Whereupon we address Skippy.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that his friend and Loyal Minion Skippy asks a serious question. Since your Maximum Leader’s post of last week prompted the question, he feels he should do something to answer it.

Here is what Skippy wrote at the end o a typically brilliant post:

Anyhow, the Maximum Leader made this statement.

“Yes, there is the whole Confederate Flag issue in Allen’s past. But honestly, your Maximum Leader knows plenty (and he means PLENTY) of people who he can honestly say are not racists at all and honestly and sincerely believe that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of a noble and honorable cause for which their ancestors gave their lives.”

My question - and I’m dead serious in asking it - “Is that possible?” The Confederacy stood for something that is historically irrefutable, specifically that you can actually own other human beings, exploit their labour and build a society on it. It really is that specific. Is that really something to honor? And if you’re seeking to represent three hundred million Americans, of every of every imaginable hue, is it something you should say that you’re proud of?

Humm… Allow your Maximum Leader to answer these questions posed by our friend Skippy one at a time… Is it possible to find people who are not racists and who believe the Confederate Flag is a worthy symbol? Yes. Is it possible to honor a society built on human bondage? No. Is that something to say you’re proud of? No. But on those last two your Maximum Leader will equivocate for a moment.

First off… Before this gets to be some heated exchanged allow your Maximum Leader to say a few things. First, although your Maximum Leader was born in the South and considers himself a “Southerner” he has never really understood the whole “Civil War Thing.” Perhaps this is because his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were either Northerners or hadn’t yet immigrated to this reat country at the time of the Civil War. Or perhaps it is that your Maximum Leader grew to understand the true nature of the war. Your Maximum Leader has never called it “the War of Northern Aggression.” In fact your Maximum Leader’s favorite description of the Civil War comes from the official history of the war published by the United States War Department. That history is called the “History of the War of the Rebellion.” Your Maximum Leader has gotten himself into a pickle from time to time by presuming to try to explain to some of his neighbors how the real shocking thing about the American Civil War is that it lasted as long as it did. The war was a testament to the incompetence of Union Generals and the luck of many Rebel ones. But once the Union figured it out (and it was only a matter of time before it did) the Confederacy had no chance. No. Chance. What. So. Ever.

But your Maximum Leader gets ahead of himself…

Anyhoo…

The problem that Skippy is having understanding the apparent paradox between people not being racists and still believing the Confederate Flag represents a noble cause is a common one among educated people. You see, people (like Skippy, and the Smallholder - who must deal with this on a more regular basis as a teacher than does your Maximum Leader) who know that the real cause of the American Civil War was slavery don’t understand how someone else can say otherwise. But, unfortunately, there are people who Churchill might have called “loosely educated” who are particularly vocal when it comes to the Confederate Flag.

These “loosely educated” people are the ones who honestly and truly (and passionately one might add) believe that the American Civil War was not faught over the issue of slavery but over the issue of “states rights.” Of course, what these people fail to realize is that slavery was the reason behind all of the “states rights” arguments.

Don’t get your Maximum Leader wrong here. Your Maximum Leader is all for state government and the separation of Federal and State powers. He is all for a “limited” Federal Government. In the Reagan years this was called “New Federalism.” This is to say that the role of the Federal Government in a normal person’s life should be small, but the States might have more power to intrude on your lives. (Pretty much what the Founders more or less had in mind.)

But because of the lead-up to the American Civil War the very term “states rights” has become code for “keeping the black man down.” The term is fairly toxic. Frankly that is with good reason. The only time “states rights” gets any air time at all is when John C Calhoun, George Wallace (first term), Pettus, and all the others were using it to preserve either slavery or legally instituted separation based on skin color.

Of course, these historical facts do not concern the loosely educated people. To them the term “states rights” has taken on the magical meaning of “keeping The Man off my back.” You see, to the loosely educated, the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. It was all about “fighting The Man” and being able to do what you want and how you want to do it. It doesn’t matter what the real causes were… It only matters what you think the causes were.

It is a source of constant disappointment to your Maximum Leader (who fancies himself a pretty thoughtful conservative type) that many leaders of the Republican party have piggy-backed a more modern conception of “New Federalism” onto the negatively charged term of “states rights.” He sees it all over the South.

Well-meaning, if not fully well-educated, (predominately) Republican activists go out and say something to the effect of “Conservative Republicans want to return power to the states, just like your great- great- grand-daddy did when he faught for Bobby Lee during the War of Northern Aggression.” It makes your Maximum Leader’s skin crawl. Regardless of how it makes your Maximum Leader’s skin feel, it happens.

So… Back to Skippy’s question. Yes. Yes, in point of fact your Maximum Leader can rattle of for you (but will not) a number of people who your Maximum Leader would vouch for as not being racists; but still believing that the Confederate Flag represents a noble cause worth dying for. When you look at it (wrongly) as these people do, you find that you are making a wrong set of assumptions. It is not that these people are holding up the nobility of owning slaves, they think they are upholding a legitimate political point that in their minds boils down to supporting self-determination. As completely wrong headed as this is, it is still what they believe.

As for George Allen and all this… Your Maximum Leader has met Senator Allen a number of times. He can’t claim to be a friend of the Senator. But he knows a number of people who know Allen personally and others who have worked for him. Your Maximum Leader is confident that all of them would agree that George Allen is not a racist who’s true nature is just being revealed. George Allen was likely one of those who honestly believed that the “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy was “states rights” and not slavery. He’s just had to learn the hard way what the truth of the matter is.

As for having a noose in his office… Well… Your Maximum Leader thinks that is more in line with his “kick their soft teeth down their whiney throats” line of partisanship than his any secret support of lynching.

All in all your Maximum Leader is thinking one thing about George Allen. He may win re-election here in Virginia; but his national aspirations are pretty much a non-starter.

Carry on.

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