My letter to editor about Parker cartoon
Here is my letter I sent to the editor after seeing the Parker cartoon. I was fairly upset, to say the least.
Dear Mr. Glisch,
I wanted to write to you about a particular editorial cartoon which offended me, because of the stereotyping and misinformation. I am sure the problem stems from the lack of knowledge on the part of the artist, and not on any malicious intent on his part. I am referring to the cartoon of Jeff Parker of Feb.28, 2008. As the editor of an opinion page, I understand that your desire might be to allow for a diversity of opinion. I fully support that. What bothers me is the misinformation given. You would not want a lie to appear in your paper, I am sure. But that is what you have here. You should take the initiative and apologize on behalf of your paper for this mistake, which I am sure was not intentional.
The view of the cartoon I get is that Confederate Heritage is equated with racism. I can see no other explanation. Now I am sure that people in Florida read, but surely you must read history that is true and based on facts. Surely you do not rely on textbooks printed 50 years ago. The recent dynamic change in the interpretation of the history of the Confederate period could not have escaped the news media and bookstores of your state.
I can refer you to a host of books, if you are interested. But let’s get down to the problems with the cartoon. I assume the import of the cartoon is that those who understand and support Southern Heritage are in denial of something, probably the old northern explanation of the war. The war was about slavery, and the north was right, and saved the nation by invading the South and destroying its culture of hate. The only problem with this view is that it is totally wrong and at odds with the facts, if truth is important to you. Now we know truth is not and has not been important to those who apologize for the invasion excuses about saving the union and ending slavery. That’s interesting, as Alexander Hamilton said "A union held together at the point of a bayonet is not a union." It is also interesting in that the New England states, at least three times, talked of secession and even held a convention on secession. Doesn’t appear to be any problem from that standpoint. Here is a pertinent quote:
Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suites them better. This is a most valuable and most sacred right – a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people, that can may revolutionize and make their own of so many of the territory as they inhabit.
January 12, 1848.
Why, then, did preserving the union become so important to Lincoln and his henchmen?
If you read "When in the Course of Human Events", written by a northern historian, Charles Adams, you will find that is was over tariffs. Lincoln was controlled by bankers and big business. They benefited from the tariffs the South paid, (or didn’t pay if they bought overpriced northern products). If you read that book, you will understand why the north had to go to war, rather why Lincoln had to go to war. He started the war without Congressional approval, to avoid any debate. You will find that the ‘abolitionist’ north did not care about slavery, but only that the tariff be collected. They even thought that the seceded states would still pay the tariff. When they found out differently, they demanded that Lincoln go to war. Lincoln’s excuse for making moves toward war was, "If I let the states go, who will pay for my government." This is what led to his duplicity in the Fort Sumter affair, where he lied in order to force the South to fire the first shots. This gave him the ability to try to rally some troops for a war because the flag had been fired on. (No matter that Southern troops had been fired on month before, in Florida)
Let’s look at another fact. President Davis said that all the Confederate States wanted was to be left alone. Who invaded whom? Looks as if it was the north that did the invading. Actually, 4 states that had not seceded up to that point did so when asked to raise troops to invade a sister state. They knew there was no Constitutional authority for such an act. (of course, this didn’t bother Lincoln, who violated 4 or 5 articles of the Constitution, including ending the writ of habeas corpus, which he had no authority to do, interfere with elections, arrest legally elected legislators, issue a warrant for the arrest of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because he had the audacity to say Lincoln did not have these powers) Here is another quote of interest:
"In saving the Union I have destroyed the Republic. Before me I have the Confederacy, which I loathe. But behind me I have the bankers, which I fear."
I think you get the point, and I also think you see that the first half of the bumper sticker in the cartoon your paper carried, is total nonsense.
If you’re with me thus far, good for you. Now let’s get to the other nonsense. The second half of the bumper sticker appears to suggest that the Confederacy was based on slavery and racism. Well, racism, as defined today, would apply to probably 95 % of the population of the world, including the United States and Confederate States. In general, it’s not considered good historical work to read your prejudices and views into past events, peoples and societies. It’s really not a fair comparison. Let’s look at an example. The north was where laws were passed to prohibit blacks from moving into their states. Jim Crow laws were brought down from New England with carpetbaggers, but you don’t commonly see them associated with New England. Ever wonder why? Could it be history books for decades were printed in New England? Let’s look at another interesting quote:
"I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary." Lincoln also did not favour allowing blacks to vote, be jurors, or to intermarry with whites.
