Happy Memorial Day from The New York Times.
The editorial board of the paper of record has a question for Americans as we remember those who fought and died to preserve our freedom. “Why does the U.S. military celebrate white supremacy?”
First, the editors present their opinion that the U.S. military celebrates white supremacy as if it’s an established fact. Then they ask why the military does this. Next to the headline is a photo of a white bullet made to look like a member of the Ku Klux Klan complete with two little holes for its eyes.
Its subtitle? “It is time to rename bases for American heroes — not racist traitors.”
Okay, now we get it. This is simply the start of the “into action” phase of their “1691 project” for which the project’s creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, was recently awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
I wonder who The Times would consider an American hero. Barack Obama? The first African-American president of the United States. We could change the name of Fort Benning in Georgia to Fort Obama. But wait, he didn’t serve in the military. In fact, he hates the military.
The major point the editors (attempt to) make is this:
This same toxic legacy clings to the 10 United States military installations across the South that were named for Confederate Army officers during the first half of the 20th century. Apologists often describe the names as a necessary gesture of reconciliation in the wake of the Civil War. In truth, the namings reflect a federal embrace of white supremacy that found its most poisonous expression in military installations where black servicemen were deliberately placed under the command of white Southerners — who were said to better “understand” Negroes — and confined to substandard housing, segregated transportation systems and even “colored only” seating in movie houses.
Democrats were, in fact, the party of slavery, the Confederacy, and Jim Crowe. Republicans were the party of Abraham Lincoln. Why is the left trying so desperately to rewrite history? Are they hoping to untether themselves from the Democratic Party’s despicable past?
Much of the south had been decimated in the final years of the war. The period following the Civil War was fraught with tensions between the North and the South. Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox may have ended the war, but it did little to ease the animosity between the combatants. The bitterness continued for years and traces of it are still present today.
So, yes, efforts to reunite the country following a long and bloody war necessitated gestures of reconciliation.
The op-ed begins with the story of Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who walked into a Charleston, S.C. church five years ago and killed nine people, all of whom were African-Americans. Following his arrest he said he had “committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war.” The editors write:
A murderer’s manifesto describing the killings as the start of a race war — combined with photos of the killer brandishing a pistol and a rebel flag — made it impossible to ignore the connection between Confederate ideology and a blood-drenched tradition of racial terrorism that dates back to the mid-19th century in the American South.
Outrage over the Charleston massacre forced South Carolina to finally remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds — where it had flown for more than half a century — and led major retailers to drop merchandise bearing Confederate insignia.
The editors note that “The National Cathedral in Washington showed how pervasive this iconography had become when it dismantled an elaborate set of stained-glass windows depicting the Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in saintly poses. As the cathedral dean put it, there was no excuse for the nation’s most visible church to celebrate a cause whose primary reason for being was the preservation and extension of slavery in America.”
“Institutions that could once have wrapped themselves in Confederacy ideology without consequence were put on notice that public sentiment had shifted,” they wrote.
The editors then segue into their argument that “the federal government embraced pillars of the white supremacist movement when it named military bases in the South.”
Following Roof’s 2015 shooting, Democrats called upon the U.S. Army to change the names of posts named after Confederates (Democrats). The Army rejected this request explaining that “there was no need to expunge Confederate base names because the names were merely ‘historic’ and ‘represent individuals, not causes or ideologies.’”
Dylann Roof’s action is indefensible, but there is no connection between his heinous act and The New York Times’ claim that the U.S. military and the federal government celebrate white supremacy. And that’s all the “proof” they offer for this argument (which they view as a settled fact).
The U.S. military was not the cause of slavery, the Confederacy, or the Jim Crowe laws. Neither was a federal embrace of white supremacy. The Southern Democrats were. It was the Union Army (the Republicans) who freed the slaves.
The left needs to stop blaming everyone else for the sins wrought by their own party. It is both dishonest and manipulative.
They can change the name of every military base in the country, but it won’t change history.
On this Memorial Day, we give thanks to the heroic men & women who bravely fought and gave their lives to protect the NYT’s right to call the military Klansmen. https://t.co/eGGYwkAdbE
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 24, 2020