House Democrats on July 6 unveiled a draft of their legislative branch funding bill that contains a provision obviously designed to pander to the radical left. The provision would remove various busts and statues suddenly deemed racially insensitive, including those of individuals associated with the Confederacy, as well as others who had “unambiguous records of racial intolerance.”
Republicans are jumping on the bandwagon, too, which shows that, even in the age of Trump, many GOP officials still lack the guts to resist the left’s cultural revolution. The Republican-controlled Senate is working on its National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill, which contains a provision that would force the Department of Defense to erase all traces of the Confederacy from its U.S. bases and installations.
GOP Joins the War on History
The Republican bill calls for the Defense Department, within three years, to “remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America … or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America from all assets of the Department of Defense.” It is nothing other than a cynical attempt to one-up the Democrats.
Among the military bases to be renamed is Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Forces. Fort Bragg is named for Braxton Bragg, who served with distinction during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. This is why the North Carolina installation was named in his honor, although he also commanded Confederate units during the Civil War. Like Robert E. Lee, Bragg opposed the idea of secession.
Fort Lee in Virginia will also lose its name. Though Robert E. Lee, who was not a supporter of slavery, is most famous for his part in the Civil War, he also had distinguished himself during the Mexican-American War. Gen. Winfield Scott described Lee as “the very best soldier I ever saw in the field.”
The names of other bases are also on the chopping block, but the fact remains that Lee and Bragg were both American heroes – and neither was a traitor to the United States. Both men served the Confederacy not to preserve slavery or to break away from the Union. They served with the intent of defending their respective home states: Virginia, in Lee’s case, and Louisiana, which had become Bragg’s adopted home.
President Donald Trump has vowed to veto the GOP bill. While Congress is winless, thus far, in its attempts to override Trump vetos, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is confident that the legislative branch will overcome a veto in this particular case. Given the lack of spine among Senate Republicans, Grassley may be right.
Why the Confederacy Really Terrifies the Left
The Democrats’ legislative funding bill is not likely to go forward in its current form but the opposition party is sure to fight tooth and nail to protect the provision for removal of the offending statues and busts.
While an argument could certainly be made for the removal of sculpted tributes to certain individuals who deliberately perpetuated racial divisions in the U.S., the GOP provision demands the erasing of all evidence of the Confederacy. As such, it insults an entire section of the American people, disregarding the sacrifices of their ancestors. The fact is, few of those men who perished under the Confederate flag owned slaves – just as only a tiny percentage of white Americans owned slaves. The average Confederate soldier fought primarily to defend his state, and perhaps only for that reason.
The question born of that reality, then, is why the entire existence of the Confederacy must be erased at all. It does nothing to change historical fact. It will never erase the horror that was slavery. Why, then? Republicans and Democrats alike have lived for decades with these Confederate monuments and other symbolic items. Could it be that the Confederacy represents the one thing the left fears the most? A rebellion against federal government dictate?
Read more from Graham J. Noble.