The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

August 23, 2017
by terrance
Comments Off on The Fight Over Removing Confederate Symbols Will Go On

The Fight Over Removing Confederate Symbols Will Go On

Dylann Roof wanted to start a race war when he killed nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Instead, he launched a movement to mothball Confederate symbols.

The Charleston massacre led to the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the state capitol. Many people saw it as an affront to the victims that the flag continued to fly over the state house, and the legislature voted to remove it. Controversy over the removal of Confederate symbols and monuments spread, and recently sparked violence in  Charlottesville, Virginia, where Nazis and white supremacists protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a city park clashed with counter protestors.

Embed from Getty Images

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, more states, cities, and institutions are removing Confederate monuments from their public spaces.

Approximately 1,500 Confederate symbols exist on public land, including 718 monuments and statues. “Heritage” organizations placed many of them immediately after the Civil war. Others appeared following the Supreme Court’s  “separate but equal” ruling. There were rises in monument dedications between 1900 and the 1920s when states were enacting  Jim Crow laws; and from 1950 to 1960, when the Supreme Court struck down segregation.

Removing Confederate symbols isn’t erasing or rewriting history. It’s being honest about what those symbols stand for and acknowledging that what those honored by these monuments fought for was wrong, and shouldn’t be honored. President Barack Obama stated this eloquently in his eulogy of Charleston victim Rev. Clementa Pinckney.

“Removing the flag from this state’s Capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought—the cause of slavery—was wrong. The imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong,” he said. “It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history, a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds.”

Past and present attempts to obscure its importance notwithstanding, the southern states seceded and went to war defend not just slavery, but the belief at the foundation of the  “peculiar institution.” As I wrote in 2015, Confederates didn’t invent slavery. They reinvented it. Slavery, as practiced in the South, was firmly rooted in white supremacy: the belief that white people are superior to people of other races and should, therefore, have the right to subjugate other races.  Confederates were unambiguous that they were defending not only slavery but white supremacy itself.

Not only did some Confederates believe that slavery was good for blacks (as do some conservatives), but it was the basis of white equality.

  • Confederate president Jefferson Davis said in a speech before the Mississippi legislature, “You too know, that among us, white men have an equality resulting form a presence of a lower caste, which cannot exist where white men fill the position here occupied by the servile race.”
  • Georgia governor Joseph E. Brown in a proclamation defending secession wrote: “Among us the poor white laborer is respected as an equal. His family is treated with kindness, consideration and respect. He does not belong to the menial class. The negro is in no sense of the term his equal. He feels and knows this. He belongs to the only true aristocracy, the race of white men.”

Even the poorest whites were invested in defending slavery because they belonged to the superior race. The poorest white man who could say contentedly to himself, “At least I’m not a nigger,” would aspire to the wealth of the plantation owners — instead of challenging the disparity between them. After all, they were both white men. The end of slavery would threaten the white supremacy that was the real foundation the “Southern way of life.”

White supremacy didn’t end along with slavery. It spawned Jim Crow and segregation. Its monuments and symbols proliferated. They are not just monuments to the Confederate “cause,” but to white supremacy itself.

The right-wing embrace of Confederate symbols grew with white anxieties about shrinking demographics and fading political and cultural primacy. They were stripped of the racial privilege that shielded them from harsh economic realities, and are losing their place at the center of American identity. Their identification with Confederate symbols reflects white conservatives’ anxiety over their place in an America that is growing less and less white. The removal of Confederate statues and symbols is almost a physical manifestation of the loss of primacy they feel — as though they are being erased from the culture.

Right now, a majority of Americans think Confederate statues should remain, but that is likely to shift along with racial demographics. The movement to remove Confederate symbols from public spaces will grow, along with the anxieties that feed the anger at their removal.

August 19, 2017
by terrance
4 Comments

Finding My Way Again

It’s been so long since I published anything here that I’m not sure if anyone still reads this blog, after almost ten months of silence. During that time I’ve experienced major upheavals in my life that took me away from politics, writing, and this blog.

Now that I’m finding my way back to writing again, I wanted to share what’s been happening with anyone who might still be out there listening.

