Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Jesus! Can we nuance the "Union=good; Confederacy=bad" equation a little?!?

Christ! C'mon, y'all on the left. Just because both George Allen (R) AND James Webb (D) have both spoken favorably of the Confederacy and/or its soldiers doesn't make them either identical or, prima facie, Evil Guys.

I mean, there's not much question that Allen is a self-deluding, syncophantic, sociopathic bully (just ask his family), but that he empathized with the South in the Civil War isn't necessarily evidence for it. Just as it is not evidence to discredit Webb, his opponent. Any blogger who assumes that a Confederacy sympathizer is a wackjob is betraying a basic misunderstanding of how people in the South think about the conflict. Yes, there are neo-Nazi, Bible-thumping, rebel-yelling, pickup-dragging, inbred cloven-hooved assholes (and bowtie-wearing inbred Scions of the Confederacy who've never worked a day in their lives), but that is not the sum total of the South.

And if you can't muster up at least a little "sympathy" for the ragged, barefooted, nettles-eating, Rebel foot soldiers who thought they were fighting to protect their homes, then you don't understand how then, as now, the poor were once again fooled into fighting and dying for the rich. And if you don't understand that, then you're fucking never going to understand how to build common cause with them.

See Tony Horwitz's magnificent, unblinking, but truly sympathetic Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War.

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