignorance and not malevolence.
Unfortunately, the DNR opens itself to the charge of racist malevolence when the Lincoln quote is then paired with Nathan Bedford Forrest’s statement about the mission of the Ku Klux Klan. When Forrest lamented that the South had lost “all but our honor,” he was talking about the collapse of slavery and the loss of white supremacy. When he promoted the protection of “our wives, our homes, and our families,” he believed that the protection required the maintenance of white superiority through terrorism and murder.
If the DNR staff is aware of Forrest’s role in the emergence of the Klan as an instrument of white superiority, choosing to quote this monster is indefensible.
If the DNR editorial staff was unaware of Forrest’s racial atrocities, their lamentable ignorance of basic elements of American history undermines the credibility of the DNR’s editorial analysis.

Sincerely,

Smallholder

3 Comments »

It was a slow news week? They had to gin up some paper sales somehow?

I’m grasping. Can’t cha tell?

BTW, I’d bet the paper would publish your letter.



Polymath said:

In addition to being the initials for the local rag, ‘DNR’ also stands for ‘Do Not Resuscitate.’ This is hospital lingo for letting someone die who is near death anyway (I know this thanks to Mrs. Polymath, RN). Seems fitting for your paper.



Athena Speaking said:

You go, smallholder!



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