Shades Of Gray


One letter and a couple of follow up notes and still no response from Ms. Millner. There is however, a section for public comments.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/comments/view?f=/c/a/2008/04/13/EDKC103E1U.DTL&o=4


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http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/13/EDKC103E1U.DTL


From: wildbill4dixie@yahoo.com
To: cmillner@sfchronicle.com


First, let me answer a couple of your questions:


>>>If Georgia’s leadership is so "proud" of the Confederacy as to declare a whole month in honor of it, why wouldn’t they want to talk about it?<<<
It’s simple – They’re politicians, they don’t want to offend anyone and risk losing votes. Courage does not rank high on the virtue list of the contemporary political slug.


>>>"But I do wonder why the state of Georgia feels the need to carve out a special month for Confederate veterans. <<<
Again, it’s simple – a large number of Georgia’s tax-paying citizens have ancestors who fought in the war. They are entitled to their celebrations as surely as any other group of Georgia’s citizens is. Nowhere is it written that they are not, and nowhere is it written that they have to be ashamed. And actually, there IS quite a bit of “debate” on “what happened”….otherwise, why would over 100,000 books have been written about the war since its end? Left to people like yourself I’m sure that there would be “no debate”. From the sound of it, freedom of expression which does not conform to your own likes and dislikes would be something you would not allow were you in charge – at least that’s the way your article comes off. Well, you aren’t in charge of things, and as such, there remains, thankfully, quite a bit of debate.


Now I have some questions for you:


>>> And they wouldn’t believe that those ancestors they’re so proud of really did the horrible things that they did.<<<
You speak of “horrible things”, “awful things”, and a “capacity for evil” on the part of the people of the past – and you are referring to Confederates when you say this. Perhaps you can elaborate on what those awful things were? You don’t really specify – you just say that it is so. I’m not buying it so I’m calling you out on this. Care to respond or are you going to hit the “delete” button and go hide under your desk?


>>> Or, for that matter, could you see the city of Berlin deciding it was time for Nazi History Appreciation Month?<<<
In what way is the Confederacy remotely like Nazi Germany? This is a common analogy used by contemporary hack writers to be sure, but they never go on to explain how this analogy holds any water. Care to elaborate? Because from where I sit, it seems that a country which launches its armies across someone else’s borders in an attempt to dominate and subjugate its neighbors, (the north), is more Nazi-like than a country whose leaders have said time and time again, “All we ask is to be let alone.” (the south). Got a response? If not, I hope there’s a lot of room under your desk.


>>> being so outraged by the idea that all human beings are equal <<<
Who said – “I like niggers well enough as niggers,” but only “fools and idiots” promoted their advancement.” The answer – General William T. Sherman (he wasn’t a general on my side)


Who said – “We do not like the negroes. We do not disguise our dislike. As my friend from Indiana said yesterday: ‘The whole people of the Northwestern states are opposed to having many Negroes among them and that principle or prejudice has been engraved in the legislation for nearly all of the Northwestern states.’ “ The Answer – Sherman’s brother, a senator from Ohio.


Please know that I could deluge you with hundreds of examples which show clearly that the northern white man viewed the black man as anything but an “equal”, and indeed, often viewed him as a pariah. I won’t however, in the interest of not filling up your mailbox. As one English editorial of the time put it, “the Northern white man will readily plead the case of the Negro because he sees him as a victim, but, HE WILL NOT TOLERATE HIS COMPANY!”


If you are looking in the past for some evidence of “all men are created equal”, you will find little of it, either in the north or the south – and of those white people who did espouse this philosophy, few walked the walk as opposed to simply talking the talk. That’s just the way it was back then. But it does not mean however, that I have to throw my history down the toilet just to make you happy. Oh, and by the way – I don’t hear anyone demanding that General Sherman’s statue in New York City be taken down, do you?


Finally, on His Highness Martin Luther King – I have long noted that those who proclaim the praises of Saint Martin the loudest are also those who show little or no tolerance for the sentiments and beliefs of others who disagree with them. I find this behavior curious for followers of a man who supposedly preached tolerance?! Then again, the man preached non-violence too, and being old enough to remember him, I remember that violence followed him around as surely as the plague followed the rat! What was it that even some of those who supported the civil rights movement called him? “Hypocrite Preacher”? Yes, I think that was the phrase used, among others. A married man who not only frequented prostitutes but who felt compelled to beat them up as well? This is your idea of a hero? I won’t even bother going into his communist affiliations, they would take up too much room. And I won’t elaborate or belabor the charges of plagiarism leveled against him, except to point out that MLK didn’t come up with the idea of behaving toward others “with love, non-violence and human charity” – Jesus Christ did. Frankly, I find it curious that the man’s FBI files would be ordered closed by a Federal judge until a time when most of us who can remember his less-than-stellar qualities will be dead and buried.


No Ms. Millner, I don’t share your sentiments, and you don’t share mine. But I live in this country too, and I have as much right to celebrate my past, my history, and those things which are important to me, as you do for yourself. So, how about you simply back off and go celebrate whatever floats your boat and leave me and others alone? We’ll back off if you back off. What say you?


Bill Vallante
Commack NY
Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 3000 (Associate)
Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1506 (Associate)