So far, I think you see why the cartoon was not the smartest move an artist could make. The argument that the war was against slavery is even more clear. If you will find a good history, probably recent as there was attempts to cover this up until recently, you can perhaps read of the original 13th Amendment, often called the Corwin Amendment. It passed the Congress, had Lincoln’s approval, and there is even a letter which surfaced recently from Lincoln to the Governor of Florida. You may have seen news of it, but then wondered what happened. It was quickly covered up, and relegated to the dustbins of history. You see, what they didn’t realize at first (remember, I’ve been telling you the purpose of historians is to tell the ‘court’ story, not the facts of history) was that the letter was from Lincoln urging the Southern states to return to the union and send their delegations back to Congress to approve the Corwin Amendment. What is so significant about this amendment, you might ask. Well, it simply put the internal business of the states, such as slavery, forever beyond the reach of the Congress and federal government. This would mean there was no reason for the South to remain out of the union if slavery was really the cause of the war, and not tariffs. I won’t go into facts such as the slaves originally brought over from Africa were already slaves, that the slave trade, outside of Africa went back before 1000 AD with Moslems bringing slaves out of Africa, that slavery was the most common form of punishment in Africa, and was part of their culture, or that it was northern ships that brought over most of the slaves after the Europeans got out of the slave trade, or that the Confederate Constitution forbade the importation of slaves, or that most people in America didn’t believe slavery would last much longer as it was becoming unprofitable ( compared to paying wages, slavery was expensive, because owners had to fed, house, and clothe slaves for a lifetime, and could not discard a worker after his useful life’s work was done), or that the first abolitionist newspapers were in the South, or that there were as many abolitionist societies in the South as in the north, or many other facts about slavery, but I think you get the message. I’ll throw in another quote for this section:
"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race." – Col. Robert E. Lee, United States Army, December 27, 1856
One more point that goes to the heart of the issue of the war. People will say that Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. This was a war measure to try to keep Europe out of the war on the Confederate side. It also freed no person, if you read the text. First, if you ignore the main message, you will see that if the Southern states returned to the union, the proclamation would not go into effect. So much for fighting to free the slaves. The document also excludes every county, parish, and state under control of the union and its forces. The document could have no effect anywhere else, as Lincoln had no legal jurisdiction and no jurisdiction by bayonet. (those areas are excluded) It was simply propaganda. Lincoln had already said he had no Constitutional power to affect slavery earlier, and his actions up to this point back up that. Most people who proclaim this as a great document have never read it, or don’t understand English, the Constitution, or history. But, unfortunately, that is the sorry state of much of today’s education, even higher learning. Remember, U.S. Grant, who had slaves, said "good help is hard to find" and also, "if I believed the war was being fought to free the slaves, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side." I think he knew what most don’t seem to today, it was over money. Follow the money.
I will close this with an offer to help you in any way I can. I have many quotes, and references, and books. It takes a while to learn the truth, but beware: Once you learn the truth you can never go back. I will close with a couple more quotes, which I hope you will peruse in light of the information I have presented.
Sen. Hoar of Massachusetts, speaking of the South on the floor of the U. S. Senate on the 23rd of February, 1889. Sen. Hoar did not understand the South and it’s problems before, during and after Reconstruction, nor was he unbiased toward the South, but he sure did have a good understanding of Southern men.
"They have some qualities which I cannot even presume to claim in an equal degree for the people among whom I, myself, dwell. They have an aptness for command which makes the Southern gentleman, wherever he goes, not a peer only, but a prince. They have a love for home; they have, the best of them, and the most of them, inherited from the great race from which they come, the sense of duty and the instinct of honor as no other people on the face of the earth. They are lovers of home. They have not the mean traits which grow up somewhere in places where money-making is the chief end of life. They have, above all, and giving value to all, that supreme and superb constancy which, without regard to personal ambition and without yielding to the temptation of wealth, without getting tired and without getting diverted, can pursue a great public object, in and out, year after year and generation after generation."
"Nothing fills me with deeper sadness than to see a Southern man apologizing for the defense we made of our inheritance. Our cause was so just, so sacred, that had I known all that has come to pass, had I known what was to be inflicted upon me, all that my country was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would do it all over again."
— President Jefferson Davis, Confederate States of America
President Davis (whose 200th birthday is this June…great opportunity to teach and reach out) also said: "Truth, though crushed to the ground by overwhelming force, remains the truth."
And especially for my friends in the press:
"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people… Be not intimidated, therefore, by any terrors, from PUBLISHING with the utmost freedom…nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretenses of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice."– John Adams
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of service.