McKague’s flawed flag logic

The Editor:

I have followed with interest the escapades of Davison City Council member Kevin McKague and his sad attempt to remove the Mississippi state flag from the display of flags at the town’s municipal center.

Initially I found his crusade merely amusing as it seemed to be just a politician wanting his name in the paper as he sought his fifteen minutes of fame. We in the South, of course, are accustomed to politicians trying to make hay by attempting to denigrate our ancestors, our region of the country and, especially, anything related to the Confederacy.

I was greatly disturbed, however, after reading the article "Feelings run high on Davison flag issue" in the Tuesday, July 25th edition of the FLINT JOURNAL. In this article, writer Kristin Longley quoted McKague as saying that the [Confederate] flag was "flown by traitors". Two things I truly despise are ignorance and duplicity and McKague exhibited both with that one statement.

Traitors, indeed! Perhaps Mr. Mckague can explain why no trial for treason was ever held for President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee or any other Confederate leader. Perhaps he can explain why former Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston was appointed United States Commissioner of Railroads several years after the War and served for a number of years in this important post.

I’m sure the erudite McKague can explain why ten former Confederate generals (traitors, he calls them) served as United States ambassadors abroad after the
War. Among these were James Longstreet (Ambassador to Turkey), Matt Ransom (Mexico), Dabney Maury (Colombia), Allen Thomas (Venezuela) and Alexander Lawton (Austria). General (Ambassador) Lawton also served after the War as president of the American Bar Association. Mind you, I’m not speaking here of the Confederate Bar Assn. but the ABA. Traitors, indeed!

I’m sure Mr. McKague can explain how fifteen of these "traitors" were allowed to serve after the War in the United States Senate or how twenty-four more could serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Just for good measure eighteen former Confederate generals served as governors and eleven served as college presidents. Sounds like a real traitorous crowd to me.

Oh, and I’m sure McKague can explain why so many UNITED STATES ARMY forts are named for Confederates ("traitors" as he calls them).These installations include Fort Hood,Texas (named for Gen. John Bell Hood); Fort Polk, Louisiana (Gen. Leonidas Polk); Fort Benning, Georgia (Gen. Henry Benning); Fort Gordon, Georgia (Gen. John B. Gordon);Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Gen. Braxton Bragg); Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia (Gen. A.P. Hill); and Fort Lee, Virginia (Gen Robert E. Lee). Try as I might I could not find a Fort Benedict Arnold so it seems it is not common practice for the U.S. military to name posts for real traitors.

Finally, can Mr. McKague explain why the United States Veterans Administration provides headstones and footstones for the graves of Confederate veterans at no cost. (Clue: The VA considers Confederate veterans as American veterans.)

In closing, I commend the other members of the Davison City Council for not supporting this hateful attempt by Kevin McKague to insult an entire state and, in fact, all Southerners. As to McKague’s quoted comment to another council member that, "If you can’t see what this emblem means, that’s part of the problem", it appears that the only member of the city council with poor vision is McKague himself. It is also apparent that his knowledge of history would only half fill a thimble.

Robert Parker Hurst
Public Affairs Officer, Florida Division
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Tallahassee, Florida

[Note to Editor: I realize that this is rather long for a letter-to-the-editor and I also realize that I do not live in your community. I would be greatly appreciative, however, if you would extend to me some good "Northern hospitality" and find a way to publish this in your paper (perhaps a Guest Editorial). It seems that our Southern heritage and our region are constantly under attack by people with an agenda and we truly appreciate any chance to respond to these attacks. Thank you.

Bob Hurst

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