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October 25, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Ryan White’s Mom Says Donald Trump Never Paid For White’s HIV Treatment

Ryan White’s Mom Says Donald Trump Never Paid For White’s HIV Treatment

Donald Trump Never Paid For Ryan White’s HIV Treatment, His Mom Says

WASHINGTON ― The mother of Ryan White disputed claims on Monday that Donald Trump paid for her son’s medical treatment and warned that the GOP presidential nominee’s bullying is setting a bad example for children. White contracted HIV at the age of 13 when receiving a tainted blood treatment for his hemophilia.

WASHINGTON ― The mother of Ryan White disputed claims on Monday that Donald Trump paid for her son’s medical treatment and warned that the GOP presidential nominee’s bullying is setting a bad example for children. White contracted HIV at the age of 13 when receiving a tainted blood treatment for his hemophilia.

Of course he didn’t. Why would he, just because he said he would? Remember, this is the guy who turned his back on his good friend Roy Cohn when he was dying of AIDS. Yeah, Cohn was a shitheel’s shitheel, but Trump counted him as a friend until he learned of his AIDS diagnosis. Ryan White was good “optics” for Trump, and probably got him some media attention at the time, but once White wasn’t any more use to him, Trump “dropped him like a hot potato, just like he did with Cohn.

October 11, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Today’s Links October 11, 2016

Today’s Links October 11, 2016

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

October 7, 2016
by terrance
5 Comments

Is This Thing On?

Is This Thing On?

To borrow quote from Pink Floyd, “Hello? Is there anybody in there?” Does anybody still read this blog? It’s been 13 years since I started it, and launched a career I’d never even imagined possible. Now, I’m back, blowing the dust off of it and trying to figure out what’s next.

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September 30, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Wingnut Week In Review: Donald Trump Dives Into The Gutter

Wingnut Week In Review: Donald Trump Dives Into The Gutter

Wingnut Week In Review: Donald Trump Dives Into The Gutter

Writer Maya Angelou once offered this sage advice: “If someone shows you who they really are, believe them.” With his latest misogynistic attack on Alicia Machado, Donald Trump dives into the gutter to show us once again who he really is.

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September 29, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Today’s Links September 29, 2016

Today’s Links September 29, 2016

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

September 28, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Clinton Is The Clear Choice On Race And Criminal Justice Reform

Clinton Is The Clear Choice On Race And Criminal Justice Reform

Clinton Is The Clear Choice On Race And Criminal Justice Reform

Little Zianna Oliphant, speaking through her tears at a city council meeting in Charlotte, said more about what’s really happening with policing in black communities than Donald Trump did in 90 minutes at Monday nights debate.

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September 22, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Trump Promises Nationwide Stop-And-Frisk Policing

Trump Promises Nationwide Stop-And-Frisk Policing

Trump Promises Nationwide Stop-And-Frisk Policing

Leave it to Donald Trump to stand in black church, before a somehow still overwhelmingly white audience, and promise to implement New York City’s racist, unconstitutional “Stop-and-Frisk” policing nationwide.

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September 22, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Today’s Links September 22, 2016

Today’s Links September 22, 2016

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

September 21, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Today’s Links September 21, 2016

Today’s Links September 21, 2016

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

September 16, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Wingnut Week In Review: Invasion of the Hillary Clinton Body Doubles

Wingnut Week In Review: Invasion of the Hillary Clinton Body Doubles

Wingnut Week In Review: Invasion of the Hillary Clinton Body Doubles

After Hillary Clinton went a bit wobbly at the 9/11 memorial, the internet went off the deep end with speculation about her health, and whether she’s even the real Hillary Clinton.

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September 14, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on What Clinton and Millions of Americans Have in Common: Going To Work Sick

What Clinton and Millions of Americans Have in Common: Going To Work Sick

What Clinton and Millions of Americans Have in Common: Going To Work Sick

This weekend we learned that Hillary Clinton has been doing something that millions of other Americans also do: going to work sick. The difference is that too many American workers don’t have much of a choice.

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September 12, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Today’s Links September 12, 2016

Today’s Links September 12, 2016

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

September 9, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Today’s Links September 9, 2016

Today’s Links September 9, 2016

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

September 2, 2016
by terrance
Comments Off on Wingnut Week In Review: Hispanic Advisers To Trump, “We Quit!”

Wingnut Week In Review: Hispanic Advisers To Trump, “We Quit!”

Wingnut Week In Review: Hispanic Advisers To Trump, “We Quit!”

Donald Trump reverted to type with his immigration speech, delivered shortly after his visit to Mexico. After flirting with “softening” his position, the old Trump-style xenophobia was a hit with some, not with others.

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