The President and his supporters have had plenty of nasty things to say about these men who have served our country, of course. No need for me to report them. You all have access to Twitter.
The President wants to continue to honor Gen. Henry Benning, who was, in the words of Gen. David Petraeus, “Such an enthusiast for slavery that as early as 1849 he argued for the dissolution of the union and the formation of a southern Slaveocracy.”
He wants to continue to honor Braxton Bragg, a slave owner who resigned ignominiously after losing the Battle of Chattanooga. And on and on — you get the point.
Men who declared war upon the United States to fight for their right to own and rape and kill Black Americans.
Now, the White House cannot defend the fact that a US military base is named after someone believed to have headed the Georgia Klan, so instead they talk about how we won two world wars with soldiers trained on those 10 bases. Four of these forts were named in the 19-teens, six of them were named in the 1940s.
These bases were not named after the Civil War in attempt at national reconciliation. They were named in the 20th century as a way of honoring the racist “Lost Cause” that the generals fought.
The key word in that phrase — lost. They lost. And rightfully so. Their cause was immoral.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, arguing that the bases should not be renamed, asked hypothetically this week, where does it end? Do we take away honors to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson? And that’s a fine question. And I don’t have an answer.
Washington and Jefferson had slaves, though their careers were not built on fighting for the right to own slaves. In other words, they’re honored despite the hideous parts of their histories, not because of the hideous parts of their histories.
But, before we talk about where this all ends, it does not take much moral clarity to understand that a good place to start would be for the United States to stop honoring traitors and terrorists.