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A person named Ira Chaleff [“Uncovering history: The Constitution of the Confederate States of America,” July 23, Rappahannock News] tells us he is in the business of “uncovering history.” I’m not quite sure what that means, because the history he has uncovered was not covered. 

In fact, to students of American History like myself, Alexander Stephens “cornerstone speech” is extremely well known. That text is routinely used by Yankees as “the one and only” rationale for Southern secession. And that is exactly why Mr. Chaleff “uncovered” it and shared his discovery in breathless and sanctimonious language. 

Chaleff tells us that he is a man on a “mission.” First his group 1: “uncovers” history, then 2: “they make connections,” then 3: “they work toward healing” and 4: they “take action.” Then he writes, “Over the last few months the national mood boiled over and would no longer turn a blind eye to the symbols around us celebrating the Confederacy.”

Now, I haven’t the foggiest notion about how the “national mood’ is measured, but if he says it boiled over, it ain’t quite reached Harris Hollow. Yet apparently this boiling national mood has an eye which is blind but now it sees symbols around us “celebrating the Confederacy”. 

Well sir, I celebrate the Confederacy and I have many reasons to do so, and none of them have anything to with race, or slavery, or A.H. Stephens. That unCivil War destroyed the South and its people and the so-called Reconstruction poured salt into those wounds. There was no Marshall Plan for the South, but a cruel economic punishment from which this region is only now beginning to recover, black and white and red and brown, all together. And we’ve managed to do this without any help from you and your Social Justice Warriors. 

Those of us who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement are appalled at these divisive and destructive attacks on Southern monuments. And yet you will surely continue to “uncover” additional sins by Southerners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, all of whom owned many slaves and without whom we would have no nation.

You will not “culturally cleanse” me, sir. I will fight you til Hell freezes over and then I will fight you on the ice. 

To paraphrase Rhett Butler, “Frankly my dear Chaleff, I don’t give a damn….”

— The writer is a former member of the United States Congress and original sponsor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. He’s an Honorary Life Member of NAACP and Life Member of Sons of Confederate Veterans.


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