May 25, 2015

#MemorialDay, aka the #TeaParty national day of distortion

As you think about Iraq War or Gulf War veterans, especially those who were killed in combat, today, let's not forget how and why Memorial Day started.

It was created to honor the nearly 400,000 Union dead from the Civil War.

You know, the war that had the ultimately result of ending slavery.

The war that was fought over the right to slavery in the first place, an issue tea partiers will deny until they turn red in the face.

That’s despite the Confederate constitution mentioning the actual words “slave” or “slavery” several times.

Like this, from Article I:
Section 9
No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.
For one.

And this, from Article IV:
Section 2.
1. The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states, and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any state of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property: and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired. …
 3. No slave or other person held to service or labor in any state or territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor: but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs, or to whom such service or labor may be due.
For another.

And this:
Section 3.
3. The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several states; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form states to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory, the institution of negro slavery as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress, and by the territorial government: and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories, shall have the right to take to such territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the states or territories of the Confederate states.
For a third.

That's despite the declarations of secession of Georgia, Mississippi:
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world.
South Carolina:

The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy. 
Texas:
The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the (laws, etc.) as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States …
 based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color
And Virginia, all mentioning slavery, often a dozen or more times. More here. And here.

The reality of Memorial Day?
  

First, the Thirteenth Amendment, ending slavery:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The first time the U.S. Constitution used the actual word, rather than euphemisms to shield thin Southern skins.

Then the Fourteenth, for civil rights for all: 
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
THAT's what Memorial Day is about. 

The real problem is tea party "Lost Cause" types don't want to admit that the South — and its ideology — lost, period. And, too many Northerners were too indulgent of them too soon after April 9, 1865, part of why we need a national Appomattox Day.

This is why it matters when we talk about who started Memorial Day and why — including black Southerners reburying Union dead with honor.

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