Tuesday, October 16, 2018

General Lee - Not a Great Man

Trump praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee
as "a great general" on Friday 10/12/18
during a campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio.
I grew up in an area that looked to Robert E. Lee almost as a deity. If the South had saints he would be at the top of the list. This past week our racially tone-deaf president hailed Lee as a great man. Let us be assured his audience was likely, predominantly white.  

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 Myth of the Kindly General Lee

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."

The Robert E. Lee monument and scaffolding
 during construction in Richmond in 1890
The Robert E. Lee memorial was erected on May 7, 1890 in Richmond’s soon to become Movement Avenue. The revisionist “Lost Cause” movement was gaining steam, and Lee... was the perfect “marble man” to change the narrative of the rebellion from slavery to honor. This according to the writer Roy Blount Jr., who wrote a 2003 biography of Lee. 

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.


  1. It's not surprising about President Dump. When he says "Make American Great Again," that's essentially code for taking the nation back to a time when straight white male privilege was not just assumed ... It was unquestioned.

    Just look at Dump's base of support. They are mostly aggrieved white people who don't like the fact other groups of people... black, brown, LGBT, etc., are coming to equal footing with them white people and they don't like it.

  2. What's sad is except for white aggrievement, Dump doesn't really share anything with his base and really doesn't care about them.

    Dump's policies don't really do anything for non-college-educated white people.