|Trump praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee
as "a great general" on Friday 10/12/18
during a campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio.
His statement is true only in a shallow sense that Lee orchestrated brilliant battle strategies for a less than great cause. Germany does not celebrate its great "Field Marshals" of World War II; e.g. Erwin Rommel or Erich Von Manstein. Neither should we look back and romanticize the tragedy of the lost cause of defending slavery. The president is constantly baiting his uninformed-to-history, base.
Note the Atlantic article below.
The legend of the Confederate leader’s heroism and decency is based in the fiction of a person who never existed.
The Atlantic Adam Serwer
Every state that seceded mentioned slavery as the cause in their declarations of secession. Lee’s beloved Virginia was no different, accusing the federal government of “perverting” its powers “not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.” Lee’s decision to fight for the South can only be described as a choice to fight for the continued existence of human bondage in America—even though for the Union, it was not at first a war for emancipation. (A fight to preserve the Union).
To describe this man as an American hero requires ignoring the immense suffering for which he was personally responsible, both on and off the battlefield. It requires ignoring his participation in the industry of human bondage, his betrayal of his country in defense of that institution, the battlefields scattered with the lifeless bodies of men who followed his orders and those they killed, his hostility toward the rights of the freedmen and his indifference to his own students waging a campaign of terror against the newly emancipated. It requires reducing the sum of human virtue to a sense of decorum and the ability to convey gravitas in a gray uniform.
"The day white Virginia stopped admiring Gen. Robert E. Lee and started worshiping him."
Source: The Washington Post
|The Robert E. Lee monument and scaffolding
during construction in Richmond in 1890
He (Lee) enabled people to put a kind of gentlemanly High-Church face on the Confederacy. It was a time when people were trying to establish the idea of white supremacy. Lee himself would have eschewed such relics and rituals, scholars say. He spoke against monuments as irritating ‘the sores of war,’ and his modesty would have made him chafe at hero worship.